Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Happy Blog Birthday!!!

It is exactly one year ago since I wrote my first blog post. I had planned to celebrate by baking a really impressive 1st birthday cake. However, life got in the way and I'm having quite a stressful week and I just can't motivate myself to do anything outside of the things I need to do in real life. And yes, real life doesn't include anything fun like cooking, blogging or card making... The only thing I could manage was to whip up a batch of these super easy oatmeal, raisin and fudge cookies. You might (or might not) remember my previous disastrous attempt with oatmeal and raisin cookies. This time, I used Ina Garten's recipe hoping the resulting product could be identified as cookies and not a baking sheet sized blob of cooked cookie dough. I only made a minor adjustment to the recipe as I didn't use pecans, and didn't have quite enough raisins so I substituted some fudge chunks. 
I would love to add some musings about the past year, but I can't stretch myself to write anything that's not work related. So unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you...) I will jump on straight to the recipe. Hopefully my life situation will sort itself out soonish, and I will have time and energy to annoy you with my endless stories again. Until then, I leave you with these wonderful cookies, only slightly modified from the Barefoot Contessa's recipe on the food network. I only made half the recipe so the measures below are half of the original recipe. (Also it's close to midnight and I want to publish the post on the right day!!)

Raisin, oatmeal and fudge chunk birthday cookies (makes about 15):
115 g butter (original recipe says unsalted but I only had salted butter)
1/2 cup (1.25 dl) light brown muscovado sugar
1/2 cup (1.25 dl) caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1.9 dl) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (I omitted this because I used salted butter)
1.5 cups (3.75 dl) oats (the old fashioned kind, not quick cook oats)
1/2 cup (1.25 dl) raisins
1/4 cup (0.6 dl) small fudge chunks

The howto:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Using an electric whisk (or electric mixer if you have one, you lucky lucky you) beat together the room temperature butter, muscovado sugar and caster sugar until fluffy and white. Continue to beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon (and salt). Add to the buttery mix, and only mix enough to incorporate the flour, but don't over mix. Fold in the oats, raisins and fudge chunks.

Scoop a total of about 15 mounds of dough onto parchment paper lined baking pans. Leave enough room between cookies to let them expand, I used two baking sheets for my 15 cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on a rack.
The verdict:
I'm so happy I had better cookie karma this time around. The cookies turned out looking exactly as they should. And more importantly, they tasted really good. I might omit the cinnamon next time though. But the cookies had a lovely texture, they were soft in the centre but had a bit of crisp around the edges. I baked the first batch maybe a minute too much, but the second batch turned out perfect. Oats give the cookies such a wonderful texture, and I used extra jumbo raisins as I love to bite into one of those juicy little gems. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Card of the day:
Obviously today's card had to be a birthday card. I made this using three single stamps from the HobbyCraft Mini Clear Stamp range (Monkey, Lion and Giraffe). I stamped using HobbyCraft black pigment ink and embossed using Ranger Super Fine Detail Clear embossing powder. I used Tim Holtz distress inks as watercolours to colour the animals (you rub off a bit of ink from the pad onto baking parchment (or a craft mat) and then use a wet watercolour brush and water for blending to colour). I used foam to apply Distress inks around the edges (it's a while since I made the card, but my guess would be I used broken china, peeled paint, wild honey, milled lavender and spun sugar). I cut small banners from card scraps and stamped the sentiment from the HobbyCraft Clear Stamps General Sentiments 21 pk using the same black ink as before. I matted the picture onto black card and snailed it all onto C6 Kraft card from Craft UK Limited. I think it turned out to be very appropriate for a first birthday.

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