27th January 2011
Babysitting With Cookies
I have discovered that babysitting goes better with cookies.
It certainly beats trying to force-feed them fish (yeuch!), olives (yeuch!) or anything you wouldn't find in a jar of Dolmio pasta sauce.
Or at least, it does once the sugar rush has worn off.

Mum bought Rachel's girlies a cookbook for Christmas, and the girls were keen on the recipe for American brownies, so we had a stab at it. Went pretty well I thought.

Chocolate Chip Brownies
sweet veg
Makes about a dozen

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 I set Rachel's fan-assisted oven to 160°C

Grease the baking tin and line the bottom with parchment.
Crush the nuts, break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and stand over simmering water.
Cut the butter into pieces and stir them into the chocolate until everything melts.
Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugar and the vanilla. Whisk the eggs then beat them into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon.
Sift in the flour and the baking powder, add nuts we used a half-dozen marshmallows instead and mix well.
Pour into the baking tin, smooth the top and bake for 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes or so.
Leave until cool enough to handle, cut into squares and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Very nice!
We skipped the nuts, but added a handful of marshmallows and some broken Yorkie bar instead.

From a cookie recipe on Nigella.com
Astoundingly Good Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
sweet veg
Georgina requested an evening of chewy American-style chocolate chip cookies, so I went online and discovered a suitable-looking Nigella recipe.
Only it wasn't Nigella - it was just a submission to her web-site by someone called "Norm".
What a swizz.
Good job it turned out to be bloody fantastic - or I'd have been coming for you "Norm"! If that's your real name.

Georgina did all the work, since Sophie was busy making dresses. Sigh. They grow up so fast!.
It's a fairly easy recipe for a youngling to manage, though the dough is quite stiff to stir, and I did melt the butter for her and lift the cookies in and out of the oven. But she is at least as competent at setting the oven temperature as her mother.

The dough itself is delicious by the way, so you need to supervise the final stages to make sure it doesn't all disappear before it gets into the oven, but Georgina went mad for the finished product too.
Not literally mad, obviously.
That would be an entirely inappropriate thing to say about a 10-year-old.
Just metaphorically mad.

Makes about 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
I used 180°C for Rachel's fan-assisted oven, which seemed about right - the top shelf of cookies took 8 minutes, the middle shelf 12 minutes and the bottom shelf 15

Mix together melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and hot water. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mixture will form into a stiffish dough. Stir in chocolate chips until well distributed throughout the dough.

The dough tastes pretty delicious raw , but try not to eat it all. Drop the dough from a spoon onto 3 or 4 ungreased cookie sheets. The mixture will make a couple of dozen reasonably sized cookies. Leave a reasonable amount of room for spreading.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until just turning golden brown from white. Don't allow them to brown too much. Eat a few whilst still warm - that's when they're at their best. Store in an airtight tin for as long as you can resist guzzling the lot.
Absolutely delicious - but they can be tricky to prise away from the cookie sheets. I'm not sure why "Norm" says not to grease them - I would have thought a thin buttering would have helped.
The second time of making, in my own oven, the cookies had a distinctly cakey texture, and were noticeably thicker than the first lot.
Possibly my (gas) oven wasn't set hot enough since they seemed to take quite a bit longer than 10 minutes.

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