Spelt cookies with dark chocolate chunks, + a sprinkling of sea salt.

If you’ve not already worked out, from all I’ve shared over the past 3+ years of writing this blog, I’m not the most adventurous of sorts. I find things I like, and stick with them like glue. I’ll happily read the same books over and over, watch reruns of my favourite TV shows until I can recite every word, and would no more readily part ways with the cashmere cardigan my Grandma bought me for my 18th birthday (now well-worn and rather moth-holed) than I would part ways with Teddy.

The same goes for recipes. Once I’ve found one that works for me, making perfect roast chicken or really fantastic sponge cake or perfect eggs, I like to stick with it. Fiddle around with it, adjust timings and quantities and ingredients, but know that I’m working from a core, a solid foundation, a fail-safe basis.

And that’s how these cookies came to be. They’re made up of many, many rounds of tinkering and alterations on that same simple cookie recipe I shared so long ago, and, I have to say, this incarnation is my favourite of all. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, now I’ve tried cookies made with spelt flour, I couldn’t go back to making them with regular wheat flour. The texture is better- crispier edges, and a beautifully soft centre- and the dough itself is more flavoursome. And I would know, given how many ‘tasters’ I had whilst rolling the cookie dough balls ready for chilling and baking…


If you’re not fond of the ‘salt + chocolate’ trend, by all means omit the final sprinkling of flaky salt crystals onto the just-baked cookies, but I’d urge you to try it at least once. The salt brings out the fruity notes in the chocolate, and offsets the buttery sweetness of the dough so well. In fact, I went all in and used Lindt’s Sea Salt Dark Chocolate as well as adding salt right at the end, and it worked beautifully. Two 100g bars, less the single square that never made it into the batch. Chef’s treat, right?

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Makes approximately 16 {I can’t remember exactly, because I cooked them in batches and lost track. Good at making cookies, bad at counting.}

Ingredients ::
225g unsalted butter
300g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
400g spelt flour
1tsp vanilla extract
2tsp baking powder
200g dark chocolate (I used Lindt’s dark chocolate with sea salt)
Pinch of flaky sea salt

- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract, and mix well between each addition.

- Add in the spelt flour and baking powder, and mix until a soft dough forms. Break up the chocolate into small chunks, then mix into the dough by hand.

- Roll out balls of dough roughly the size of golf balls, space out generously onto baking sheets (I needed three sheets but only had two, so had to batch cook), and then put into the fridge to chill preferably overnight, but for a minimum of 2 hours.

- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes at 170 degrees celsius, until the edges are just beginning to colour. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt (never table salt!) as soon as you remove them from the oven, then wait 10 minutes or so for them to firm up before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

- They’ll keep for a good couple of days in an airtight tin, but are best eaten after they’re been out of the oven half an hour or so, when the edges are crisp and the chocolate inside molten and warm. Divine.

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If there’s one thing I’ve discovered during the past few years, it’s that the joy of ‘home grown’ is unlike anything else. There’s something special about how unhurried (not to mention patience-inducing) the process of growing is, and the results are all the more satisfying for it. It becomes part of the day’s routine- watering, waiting, nurturing, and tending to. Poking seeds into soil and repotting spindly herbs, then watching them grow wild. Being able to snip a few sprigs of fresh rosemary or sage straight from the garden to add to a dish, instead of having to turn to a few sad stalks taken from a plastic bag from the fridge.

Because of the abundance of herbs we’ve got growing in our little garden at the moment, I’ve been finding new ways of incorporating them into…just about everything. Mint leaves into lemonade and soft drinks and just plain old iced water. Fried sage on top of thinly sliced and fried pork loin steaks. Rosemary inside chicken (along with garlic and lemon, of course), then into the oven for roasting. My favourite combination though, of a herb plus any other flavour on earth, is that of thyme and lemon. I first tried it a year or so ago in the form of a heavily-frosted cupcake (I even blogged about it!) and have been obsessed with the idea of making my own lemon/thyme cake ever since.

Almost a full year on, and I think I’ve got it down. Glazed lemon cake is the taste of my childhood so will forever hold a special place in my heart, but the addition of thyme makes this version so much more grown up. It brings a faintly aromatic, grown-up punch of flavour to a perfectly simple cake, whilst a few tablespoons of yoghurt keep the cake itself (made from a tinkered-with basic sponge recipe) moist and tender-crumbed.

