Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Hello my lovelies, I come bearing more temptation.

Because that’s how I roll.

Today’s offering is a nice, simple cookie (that is, soft on the inside) that also doubles as a nice hit of fibre. You can do your digestion some good while making your taste buds do the happy dance.

The Double Chocolate referred to is a charming combination of Cocoa (antioxidants!) and Choc chips – the oatmeal (for my Aussie readers) is rolled oats. Really, it’s practically a health food and should be considered suitable for breakfast…

Let us begin.

Get your butter out of the fridge to soften and preheat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F. If you have a stand mixer, fit the paddle attachment and make yourself a cuppa until the butter is softened. You may also wish to pummel a block of dark cooking chocolate should you not wish to use choc chips – like I did.

Cream together the butter and sugars for about 4 minutes. I must confess that, when making this batch, I left out the brown sugar completely as I became distracted by something.

They still turned out beautifully, just not as sweet. Health food, dontchaknow?

After you’ve reached the soft and fluffy consistency, add a dash of vanilla extract and two whole eggs. Beat until thoroughly combined.

20161004_163321

Flour and cocoa for sifting.

At this point most of the dry ingredients can be combined and sifted into a bowl.

Flour and cocoa sifted.

Flour and cocoa sifted.

Add this to the mixing bowl and stir until just combined. Then add the rolled oats and repeat.

Oats are healthy.

Oats are healthy.

Stir those in and add the chocolate pieces. I prefer to use bits from a smashed up block of cooking chocolate, because it gives a different texture to the finished product. You’ll end up with pools of chocolate that blend nicely into the mix. Choc chips are designed to retain their structural integrity and remain recognisable after baking.

You can use whichever method you like. They’re your cookies.

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants. Health food.

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants. Health food.

Then, drop rounded spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins.

Use an ice cream scoop to save on arguments

Use an ice cream scoop to save on arguments.

Leave them to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes before you attempt to move them to a cooling rack. It will save on tears.

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 48
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

70 g softened, unsalted butter

½ cup white sugar

1½ cups brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1½ cups plain flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 cups rolled oats (not quick or minute oats)

1 cup dark chocolate chips.

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C/375°F.

Using an electric mixer and a paddle attachment if possible, cream butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. This will take about 4 minutes.

Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sieve into your butter mixture and blend until just combined.

Stir in the oats.

Stir in the choc chips.

Drop in rounded tablespoons onto a lined baking sheet. Do not flatten.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until set. Cooked cookies will be soft to the touch.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

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Chocolate “Paddle Pops”

Chocolate "Paddle Pops"

Yes. I know it’s been a while, but there’s been stuff and it’s been hot and things have been going on and, and…

Never mind.

Some of the stuff that’s been happening.

2016-02-10 18.05.21

Some of the stuff that’s been happening.

Ahem.

Today’s post is in honour of all those mums out there with overheated youngsters and very little disposable income. School is back and the heat seems unrelenting right now with some parts of Australia having 4-5 consecutive days of 40º C plus heat. Which sucks.

So, it’d be quite nice to be able to give the kidlings an icy-cold, almost-good-for-you treat when they flood in the door.

This is one such treat.

Paddle Pops are a part of summer in this neck of the world, but they can get pricey quite quickly. Make your own and save some money while also controlling portion sizes and the amount of sugar that goes into your little ones (or your big ones in this household!)

They use very few ingredients and take about 5 mins to make and 2 hours or so to freeze solid. The kids can even help with making them.

Icy pole moulds

Icy pole moulds

I use icy pole moulds that I bought from Tupperware some time ago – mostly because my mother had the exact same ones when I was a kid, so I had to have them – you understand, don’t you? However, you don’t have to get the same ones. Kmart and other discount stores have icy pole moulds for sale at very low prices, failing that (small) disposable cups will work just as well. Use what you have.

The recipe calls for FOUR (4) ingredients: milk, sugar, cornflour and cocoa.

Start with 500 ml of milk. Any kind of milk: full cream, skim, reconstituted powdered milk, half and half, soy, almond, goat, whatever. Place it in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. You want to give yourself time to get the other ingredients ready…

Heat the milk

Heat the milk

Then, into a smallish bowl, sift together the sugar, cocoa and cornflour.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

I confess to not using cocoa in these pictures. We have a largish tin of a dark hot chocolate mix that was given to me and has been kicking around our pantry for some time now. It doesn’t contain milk powder, so I’ve started using it as a cocoa substitute where possible. Take my lead here, you can substitute the cocoa with Milo, Ovaltine, or Nesquick if that is what you have.

