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Recipe: Extremely Chocolatey White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies

This is a super easy cookie recipe. It’s adapted from this white chocolate and raspberry cookie recipe on the Carnation website.

You will need (makes about 20 medium-sized cookies):

  • 225g unsalted butter or baking spread (Stork)
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 170g tube condensed milk
  • 380g self-raising flour (this is more than in the Carnation recipe – I find it makes better cookies)
  • 300g white chocolate (you can use chocolate chips but I find using large bars is better)
  • 150g dried cranberries

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C and cut greaseproof paper to the size of your baking tray(s)

cookie recipe

Put the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a large bowl.

cookie recipe

Cream together the butter, sugar and condensed milk until pale and fluffy.

I use an electric hand whisk but you can use a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease if you prefer.

cookies recipe

Next add the flour to the bowl. It looks like an awful lot of flour – don’t panic!

cookies recipe

Slowly combine the flour with the butter/sugar mixture.

I use a wooden spoon or spatula to start with then bring it together with my hands at the end.

cookies recipe

Use a big knife to chop up your chocolate. You want to make sure you leave some big chunks.

This is a LOT of chocolate – feel free to use less if you prefer.

cookie recipe

Add the chocolate and dried cranberries to your bowl.

cookie recipe

Mix everything together (using your hands is easiest) until the chocolate and cranberries are spread evenly through the dough.

cookie recipe

Take balls of cookie dough (about the size of a golf ball for medium cookies), place on your baking tray and squish down a bit.

You need to leave space between the cookies as they do spread out when cooking – I actually took some of these off after the photo so I only had nine cookies on the tray.

White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are cracked on top and just going pale brown at the edges.

The cookies will still be soft when you take them out of the oven. Leave them to cool for about 10 minutes before you try and take them off the tray.

You should end up with delicious chewy cookies. They will keep for about four or five days in an airtight container (if they last that long before you eat them all!).

The dough also freezes very well. If I am making cookies just for me and the hubby I freeze the dough in two (massive) cookie portions. You actually don’t even need to defrost it fully before cooking – just enough to be able to shape it. I also make the Oat and Raisin Cookies from the Carnation website which are equally delicious!

Hopefully this is a straightforward recipe to follow but if you fancy having a go and have any questions please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to help!

**Disclaimer: This post isn’t sponsored by or linked to Carnation in any way. I just really like their cookie recipes!

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Recipe: Chicken and Chorizo One Pot Dinner

Chicken and chorizo recipe

We all have busy lives so who doesn’t love a quick dinner that can all be cooked together with minimal preparation and even less washing up!

This Chicken and Chorizo recipe is a regular in our house. Chicken and chorizo is a classic combination – in this recipe you can then add any vegetables of your choosing, stick it in the oven and you’re done!

You will need (serves two):

  • two chicken breasts – you could use chicken thighs if you prefer but I don’t like them, so we don’t!
  • two chorizo cooking sausages – I take the skin off and then cut into four pieces
  • one large or two small sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • one large or two small courgettes – again cut into large chunks
  • mushrooms – either leave whole or cut in half
  • red onion – peeled and halved or quartered (if you leave a bit of the root intact they should hold together)
  • peppers – any colours, cut into large pieces

The idea is to cut all your vegetables into pieces of roughly the same size so that they all cook in the same amount of time. Of course you can use different vegetables, just use what ever you fancy. I sometimes use baby new potatoes instead of the sweet potato but you’ll have to boil them for ten minutes first.

Put the meat and the prepared vegetables into a large roasting tray – try to mix everything up and make sure the chorizo pieces are evenly spread around the tray so that the oil that comes out as they cook can flavour everything. Drizzle the whole lot with some olive oil – I use garlic infused oil but again whatever suits you. You could also add salt and pepper before it cooks but I don’t add salt to anything and I’m not keen on pepper so the hubby just covers his after it’s cooked!

chicken and chorizo recipe

Put the whole lot in the oven and cook at 200°C for about 30 minutes (it might take a bit longer if you have particularly large chicken breasts). If you like you can throw some green beans on the top about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

And that’s it. Easy peasy. I actually then drizzle a bit of salad dressing over the top which sounds slightly weird but is actually lovely.

We haven’t started weaning yet but I would have thought that this would be a good meal for little hands to share, perhaps without the chorizo which is quite chewy and salty.

