Readers ask me all sorts of questions. I know the answers to some but it's difficult to gauge individual oven performances and the ingredients used.
Not so many years ago the range of baking ingredients was fairly limited; now the choice is wide and marketed to consider the shopper's budget. I use goods across the spectrum but the flavour of any baking is the sum total of its ingredients.
Take cocoa. Once there was only one brand; now you can buy budget cocoa right through to the more expensive Dutch brands. In the 1960s I had never heard of Dutch cocoa, let alone used it. My mantra has always been to buy the best ingredients you can afford.
Today's recipe lends itself to all budgets. You can use any brand of rolled oats or cooking chocolate, and pecans or walnuts. The yield is great and flavour and texture excellent. What's more, they freeze exceptionally well.
My eight-year-old granddaughter made these biscuits last weekend. I toasted the nuts - tricky for her - ahead of time, but she did the rest.
CHOCOLATE NUT COOKIES (makes about 24)
NEED TO KNOW
|Type of dish||Baking|
|Cooking time||<30 min|
|1 1/4 cups flour|
|1 cup rolled oats|
|3/4 tsp baking powder|
|1/2 baking soda|
|1/2 tsp salt|
|3/4 cup white sugar|
|1/2 cup brown sugar, packed|
|80g melted butter|
|1 tsp vanilla essence|
|1 large egg|
|1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted|
|1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or choc chips|
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Adjust oven rack to centre.
2. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
3. Measure flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir together then set aside.
4. Put white and brown sugar in a separate bowl. Add the melted butter and stir well until combined.
5. Add egg and vanilla then beat together until creamy (I use a hand- held electric mixer).
6. Stir in the dry ingredients in 2 lots.
7. Add chocolate and nuts and combine thoroughly. The mixture will be slightly crumbly.
8. Put tablespoons of mixture on to prepared trays. Flatten slightly with hand.
9. Bake each tray for about 12-15 minutes. Cookies should be lightly and evenly browned.
10. Allow to cool on wire rack.
Cook's notes: Toasted nuts have a better flavour. Coarsely chop the nuts then place in a non-stick shallow pan over a medium heat. Toss or stir until nuts are golden and fragrant. Watch carefully as they burn easily.
Never add oil to the pan as the nuts will release their own. Allow to cool on kitchen paper before adding to mixture.
- The Southland Times