Now, get yourself a whisk. I have a little sauce whisk that I bought for a few dollars at Ikea the last time I was there, and I prefer to use it for this task as it works well to stop things from sticking to the bottom of the pot. A regular balloon whisk will do the job though, so don’t fret.

Sauce whisk

Sauce whisk

So, bring your milk to a low boil and remove from heat. Add your dry ingredients to the wet and whisk well. I actually prefer to add some of the milk to the bowl they are in and blend them there before adding back to the rest of the milk. It’s much the same as the method I use for thickening sauces.

Add some hot milk to dry ingredients...

Add some hot milk to dry ingredients…

...and whisk to dissolve.

…and whisk to dissolve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do this too, then return the chocolate mix to the milk in the saucepan and return the liquid to the heat.

Yes. Yes, it does look like chocolate milk.

Yes. Yes, it does look like chocolate milk.

This bit will require your attention. Heat the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken to a custard-like consistency. Use your whisk to scrape the bottom of the saucepan which is where the heavier cornflour and cocoa will sink to and – if you are unlucky – catch and burn. Don’t stop stirring!

The thickened mixture through a steam soft focus.

The thickened mixture through a steam soft focus.

Remove it from the heat and, if you are as much of a klutz as I am, transfer it to a jug with a good pouring lip. Work quickly or a skin will form on your liquid.

Pour into your icy pole moulds, add sticks and freeze.

Fill 'em up.

Fill ’em up.

When frozen solid, munch away.

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

Chocolate 'Paddle Pops'

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

500 mls milk

2 tbsps sugar

1 tbsp cocoa (or other milk flavouring)

1 tbsp cornflour

Method

Place milk into a 1 litre saucepan.

Sift together sugar, cocoa and cornflour.

Heat milk until just boiling and remove from heat.

Add half the milk to the dry ingredients and whisk well to remove all lumps.

Add contents of bowl back into saucepan and return to medium heat.

Whisk liquid constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan regularly, until it thickens and becomes custard-like.

Pour the custard into icy pole moulds, add sticks and freeze until set. The time this takes will depend on how wide your moulds are – the thinner they are, the faster they will freeze through.

Variation: Use chocolate milk flavouring powder like Milo, or strawberry milk Nesquik for a change of flavour.

A cool treat for kids of all ages.

A cool treat for kids of all ages.

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Jelly Whip (2 ingredient dessert)

And doesn't that look good?

I know, it’s been a while. Never mind.

I’m back now.

I’ve been unwell and it’s been hot – these two things are related.

However, I figure most of my Southern Hemisphere readership has also been feeling a tad warm, so here’s a quick and easy dessert recipe to (a) cool you down and (b) entertain the kidlets as you get toward the end of the School holidays.

This recipe uses exactly two (2) ingredients: evaporated milk and instant jelly (jello).

You’ll also need an electric mixer or be an absolute virtuoso at hand whisking.

This dessert resembles mousse and takes nothing more than a good sense of timing, really.

Basically, you chill a tin of evaporated milk. Then you make up a sachet of flavoured jelly, using only half the water and pop it into the fridge. Then, when the jelly is only just set, you whip up the milk until it triples in volume and mix in the jelly.

Spoon into parfait dishes (or, you know, whatever) chill for another hour and eat.

Easy as, bru.

The timing comes into the whole “only just set” bit. You’ll wait and wait and wait (and the kids will nag and nag and nag…) and then suddenly it will be completely firm, because of course. If this happens, then nil desperandum, pop the jelly into the microwave for 10 seconds and it will no longer be perfectly set.

So!  From the beginning then…

Pop a tin of evaporated milk into the refrigerator for a few hours, or make it easier on yourself and just keep one in there.

Then make up a packet of jelly – or as the Americans call it, Jello – but only use half the water needed.

A packet of Strawberry Jelly crystals.

A packet of Strawberry Jelly crystals.

I prefer not to use “diet” jellies for this, the artificial sweeteners don’t really help the flavour profile of what is actually a very rich dish. I always find it has a rather metallic taint to it, however you may not so go with what you have.

This packet called for 2 cups or 500 ml of water to be added, so I added only 1 cup – half boiling and half chilled.

jelly Crystals. Pretty, aren't they?

Jelly Crystals. Pretty, aren’t they?