I love meals that can be prepared in advance (I quite often do all my chopping and preparing when Toby is napping in the afternoon) and then just put in the oven when you’re ready. And the lack of washing up from this way of cooking is also an added bonus. Do you have any favourite one pot meals you’d like to share? Please leave a comment and pass them on!

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Halloween Cupcake Recipe

Halloween Cupcake recipeI love to bake but I tend not to unless it is for some sort of event where I can give away most of what I’ve made – otherwise me and the Mr just end up eating the lot ourselves! Halloween isn’t a holiday I’ve ever really gone in for before but it seems I might have to in future with a wee one in the family. So this weekend when we were meeting up with the other babies (and parents) from our antenatal class I took the chance to make some Halloween cupcakes.

I’ve got a couple of basic sponge cake recipes that I use but I can never remember them off the top of my head so when I came across this foolproof recipe on Esther Walker’s blog I thought I’d give it a try. (On a side note; Esther is the wife of Giles Coren and I find her blog, Recipe Rifle, which includes not only recipes but also tales of her life with Giles and their two kids, absolutely hilarious. If you haven’t read it then you should).

All you have to do to get the recipe to make either an 7 inch sandwich cake or about 12-14 cupcakes is weigh 2 eggs (I cracked them into a bowl and weighed them but Esther has said in a comment to her original post that you can weigh them in the shells). Whatever your eggs weigh is then the weight you use of butter (I did use butter this time but usually use Stork for baking), caster sugar and self-raising flour. I also added a teaspoon of baking powder and, because I wanted chocolate cakes, about 2 tablespoons of cocoa.

Esther says to ‘make the cakes in the normal way’ – so cream together butter and sugar, add the eggs then fold in the flour. I use a big bowl and an electric hand mixer – whisk the butter and sugar together then just chuck everything else in and give it a good mix. This seems to work fine. I’ve also made sponges just by throwing all the ingredients into a food processor and mixing well. All these methods seem to work so just take your pick really!

I then spooned the mixture into paper cases in a muffin tin (I actually used old-fashioned bun cases rather than the larger cupcake cases – do you remember when we just used to have buns?!). I put about 2 heaped teaspoons of mixture into each case and this made me 14 nicely domed cakes. I put them in the oven at 180 degrees (fan oven) and they took about 16 minutes to cook but I checked them every couple of minutes after they’d been in for 10 minutes. You can tell they’re done when the top starts to crack and they bounce back when pressed gently on top. If you’re making a sandwich cake it will start to come away from the sides of the tin when it’s done and if you really want to be sure a wooden skewer (a cocktail or kebab stick will do) will come out clean when stuck in the centre.

Once out of the oven try and get your cakes out of the tins and onto a cooling rack of some description as soon as you can. Then the important bit, which I have fallen foul of many times in my eagerness for a cake I can eat as soon as possible, is to wait for the cakes to cool completely before attempting any kind of decoration. If you don’t you’ll just end up with your icing or buttercream or whatever melting and sliding off the cake. Another tip is not to put cakes in paper cases into any sort of storage container (particularly plastic) before they are completely cold otherwise the paper cases will detach themselves from the cakes which doesn’t look very attractive.

I also followed Esther’s rather vague recipe for buttercream as this is something I’ve struggled to get right in the past. She recommends using half a packet of butter (125g) and then just adding sieved icing sugar until it is the taste and consistency is what you are looking for. I did find that to get it sugary enough, and not tasting of butter I had to use rather a lot of icing sugar. This in turn made it too stiff so I added a splash of milk to loosen it. I also added about half a teaspoon of vanilla extract just for a bit of taste. As far as colouring the butter cream goes I really wanted bright orange – I used Dr Oetker’s gel food colouring but a whole tube only gave me a very pale hint of orange. I then used a silicone piping bag with a star nozzle. I’m not very good at piping but as Esther says, it’s easier than it looks. Just start at the outside and work your way to the middle. I did cheat a bit with the last bit of decoration and just bought some Halloween wafer things from Tesco! I will add that after I’d put a generous amount of buttercream on each of my 14 cakes there was still quite a lot left, even after copious licking of the spoon! If was was making this again I’d maybe only use 100g of butter and I think there would still be plenty.

So there you go. A bit waffley for a recipe but sometimes I think it helps to have things explained in detail. Next time I write up a recipe I’ll try and take some photos as I go along as I know that can help if you aren’t entirely sure what you are doing.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Babies

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