It’s so simple, so delicious, and tastes so perfectly summery, it’s practically a crime not to make one right away…

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The ingredients are listed first in ounces because I learnt how to make this base cake recipe using pounds and ounces in probably about 1993, and still can’t quite bring myself to measure it out in grams. I’ve listed them though, in case your scale won’t work with silly old-fashioned British measurements…

Ingredients ::
8oz (225g) soft unsalted butter
8oz (225g) caster sugar
8oz (225g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 whole lemon, plus the juice of 1/2.
Leaves from 2 small sprigs of fresh thyme

Approx. 300g icing sugar
Approx. 4 lemons

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and generously butter a bundt tin.

- Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk together the eggs, natural yoghurt and vanilla extract in a jug, and sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Grate the lemon zest and add the thyme leaves into the flour mixture.

- Add half the egg mixture to the butter and sugar then beat to combine, and then add in half the flour and beat again. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined, and beat until the batter is smooth and light. Beat it for about thirty seconds longer, fold through the lemon juice, and then stop.

- Pour out the batter into the tin, smooth over the top, and then place it into the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out.

- Sift out the icing sugar (approximately 300g, but it’s totally flexible!), and then squeeze in enough fresh lemon juice to bring the glaze to a consistency just slightly thicker than double cream.

- When the cake is cool to the touch, pour over the glaze (with a plate underneath the rack to catch excess!) and decorate the top with a few thyme leaves and, if you can find them, thyme flowers too.


^^ There’s nothing like a good drizzle, is there? ^^

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I reckon if you made one this coming Saturday, it’d carry you through the whole bank holiday weekend on a wave of tea, cake, and crackly lemon glaze…


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Like countless other people, my first experiences in the kitchen were as a small child, and took place standing on a dining table chair pulled up to the kitchen worktop. I remember rubbing butter into flour for crumble toppings, beating air into cake batters until my arms ached (the ache always began after all of about ten seconds), and stirring eggs and milk into scone dough. Performing those tasks now, in my own kitchen, still stirs up decade old memories of the cheese scones my Grandma used to make (so unsurpassably delicious I’m desperate to find the recipe she worked from in one of her old cookery books) and a blackberry and apple crumble we cooked together after a day’s blackberry picking on the heathland near where Jason and I now live.

And there are certain ingredients, too, whose fragrance is as comforting and nostalgia-inducing to me as the perfume my Mum wore when I was a tot**. I’m sure I’ve written here before about how the scent of dried ginger brings back memories of baking ginger biscuits with my Grandma- wafer thin and packed with golden syrup (I’d always, always beg for a spoonful of syrup to enjoy whilst we baked, and she’d always, always say yes), that were at their best when slightly underdone and gloiriously chewy. I’ve since had a go at making them, working from dog-eared page of the recipe book I inherited from my Grandma (she’d written an index of her favourite recipes inside the back cover, which was a gift in and of itself), and the effects weren’t the same at all. I’ll have to keep trying…



I forget quite how intrinsically linked my memories of food and cooking are to family, until I stop to taste test a batch of lemon glaze and am transported back to baking endless rounds of fairy cakes with my Mum (remember when we called them fairy cakes, and not cupcakes?), and can hear her voice in my ear saying ‘just a bit more lemon juice…maybe a bit more..and a tad more?’. Or how, each winter whilst making compote, the smell of the chunks of cooking apple softening in a pan with a tiny knob of butter and a pinch of cinnamon is so evocative I always stop and close my eyes for a moment to breathe it in. These culinary experiences- tasks, rituals, scents- traverse the years and the homes left behind and the loved ones who are now confined to memories instead of the present, and bring me right back home.

Recently, I was invited to share in Hive’s beautiful #ComingHome’ campaign. The campaign celebrates the sweet joy of returning home after a period of separation- whether that separation has been a mere week long (who doesn’t love walking through the front door after a week basking in the sunshine on some European island?), after the first long, tiresome term of university, or a gap that can only be bridged by the jogging of memories.

It was the beauty of the video I’ve included below that captured my heart. I’d encourage you to watch it- it’s so artfully put together, and I find the twists at the end of both this video and the other in the campaign, unexpectedly and wonderfully empowering.

For me this recipe, for dark and sticky ginger muffins with a tangy lemon glaze, is a ‘coming home’ experience in itself. The muffins’ key ingredients- warming ground ginger, sweet golden syrup, treacly stout, and a tart lemon glaze- are so prone to drawing out my nostalgic-side (which, let’s face it, doesn’t take much), they should perhaps come with a warning. They’re grown-up and spicy, sweet and rich- and both the act of cooking and eating them is an evocative enough experience that it requires a moment’s pause.

They are, for me, the very embodiment of ‘home’.

