Well, it’s been a while. I’ve given up a large amount of my blog time in order to sleep in the last few months (job, exams, life has been taking over), but I have been swearing to myself that I would actually do some baking and manage to take some pictures and write something on this abandoned blog.
Here’s the thing. It is November, and I am firmly of the opinion that (gulp- the C word) Christmas does not begin in August/September/October/November. I have a rule that after The Late Late Toy Show I do enjoy Christmas, but I won’t make the Christmas effort until December! Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Christmas, but 4 months of jingle bells does not a happy camper make. However, given that I have a few days of annual leave now and I have a ridiculous amount of stuff to get done in December that will likely not include baking/photography for the most part, I’m adding to my Christmas gift giving series. Previous ideas for edible loveliness can be found here.
Part of the reason giving baked goods to extended family/friends works well for me (apart from the complete happiness baking it brings) is that I am quite possibly the worst person for buying presents early for people, being ridiculously excited about them, and then giving them to people 2 days later on the 10th of December. I then have to start the process again, find a different present and try to forget about it. But I love giving people presents. I love getting presents too but that’s a whole other story. Speaking of stories, let’s begin to examine the days of shopping for Christmas presents. These usually go something like this…. (Cue fuzzy dissolve screen to a wet, cold and blustery December day in town)
Part one: The beginning.
The date was December 21st. With a heavy purse (Air. And I.O.Us. And lots of 2c coins) and a light heart I hopped out of the car only to be blown halfway across the carpark and into a rather agitated looking lady with two children anxiously clutching selection boxes for fear they’d be taken away before Christmas eve. Santa was not getting any of these tiny chocolate bars. I sheepishly apologised and managed to struggle against the wind back to my car, ignoring the mittens, papers and odd small child flying around in the gale. Well, I thought to myself, it’s a challenge but at least it feels like Christmas!
The fairy lights were lit, the Christmas music was seeping out of every warmly lit shop window, and a formidable queue of human traffic edged through every small space. The smell of mince pies radiated through the air. The magical edge was somewhat blunted by the screaming children, very grumpy parents and the general war at the tills, not to mention the impressive use of paper shopping bags as battering rams, but oblivious to such things I skipped to the nearest shop, flashing the salesperson a winning smile that implied I would indeed be spending my hard earned pennies in their terrific premises. The smile faded, however, when I realised that it may be a bit late in the day for some decent Christmas shopping. It appeared the once well stocked shelves were now full of bits of tissue paper, quite a significant amount of dust, and a lone DVD, which was quickly pulled away by a rather desperate looking man who hissed at me, threw some money at the disgruntled looking salesperson, and clutching the spoils of his labour quickly exited the shop, muttering something that sounded distinctly like ‘my precious’. I stood for a minute, considered whether my sister would in fact enjoy a piece of tissue paper, but decided against it on the whole. Cutting my losses, I (less eagerly) strolled into the next store, catching one infant mid air and handing it back to a worried looking father who looked slightly disappointed with the return of his child. Well it quickly transpired that I may have been a little too relaxed in my waiting until Christmas week before starting my shopping, for potential presents were disappearing before my eyes. Doing my usual run through Penneys I witnessed a hunger games-esque fight between two girls over a hot water bottle with an admittedly adorable cover that looked like a sheep (oh the things they come up with). It appeared to be the last one, and clearly it was quite the commodity. Backing away slowly in order not to frighten them into turning on me, I decided that the best thing to do would be to pop in to the supermarket pick up a few bits and pieces for baking day…
End of part one. See my next post for the thrilling part 2 of this Christmas baking mini series. I know, I know, it’s more exciting than the finale of breaking bad. In the meantime however, I give you quite possibly one of the easiest and most rewarding recipes I own.
P.S. Lovely board is from M & N design, Sligo based company. Bought it months ago and finally using it. Beautiful. (www.mandnfurnituredesign.com)
Double chocolate chip cookies. Eat with milk for comfort level infinity.
You will need
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
100g light golden sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
170g white chocolate chips/buttons
Makes… quite a few. I can get 20-30 medium sized out of this pretty easily.
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius.
2. Prepare your baking tray/cookie sheet. I really like the non stick mats for this as the sugar tends to make things stick. Otherwise good baking paper does the trick!
3. Melt the butter. Add your (room temperature) egg and vanilla extract.
4. Mix the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda in a large bowl.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
6. Stir in your white chocolate chips.
7. Place small teaspoons of the mixture on your pre prepared baking tray. These spread out significantly so leave plenty of room between. You’ll most likely have 2-4 batches to bake.
8. Place in oven for 8 minutes. Depending on your oven you may need an extra minute. They will be soft coming out of the oven, that’s ok. No panicking allowed here.
9. Let the cookies begin to cool on the tray. Once they’ve started to become a bit more solid you can remove them with a spatula to a wire tray to cool.
That is pretty much it, extremely easy recipe and pretty rewarding overall! Happiness is. Enjoy with a glass of milk- and don’t forget to keep some for Santa.
Anybody have any good Christmas shopping stories?