Saturday, 8 August 2015

best ever white chocolate, almond & cashew cookies & oxford


You know what a day trip to Oxford means? Snack time! For the journey my sister decided to make yummy tuna Dijon sandwiches and I of course contributed the sweet stuff in the form of cookies. Not our British biscuits, but real American style cookies. We munched through most of them in the first ten minutes of our journey (as you do) and ate the rest waiting for a bus whilst marvelling at the difference between London and Oxford. Oxford does have its charms, the architecture, the rivers and greenery and most of all its history as home to the world renowned University of Oxford. However. Yes, however - unless you’re a student, looking into the prospect of becoming a student or like the quiet life it can seem a little...well quiet. Sometimes I think I want to pack it all in and move to the seaside, or the country but then I realise that I’d have a panic attack if I could not find a coffee shop within walking distance and/or shops. Not that I go to coffee shops every day but it’s just nice knowing that things are close, you know? 




Our trip also contained a few random happenings. Very helpful people and random strangers chatting to one another on the bus! Who does that in London? Granted it's nice and friendly but we Londoners are not used to strangers striking up a conversation. Heck, making eye contact on the tube is considered offensive and we usually prefer to travel in utter silence, even when we're stuck with a full carriage of people invading our personal space. You get close enough to almost ask ‘is that old spice you’re wearing old chap? Sometimes you’re able to read a page or two of their newspaper or book - but you never ask questions. Even if some big oaf is trying to step on your toe the most you do is (very politely) extend an elbow out in the hopes that your giant handbag will transmit a clear message to him to ‘move the hell away!’ Anyway we had a lovely time eating good fish and chips and admiring the many beautiful buildings. Afternoon tea was on our list of things to do but we were too hungry to not have a proper meal.


As you've probably noticed I often use oil in my baking and rapeseed oil is my favourite oil to bake with due to its slightly nutty flavour. But you have to have butter in your cookies! I can almost see the frowns of disdain on your faces. Oh no you don't! I promise you that butter is absolutely not necessary. Crunchy on the outside and soft and tender in the middle, these cookies just melt in your mouth. Normally I have to have a cup of tea or coffee with my biscuits but these cookies are just perfect on their own and even better with a glass of milk - especially when they're slightly warm and gooey. 

Admittedly I was a little nervous to start this cookie making journey sans butter, but nothing ventured nothing gained right? If like me you are prone to a little midnight baking and realise that you are out of butter this will save your snack life! I tell myself that rapeseed oil is better for you anyway. It may be a tad higher in calories, but it is full of omega 3 and 6 and contains less saturated fat. So you can have your cookie and eat it too! 

Inspired by Overtime Cook

Ingredients (makes 16)
200g self-raising flour
50g granulated sugar
80g brown sugar
90g white cooking chocolate
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 tbs chopped almonds
2 tbs chopped cashews
100ml rapeseed oil
1 medium free range egg

Method
Toast chopped nuts 2-3 minutes in a moderately hot oven (190c or 180c (fan) /gas mark 5).

In a mixing bowl whisk the egg and oil together until creamy and then mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Set whisk aside and with a fork or wooden spoon slowly mix in the flour and nuts.

Chop the chocolate to small pieces - just slightly bigger than the chopped nuts and finally add to the dough.
Cut out a piece of cling film roughly A4 in size. Shape the dough into a log about 1 ½ inches in diameter and 10 inches in length and wrap in the cling film by twisting the ends closed. Freeze for at least 30 minutes (or you can freeze and use later – just defrost for an hour or so before use).

Preheat oven to 190c or 180c (fan) /gas mark 5 and slice chilled dough into 16 even pieces, and slightly flatten between your palms into rounds - about 2 inches in diameter before placing them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Ensure the cookies are about 1 ½ inches apart, as they will spread whilst baking. You will need two large baking trays or just do them in two batches.

Bake for 10 minutes or until they just take on colour but don’t overbake. They should be slightly soft to the touch. If they appear too puffed up in the centre very gently tap the cookies with a spatula and return to the oven for a further minute.

Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before carefully removing cookies with a spatula to a cooling rack.   Cool for at least another 5-10 minutes and enjoy!







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