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The recipe for these muffins belongs to Nigella. Repackaged (from sheet cake to mini-portions), tweaked (goodbye to ground cloves), and tinkered with (hello to that wonderful lemon topping) by me, but its roots are in Nigella’s Kitchen recipe book.

{Makes approx.16 muffins}
Ingredients ::
150g unsalted butter
300g golden syrup
200g dark muscovado sugar
250ml Guinness
2 1/2tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml sour cream
2 eggs

1 lemon
Icing sugar

- Preheat an oven to 170 degrees celsius, and line two muffin trays with liners.

- Melt the butter, golden syrup, sugar, and spices together in a large saucepan, then stir in the Guinness.

- Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, making sure there are no lumps. Mix together the eggs and sour cream in a separate jug, and slowly pour into the rest of the mixture, whisking as you go.

- Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (filling each about two thirds full), and place in to the preheated oven to cook. I found the muffins in tulip cases took 18mins, and the muffins in regular cases 15 minutes to cook.

- When cool, top with a glaze made from icing sugar stirred together with lemon juice until it reaches a smooth dropping consistancy. I drizzled the glaze over from a height, but feel free to coat the tops completely in glaze if you like things super sweet.


Hive are running the loveliest competition right now, in which you can nominate a loved one to win a special and unique ‘coming home’ experience valued at £1500. To enter, visit Hive’s Facebook page and comment on the competition post they’ve shared, letting them know why the person you’re nominating has spent time away from their home (in any way, shape, or form), and why they deserve an unforgettable ‘coming home’ experience. I think it’s such a lovely idea! (Full T&Cs for the competition can be found here)


* The post was sponsored by Hive, as part of their ‘#ComingHome’ campaign.

** It was YSL’s Rive Gauche, in case you wondered.


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Sometimes, in an internet-land where combo recipes are the done thing (you know, cakes topped with macarons, brownies stuffed with chocolate bars and cookie dough, cookies filled with Nutella and topped with glaze…the list goes on), there’s something lovely about returning to a basic recipe. One with no more than five ingredients (three, really, if you exclude the chocolate and lemon zest for good old fashioned plain shortbread). About digging out an old recipe book of your Grandma’s (a dog-eared copy of Delia’s Classic collection), flipping to one of the pages she’d marked out in the back of the book as being worth making, and diving straight in armed with a wooden spoon and a block of room-temperature butter.

Shortbread’s been my sweet treat of choice, lately. There’s something about those little buttery rounds I can’t get enough of! The obsession began over Christmas, when my Mum gave us a pack of biscuits that we demolished during the few days between Christmas and New Year when we never seem to have any food in the house. We’ve somehow had at least one tin on the go ever since then, and so it seemed only right I had a go at baking my own. They really are the simplest biscuits in the world to put together- so much so that I whipped up two batches back to back in no time at all. The flavour combination I’ve made here (lemon + dark chocolate) is a lovely one, but be as creative as you fancy. I saved half of the dough and sprinkled them generously with caster sugar as soon as they came out of the oven instead of dipping them in chocolate, and since they’re such a plain base, you can pretty much add in anything you fancy.

But to be honest, tasty though the dark chocolate and lemon zest flavour combination is, my favourites are the plain ones.

Sometimes, simplicity is where it’s at.

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I find these actually taste better after they’ve been cooled a good couple of hours, as opposed to being eaten straight from the oven. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the texture’s just better after an hour or two’s rest.

{Makes approx .15 biscuits.}
Ingredients ::
220g soft, unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
350g plain flour

1 lemon, finely zested
100g 70% dark chocolate

- Beat the butter by with a wooden spoon until creamy, then add in the caster sugar and beat again to combine. 

- Sift in the flour, grate in lemon zest to taste, and stir as much as possible using the spoon and then finish off bringing the mixture together using your hands. Don’t overwork the dough- stop kneading just as soon as it comes together.

- Dust a surface with caster sugar and roll out the dough to between 1/2cm-1cm thick, and cut out rounds using a 3inch fluted cutter. Transfer the biscuits to a lightly greased baking tray, and place into the top of an oven preheated to 150 degrees celsius.

- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the biscuits are just set and are a light golden colour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. {Sprinkle over a dusting of caster sugar whilst the biscuits are still warm, if you don’t fancy adding the chocolate}.

- Dip the cooled biscuits in melted dark chocolate, and grate over a small amount of lemon zest before the chocolate is set. They’ll keep a good couple of days in an airtight tin, if they last that long.

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Tag me up if you have a go at making them! I’m @ciderwithrosieb on Twitter and ‘ciderwithrosieblog’ on Instagram :)

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