I have trouble dissolving it all properly in such a small amount of water, so I use a tiny whisk I got in a Christmas gift of Hot Chocolate a few years ago. It’s okay though, you may use a spoon.

Isn't it precious? (The hot chocolate mix it came with was awful!)

Isn’t it precious? (The hot chocolate mix it came with was awful!)

Put your jelly liquid in the fridge and wait until it has just begun to set – you don’t want a liquid and you don’t want a sliceable texture either. Give it 2 to 3 hours, tops.

When it gets there, remove your evaporated milk into the basin of a mixer and prepare to be amazed. It will start out looking like this.

Evap milk: Exhibit A

Evap milk: Exhibit A

Beat it on full speed for several minutes. It will start to thicken and will eventually form stiff peaks.

Really.

You might think it’s not going to work and then it will. Like this.

Evap milk: Exhibit B.

Evap milk: Exhibit B.

Now spoon in your jelly and mix gently until incorporated.

Can you see the strawberry tint to it? Can you? Can you?

Can you see the strawberry tint to it? Can you? Can you?

It will smell delicious.

Now, scrape down the sides of your bowl with a spatula and give it a final stir by hand, making sure to incorporate any heavier bits of jelly that have dropped to the bottom of the mixing bowl.

Spoon into parfait dishes and return to the refrigerator for one hour. Do NOT do what I did and pile it up in the bowl, it won’t hold its own weight and will spill over the sides of the dish.  You have been warned.

And doesn't that look good?

And doesn’t that look good?

I would suggest using milkshake glasses if you have them, just quietly.

This will serve four generously. If there are not that many of you and you wish to keep some for later (!) then be sure to cover with plastic wrap or a lid of some kind. The jelly will do what jelly does and form a skin. This is by no means inedible – just ask me – but it isn’t particularly attractive.

So, there you go. A cool, rich dessert for a hot summer night.

Even the kids could make it. Heavens, they could even wash up the mixing bowl and clean the kitchen while you wait for it to set.

Just a thought.

Man oh man!

Man oh man!

Jelly Whip

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 400g tin evaporated milk (a little larger or smaller won’t matter)

1 packet flavoured jelly crystals

Method

Chill the evaporated milk in its tin for a few hours or overnight.

Make up the jelly crystals using only half the water called for in the packet instructions.

(Most packets call for 2 cups or 500 ml of water, so use ½ a cup of boiling water to dissolve the crystals thoroughly and then add ½ a cup of cool water to complete.)

Place in the refrigerator to chill until only just set. It should be neither liquid nor solid.

This will take about 3 hours. If you do misjudge the window – or forget- and it sets hard, simply microwave for 10 secs and then return to the refrigerator if necessary.

When the jelly is set sufficiently, empty the evaporated milk into a large bowl and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until thickened and doubled in volume – about 4 minutes.

Add the jelly and mix gently until incorporated.

Spoon into serving dishes and return to the refrigerator for a further hour before serving.

Cover any leftovers to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming.

You may wish to garnish with fruit to match the flavour of the jelly…

Howdy do,

Today was very productive as far as the kitchen goes.

Yesterday, saw a lot accomplished elsewhere: lawns mowed, lawns fed, loads of laundry, etc. Oh and the Accidental Cat decided that I was okay and we were going to be friends after all. Naw!

Jam drops

Jam drops

Today, I harvested some silver-beet from our ‘allotment’, went out to take my first steps on our land – now the big, water-filled barriers to the development have been removed (and did a private little ‘happy dance’ in the rain) – then came home and baked biscuits and put dinner in the slow cooker, before The Boy reappeared from his travels.

So, dinner tonight was some slow-cooker Mongolian Beef that I jazzed up a bit – because that’s how I roll.

Do you remember the red basmati rice that I purchased way back here?

Red Basmati Rice.

Red Basmati Rice.

Yeah. I’d forgotten about it too until I came upon it during a small (very small)  tidying frenzy yesterday. So tonight I cooked it up with some regular basmati. Then, during that last five minutes off the heat, I put the smallest of the silver-beet leaves that I harvested today into the pot and replaced the lid. That way they wilted a little without cooking too much.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

It all looked very pretty in the bowl. Then I topped it with the beef, and it tasted pretty darn good. The recipe is a keeper, I think.

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

So now, I’m going to sit down and write a post about those biscuits for all of you in the Land of Oz with kids on school holidays and the weather snapping cold again.

See how I think about you?

Naw!

Luscious Lemon Sponge

I promised I’d start doing this again, so here goes!

