Recipe: Chocolate, Orange & Ginger Cookies

One of my favourite festive treats (who am I kidding, I love everything festive as long as it doesn’t contain dried fruit!) is a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The combo of zingy orange and creamy chocolate is one I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, and these cookies captured that AND took it up a notch. Adding ginger and a touch of cinnamon gave a warmth and kick to each bite that really brought these cookies to another level.

 photo Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies_zpsqeg8azcp.jpgThis recipe came about way back at the beginning of December, when I attended an event put on by the Co-Op and Sorted Food to address the Cooking Gap. The ‘gap is basically young people showing a massive lack of cooking and food skills. Having lived in halls for a year of my university life, I totally get this – one of my housemates bought a BBQ chicken pizza from Asda, left on the kitchen side for a week, popped it in the fridge for another week, then cooked it. Didn’t smell great! I know I didn’t get much cooking skills from school (though they did teach me how to make a white sauce, so eternally grateful there!), and I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking with my mum either. For a completely self-taught 23 year old I would say my cooking skills are pretty good, but I know so many people who just don’t cook. At all. Fingers crossed the guys at Sorted manage to change that!

 photo 2016-12-06 19.27.23_zps7alwpdtd.jpg photo 2016-12-06 19.26.39_zpsblmovsag.jpg photo 2016-12-06 19.25.49_zpssocdhfwc.jpg photo 2016-12-06 19.23.48_zpsnwyiofpt.jpg photo 2016-12-06 19.09.05_zps3vpebhtj.jpg photo 2016-12-06 19.07.50_zpsovidos5h.jpg photo 2016-12-06 19.01.35_zpstdfukjww.jpgIt was a pretty fab event too. I was super-jealous of their kitchen, got a little too tipsy with Tanya and had a delicious white pizza made for me, then drizzled with honey. Bit of an odd combo, but it totally worked!

Now to the cookies. Soft in the middle, crisp at the edges, sweet, spicy, filling and a good chocolatey hit. Pretty much the perfect cookie…

 photo Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies24_zpsdooclw9s.jpg photo Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies23_zpszebjbask.jpg photo Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies22_zpsml0ot5ok.jpgIngredients

  • 50g candied ginger
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 orange (zested, plus half of the juice)
  • 60g butter
  • 90ml sunflower oil
  • 180g soft brown sugar
  • 50g honey
  • 1 egg
  • 0.5tsp baking powder
  • 0.5tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5tsp ground ginger
  • 120g plain flour
  • 240g porridge oats

 

Place a clean large mixing bowl on a set of scales and reset the scales to zero using the tare function.

Add the butter, oil, sugar, orange juice and honey to a bowl, then crack in the egg and beat together until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, baking powder, and ground spices to the mixture; beat evenly to combine. Add the flour and the oats, stir, then add in your candied ginger, chocolate and orange zest. Mix everything together well.

Spoon blobs of about a tablespoon of the mixture onto baking trays (line with greasepoof). Roll into a ball and flatten slightly, but leave plenty of space between them as I found they did spread slightly. I also found the mix realllyyyyy sticky, so keeping my fingers damp helped here! Bake for 12-15 minutes at 175C until they are golden around the edges, cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 photo Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies25_zpsbxo1wmj1.jpgI’m not ashamed (well, maybe a little) to admit that I ate them for breakfast. Though they are perfect with an afternoon cuppa too. Or a post-dinner snack. Or just because…

What’s your favourite type of cookie? Do you think the cooking gap is important to address?

Baking: Peanutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

 photo 2014-07-10113127_zpsdf574723.jpgThe eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed some colourful bits looking out of place in last week’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Here’s the explanation;

 photo 2014-07-10113141_zps98925580.jpgYou see, whilst my sister let me photograph (if I did the annoying bits – the creaming, the dolloping, and the washing up…) “her making” cookies I wasn’t actually going to be allowed any. We halved the recipe and she needed 12 to take to the stables (lucky horses!) BUT there was a little bit of mixture leftover. I quickly claimed it, but then spied some Peanut M&M’s on the side. Knowing we had peanut butter in the fridge I got mixing, and after a quick bake I had chewy, nutty, salty, chocolatey, crunchy delights. Not quite as good as my boyfriend’s cookies, but pretty damn good all the same!

 photo 2014-07-10110419_zpsafb3566d.jpgTo make these delicious cookies, you simply need to follow the recipe above, adding in a couple of spoons (I used a tablespoon for a small amount of mixture, so use your judgement) of crunchy peanut butter at the butter-sugar stage, and peanut M&M’s with the chocolate chips. Dollop onto the baking trays and bake – I found these took slightly less time.

 photo 2014-07-10112459_zps6291bb7c.jpg photo 2014-07-10113127_zpsdf574723.jpgThere you have it – a quick and easy adaptation that takes a simple recipe a step further. And it combines peanut butter and chocolate, what could be better?!

