It's holiday season yet again.
Everywhere around me, there is a rush of festivities going on. From huge, tall Christmas trees adorning the shopping malls and streets, year-end parties, Secret Santa gift exchanges to the aroma of baking in the blogosphere, more so than before. Anything homemade is considered de rigeur this season, with packs of goodies and hampers well received in the neighbourhood.
This is where I want to join in. Wholeheartedly.
Baking for a cause. Baking is sharing. A little joyous ribbon tied parcels for friends and neighbours. Given the unexpected leave that came my way, I used the time with delight and baked one of my all time favourite goodies to share.
Farmhouse biscuits. Quintessentially English, a reminiscence of years buying those cookies from my local grocer in England. Those cookies, 8 for £1.79 were homemade too, arranged neatly on a paper tray and sealed with love. I was complacent enough to savour them without any inkling of making them at home myself. They were delicious, they were homemade, and I presumed must be without the unwanted preservatives, so why bother replicating them?
Then the move. Then the longing for those things that used to be there, at the doorstep, but alas, no longer within reach. It was pure chance that I flicked through my old, worn out cookbook and came across the recipe, almost jumping out to me, a spooky sign of yearning almost fulfilled. This recipe even has the secret weapon of peanut butter, a dash of goodness that I love so much, I was more than happy to bake those munchies at the first sight of dawn. The recipe certainly did not disappoint, and without further ado, I whizzed 2 more batches of dough for giveaways. Local neighbours and friends who could share the love of this English cookies too, now from the hearth of my oven.
A ribbon-tied parcel was given to the local shopkeeper's wife, so she could take a break from standing all day long minding the customers.
Another parcel was safely delivered to the old lady down the road, by none other than The Baby and her grandma, safe in the knowledge that those cookies would sure give a tiny amount of pleasure on otherwise, her another mundane day.
The cookie jars are filled. A special jar tucked at the corner, especially for The Husband, our own Santa whose presence is much awaited for! (Sorry honey, if you are reading this, no more surprises for you)
I wish I could reach all of you with a cookie jar, or a ribbon-tied parcels, for friendship sake, for the holidays, for those lovely comments whilst I was on my blogging break, and for ending the year with a sweet note. Alas, given the impossibility of such dream, I shall share the recipe with you so you could make those cookies too. In the comfort of your own home. Those cookies are easy bake for the kids, let your tiny helpers splutter the dough in whatever shape, they will turn out just fine. Perfect for bonding time in the kitchen, this hols season. And whilst the cookies are fresh from the oven, adorn them with your prettiest ribbons and give them away to those you love, will ya?
recipe from Martha Day's Complete Baking
makes 21 medium sized biscuits
115 g unsalted butter
100g light brown soft unrefined sugar
70g peanut butter
55g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt
170g muesli (or rolled oats)
55g chopped nuts (walnut/almonds/pistachio)
1. Cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
2. Add in peanut butter, followed by egg.
3. Transfer the batter in a bowl. Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and sift through onto the batter. Combine well.
4. Stir in the muesli (or rolled oats), raisins and nuts.
5. Using an ice-cream scoop or tablespoon, drop a dollop of batter onto a greased baking tray. I prefer using silicon mat as they are non-stick. Flatten the dollop with back of spoon to form an almost flat circle of 3 cm diameter.
6. Bake cookies at 180C for 15 minutes for chewy cookies, or 18 mins if you like them crunchy. They should turn lightly golden by 15 mins.
7. Cool the cookies on the wire rack. The cookies will firm up a bit whilst cooling.
8. Store in airtight container.