30.11

Cider-with-Rosie-Cadburys-cocoa-life-11

In the weeks leading up to Arlo’s arrival, to say I went into nesting mode is a slight understatement. Our house has never been so clean and organised- every spare minute I had was spent mopping floors, cleaning skirting boards, vacuuming carpets, and tidying Ottie’s toys to within an inch of their lives. Trips to Tesco for new cleaning products became a fun jaunt for me (I’m being deadly serious), and I had such strong aversions to certain cleaning product scents that I was genuinely upset with Jason when he bought the Wrong Kind of Washing Up Liquid.

Of course, that’s all died away ever so slightly now that I’ve got my hands full of newborn! And with two dogs in the house who seem to shed mud and hair with every step they take, you’d never know a very pregnant cleaning-obsessed woman was present in this house just a couple of weeks ago…

But the one thing I am so grateful to my past self for is the effort I made in filling our fridge, freezer, and cupboards with delicious food to enjoy in the first couple of weeks post-partum. There was a courgette and lemon cake stashed away in the freezer to serve when our parents came to meet our sweet baby boy, portions of garlicky courgette and tomato sauce frozen ready to be tossed together with pasta for easy dinners, and I kept our cupboards stocked full of tasty snack food and sweet treats to keep our energy and spirits up in these energy sapping early days!
  Cider-with-Rosie-Cadburys-cocoa-life

Perhaps the best thing I prepared in advance was cookie dough mixture for the Best Cookies in the World, made with the chocolate of my childhood- Cadbury’s Dairy Milk!

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a slight change to wrappers of Cadbury’s chocolate lately, in the form of a new logo marked ‘Cocoa Life’. The Cocoa Life programme is Cadbury’s new venture to support and give back to the communities who grow the cocoa from which their delicious chocolate products are made.

Cadbury’s are aiming to create positive change for their growers and their communities, which I think is a brilliant thing. They’re keen to encourage quality education for young people, protect the landscape in which their delicious cocoa grows, and improve farming methods too.

The good that comes out of the programme- including treating farmers fairly and ensuring they have an excellent quality of life- makes me feel happy every time I buy Cadbury’s chocolate, which is why it’s such a pleasure to partner with them in this post!

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The recipe for these delicious cookies came via my friend Lucie, the kind of friend everyone should have who never fails to have some delicious baked treat ready and waiting when you visit. We met met on our NCT course and quickly discovered that we lived just two roads apart, and the first time I ever tried these particular cookies was when our older two babies (born 3 days apart, and our second two are less than a month apart!) were around 8 months old. We ate them whilst the babes got stuck into a sensory tray of jelly in the garden, and I’ve never forgotten how delicious they were!

And so with the idea in mind of having a batch of warm, freshly baked cookies ready and waiting for me in the hours after I’d given birth to our new baby, I got to work. I weighed out and mixed up dry ingredients, stashed the mixture away in the cupboard, and made sure that our kitchen was never without a bar or two of the chocolate

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And cookies have never tasted better than these ones did, whipped up and baked by Jason when we got back home from hospital just a few hours after our beautiful boy had arrived into the world. It was cold and blowing a gale as we left hospital late that afternoon, and getting back home to our warm, cosy house and then curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and warm, meltingly soft chocolate cookies was just bliss. Thank you Cadbury’s, for the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.

Makes 9-10 perfect chocolate cookies:

Ingredients:
110g butter
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1 capful vanilla extract
Pinch salt
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g Bournville cocoa powder

200g Cadburys Dairy Milk chocolate

- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

- Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

- Add in the flour, baking powder and bicarb, and cocoa powder, and mix to combine. Add in the chocolate (chopped into smallish chunks), and stir again to evenly distribute into the dough.

- Roll into balls, and either bake immediately for 10-12 minutes (until the edges are just beginning to set), or put into the fridge or freezer to be cooked at a later date.

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The tastiest cookies ever, whether you happen to be eating them a few hours post-birth, or simply because it’s a day ending with a y. And with the feel good factor too, thanks to Cadbury’s Cocoa Life scheme. What could be better?

~ This post was sponsored by Cadbury’s. Thank you supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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04.06

Dark-chocolate-and-seasalt-spelt-cookies-Cider-with-Rosie-3

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…

Dark-chocolate-and-seasalt-spelt-cookies

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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28.01

Dark-chocolate-dipped-shortbread-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie

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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10.09

PB-and-J-sandwich-cookies

I used to be completely addicted to peanut butter and jam on toast. Like, eat four slices in one go kind of addicted. In my defence, it was back when I was about 15 and was a typical hollow-legged teenager, so that makes it kind of okay, right? The classic PB and J combo is still a favourite of mine, though I try not to binge on it in quite the same way. Moderation is the thing, right?

Well, there’s nothing moderate about these cookies. Two soft, peanut butter flavoured cookies sandwiched together with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, and a big spoonful of blackcurrant jam. Not for the faint-hearted, these babies! Of course, you can use any type of jam you prefer, but blackcurrant cuts through the sweetness of the cookies and frosting so well that I’d recommend giving it a go. And if anyone were to fancy to ramping up these already heavily ramped-up cookies, we could also discuss the potential of replacing the frosting with a scoopful of creamy peanut butter ice-cream. I wouldn’t like to lead anyone astray though, so pretend I never said that…

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{Makes approx 10 sandwich cookies. Recipe adapted from Hummingbird’s basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, and frosting tweaked from a recipe found in the September issue of Waitrose Kitchen.}

Ingredients ::
{For the cookies}
225g soft unsalted butter
75g smooth peanut butter
300g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
400g plain flour
80g rolled oats
2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

{For the frosting}
80g smooth peanut butter
80g full fat cream cheese
190g icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A good half jar or so of blackcurrant jam

- Put the butter, peanut butter, and sugar into a large bowl, and beat until smooth, light, and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Lastly, beat in the vanilla extract before turning to the dry ingredients.

- Measure out the flour, oats, and bicarbonate of soda, and slowly mix into the wet ingredients until a smooth dough is formed.

- Roll the dough into golf ball sized portions, and space out evenly onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Then put the baking sheets into the fridge, and allow the dough to chill for at least an hour. Mine had an hour and a half, and stayed nice and thick whilst cooking. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.

- After an hour, put the cookies into the oven, and cook for 10 minutes. They should be lightly golden when done, with a thin layer of cooked dough on the outside and will be almost raw in the centre. This is good! It’ll make them beautifully soft later on. Leave them to cool for a good 20 minutes or so on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack.

- Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and peanut butter together, and then add in the icing sugar. Keep beating until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

- When the cookies are completely cool, sort them out into equally sized pairs. Spread a layer of frosting onto the underside of one of the cookies, then add on a layer of jam. Sandwich is with the other cookie, and repeat until all of the cookie sandwiches are made!

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I’d love to see your sandwich cookie creations, so do tag me in any Twitter/Instagram photos using the hashtag ‘#ciderwithrosiecooks’!

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