Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Goals, finally (and a quick-fire cookie too)

Last night we went to the Arsenal vs Cardiff FA cup match. I was pretty confident about it, right until we entered the stadium, then I got nervous. Which is what usually happens. All thoughts about home advantage go out of the window and I get jittery and jump up and down lots (and not always because of the cold). But last night I saw some of the most beautiful football I've seen from us in a very long time, why? Because our long lost striker Eduardo is back. He was horrifically injured last year when he has his leg broken whilst tackled, and his return has been a long time coming. Worth the wait though, oh yes.

But, I know, you're not really all that interested in Eduardo's amazing performance
, and the lightening connections he made with the midfielder, Nasri. You want to know about these:
It's become tradition to have something to keep us going at half time, and at five last night I suddenly realised I hadn't baked anything and had to leave in an hour and a half. NO! I frantically threw on an apron and began opening cupboards, and browsing blogs for inspiration. I came across these. They sounded pretty simple, but tasty, and easy to throw together with few ingredients and little time on my hands. So I propped the laptop on the side, whacked the oven on and began assembling ingredients. That was when I discovered I'd used up the last of the plain flour over the weekend when making pancakes (recipe coming I promise). I had also used up all of the strong white making bread (which sometimes sneaks into recipes when I use up the plain flour). What now?

Improvisation is my friend. Since I can't help but adapt any recipe that crosses my path I decided to do the same with this one. I only needed a half batch (I am desperately trying to cut down the tempting treats in the house...then again, when am I not!) so I only needed a cup and a half of flour, problem is, I didn't have this of any one flour. The result? A mixture of wholemeal, self-raising and ground almonds! I have to say I think the result was rather nice, and at least made it a teensy bit healthy with the wholemeal in there. They were more moist though, and since I didn't have time to chill the dough before rolling (except about ten minutes in the freezer) it did need more flour than usual when rolling out, and needed a palet knife to get them onto the baking sheet in one piece.

They still need a bit of work (probably with the flour ratios, I don't know, I'm just guessing, hehe), but they went down well last night and I packed some up for friends today and they seemed pleased. I'd like to experiment with adding spices too. So many ideas, so little time.

Brownie Cookies - Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

My mix made about 20 medium cookies.

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup ground almonds

pinch baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 softened butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk together the flours, almonds, baking powder and salt. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg, butter, cocoa and vanilla until combined well. Gradually add the flour m
ixture and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and combined. It might be a bit wet, so feel free to add a bit more flour - I would have added plain. Chill the dough for an hour in the fridge, or fifteen minutes in the freezer (I recommend the fridge if you have time, I didn't). Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface and cut into shapes. I used circles. Place on the lined baking sheets and bake for about ten minutes, or until the edges are just hardening and they've risen slightly. Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy.

I will probably return to this recipe and fine tune it...

p.s. coming soon perhaps? The "From a North London Kitchen" shop. *ponder ponder ponder*

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