What do you add to your cookies?

Baking: Chocolate Chip Cookies

 photo 2014-07-10113141_zps98925580.jpgI may have mentioned this before, but many years ago my boyfriend pretty much wooed me with his cookies. It’s a long standing joke that I’m with him for these cookies, and whilst that’s not true, his cookies are pretty yummy! A few months ago he gave his recipe to my little sister (who I’m hoping isn’t using them to woo someone!) – she’s done a bit of adapting and today I’m going to share the results with you!

 photo 2014-07-10112602_zps50eecb9a.jpgThese are pretty much the perfect cookie – crispy on the outside, but chewy and almost gooey in the middle. They even have the classic wrinkly look about them! And the best thing? They are absolutely crammed full of chocolate chips. I will be honest here and say I prefer to buy a dark each of dark, milk and white chocolate and chop into rough chunks, whereas my sister buys chocolate chips and neglects to use any dark chocolate at all – either way is delicious so do what you prefer.

Disclaimer: I’m entering this into the Bakespiration Challenge run by Stuck in the Tree – you can find more details here. I’ve received no compensation for entering, and this recipe is entirely based on adaptations to my boyfriends. 

 photo 2014-07-10112459_zps6291bb7c.jpgIngredients (this makes a LOT of cookies – as in 24 massive ones)

  • 1 cup butter, softened (I use salted, but add 1/2 tsp of salt if you don’t)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cups worth of additions – chocolate, nuts, fruit etc – I don’t measure here, just through in whatever looks like enough!

Lets make cookies! 

 photo 2014-07-10103209_zps7234925f.jpg photo 2014-07-10103723_zps013f11dd.jpgCream the butter and the two sugars together. I find it easiest to beat the butter on its own first before adding the sugar. And obviously make sure the butter is well softened before starting! Though if you use fridge-cold butter you’ll burn loads of calories, so treat yourself to an extra cookie…

 photo 2014-07-10103916_zps5759dbab.jpg photo 2014-07-10104152_zps97ff4dab.jpgBeat in the eggs, best to do this one at a time or it could get messy.

 photo 2014-07-10105145_zps4782deb1.jpgMix the bicarbonate of soda into the flour, along with a little salt (if you used unsalted butter). Stir this into the egg-butter-sugar mixture, but don’t overstir. If the mix looks a little dry, add the water.

 photo 2014-07-10105332_zps40c7ca05.jpg photo 2014-07-10105404_zps813f4aa2.jpg photo 2014-07-10105430_zpsb5a2478b.jpgStir in the chocolate chips.

 photo 2014-07-10110413_zpsdccfbf11.jpgNow get ready to bake – heat your oven to 180C, and line several baking trays with baking parchment (thrifty tip – I’ve found Tesco’s own to be the best quality). Using two tablespoons, dollop 6 golfball sized amounts of cookie dough, evenly spaced, onto the tray. You may be wondering what the colourful bits are – come back next week for an explanation!

 photo 2014-07-10104931_zpse1c2184c.jpg photo 2014-07-10105123_zps5921205e.jpgIgnore the beautiful brown eyes that are begging for some to be accidentally dropped on the floor…

 photo 2014-07-10111208_zps7848a28a.jpgCook for 9 minutes, or until golden brown. They will be soft, but they firm up whilst cooling. To get a really classic wrinkling, bang the tray on a side just after they come out of the oven.

 photo 2014-07-10112633_zps368eadd1.jpg photo 2014-07-10112602_zps50eecb9a.jpgThere you have it – classic American style chocolate chip cookies. Serve with a glass of milk and a good book and you have my idea of a perfect mid-morning treat. Package up nicely and you have (my relationship is proof!) the perfect cupid’s gift. Now I’m off to find any that are still left…

What’s your perfect baked treat?