There is nothing quite like stepping out of the shower at ten past five on a Sunday afternoon and being greeted by the smell of cooling chocolate cookies. I think that's exactly what Sundays should be about.
Yes, I admit it, I did not get out of my pyjamas and dressing gown until after five pm today. And it was wonderful. I'm afraid the day just did nothing to encourage it. We did the hard stuff yesterday. We spent time in the garden, taking our lives in our hands skidding around on the wet slippery decking in order to re-mulch soil and clear up the winter carnage in the vague hope that it won't be long before we're planting and making new veg plans. Then N went out to see some dear friends who have been coping with much tougher battles, while I held the fort here.
It was a late late night, and so when we stumbled out of bed this morning, foraged for food (which seems be somewhat lacking this weekend - how can we have found ourselves without tinned tomatoes, olive oil, and bread in one fell swoop, along with the only vegetables in the house being celery (eurgh!) and a lone aubergine!) and guzzled enough tea to rouse us (thank goodness there is always milk and tea bags!) we discovered it was time for the match, and then it was time to make cookies, and then and only then, was it time for showers.
But the cookies, oh, the cookies! I have just polished off two with another cup of tea, and am worried that if I return for a tea top-up another couple of cookies might disappear. They were a whim. I was going to be good and not bake (yeah, right) and then I was going to be slightly good and make carrot cake, because at least that uses vegetables. But by the time I fished out the recipe and started poking around our cupboards I realised that we were missed more than a few ingredients, and suddenly grating carrots seems like too much effort.
So I decided to make some cookies. I have many many cookie recipes, and two are my standard "go to" plan depending on the specific type I am looking for (the first is a "cakey" plain cookie with chocolate chips, my second a more "cookie" cookie which will handle almost any addition and has a lovely almost caramely base). In the end I used neither. As I was admiring the mess of the baking cupboard a bag of hazelnuts caught my eye, and in a flash I was online digging out a Nigel Slater (who else?!) recipe I'd spotted last week.
They came together in a flash, baked in less time it took to throw them together, and boy did they smell (and taste) amazing. They are slightly crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. They are the epitome of the lazy Sunday. You still have time to make them, go on....
Soft Sunday Cookies (I am renaming them this as it seems very appropriate)
100g dark chocolate, melted
38g soft unsalted butter
112g light muscovado sugar
25g hazelnuts, lightly toasted and ground (coarsly, not too fine)
75g Self raising flour
Preheat the oven to 180C, line two baking sheets with either parchment or silipat stuff.
Cream the butter and sugar together, and then beat in the egg and a dash of vanilla extract. Then add the hazelnuts, flour and chocolate and combine well. If you're doing this in a mixer don't forget to scrap down the sides.
Place dollops of the mixture onto the baking sheets (I used about 2tsp dollops and got 14nice sized cookies) Bake for exactly ten minutes and then remove from the oven. Allow to rest on the sheets for about five minutes, until they stop being too soft to move, then carefully transfer onto a wire rack to cool.
They will be slightly chewy/crisp on the outside and nicely soft in the middle.
p.s. Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments about the marmalade. I'm so pleased that I might have inspired some people to have a go making it themselves. However, I'm probably not helping my business prospects as now everyone will be doing it no-one will buy mine, oops! Seriously though, I hope you're all having as much fun with it as I do. There will be more preserving to come believe me!