From Woolworths was got:

  • 5 kg Laucke Multigrain bread mix $12.57
  • 2 l Cadbury Vanilla ice cream           $  5.00

Total = $17.57

The cold stuff

The cold stuff

From Aldi:

  • 500 g Pizza cheese                              $4.79
  • 500 g Dairy Spread                              $2.99
  • 500 g Fish fillets                                    $3.99
  • Beef silverside                                       $8.58
  • 500g steakhouse fries                        $2.49
  • 500 g frozen stir fry veg                     $1.99
  • Pork Loin Roast                                  $15.36
  • 1 kg SR flour                                            $0.75
  • Wholemeal tortilla wraps                  $1.99
  • 1 kg   Caster sugar                                 $1.99
  • 1 kg Plain flour                                       $0.75
  • 4 x corn snack packs                            $2.29
  • 1 x Microwave brown rice pack       $1.49
  • 1 x 700 ml Passata                                $1.59
  • 2 x 400 g plain diced tomatoes        $1.18
  • 1 x 400g tomatoes w. herbs              $0.59
  • 1 x 800 g can pie apples                      $2.99
  • 1 x 397 g can condensed milk          $1.69
  • 1 x 455 g jar Vegemite                          $6.59
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut cream           $0.89
  • 1 x 400 ml lite coconut cream          $0.89
  • 1 x 250 g jar minced garlic                  $1.19
  • 1 x 500 g squeeze pack honey          $5.49
  • 1 kg brown onions                                 $1.29

Total = 76.44

The main haul.

The main haul.

And looking at that picture, I’ve just realised that I bought two cans of condensed milk but was charged for only one!

And from the greengrocer:

  • potatoes                                                   $1.80
  • Granny Smith apples                          $1.78
  • Red capsicums                                      $2.19

Total = $5.77

A total spend of  $99.78

And I’m happy with that. The ‘fun’ things this week were the ice-cream so we could have something naughty in the freezer 😉 and the passata. I want to use some in the pressure canning I’m doing and, when I saw it there, I grabbed a bottle. I need to check out the recipe I want to use to see what else is needed, but I’ve made a start.

Tonight our dinner was Almost Fried Rice using some of the leftover corned beef from Sunday dinner.

Dinner

Dinner

And I spent a goodly part of the day mixing up a lemon sponge for my Thursday lunch group. There were a couple of small mishaps – but it’s all ready to go now.

Luscious Lemon Sponge

Luscious Lemon Sponge

Hopefully, they’ll be able to overlook my truly horrendous effort at icing it, because it now looks truly hideous.

It's nearly Halloween, isn't it?

It’s nearly Halloween, isn’t it?

I hate icing. Do you think it shows?  The Boy tells me that, once it’s cut up and on their plates, no-one will care what it looks like.

Until tomorrow, lovelies.

 

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Budget decadence.

I’m sorry.

I didn’t do what I said I would. I got a lot done today, but unfortunately none of it had to do with this blog.

I wanted to though!  I promise. Really truly.

I was waylaid by completing my tax return. This should be relatively straight forward. It never is though. I invested my lump sum from when I was invalided into a managed trust. The tax statements/reports from there never arrive until September and contain all sorts of eldritch entries that require me to search through and experiment with various entry points on etax until they match the place they are supposed to go. The fact that they now list the places they go is massive improvement from a few years ago, when they did not.

This confusion and frustration was compounded by the Accidental Cat appearing at 15 minute intervals and yowling at me (at volume) to open a door…

I ended up locking her behind another one entirely.

This is new...

This is new…

However, t’is done. Also, since I cashed out the trust to put toward the house deposit, I won’t have these issues again. Happy dance, my place, now.

I did, however, get the celebration breakfast done.

I took these frozen croissants,2015-09-06 11.48.04

cut them in half and filled them with pieces of this small wheel of brie.2015-09-06 11.53.35

then heated them until the croissants were warmed through and smelled beautifully buttery and the cheese was all melty and runny.

Budget decadence.

Budget decadence.

We have a home loan and soon will start to build. Another happy dance.

On the blog front, I’m guessing I should do a post on how to do these croissants for Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day, or any special occasion, breakfasts …coming soon.

Also planned – a few posts on easy home-made cleaning solutions.

Tonight I’m abdicating catering responsibilities and waiting to see what The Boy serves me.

Because I can.

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If only I ate a plant-based, whole-foods diet.

Today was a day when I got things done in spite of myself. After managing to hunt down someone on a nearby road crew who could move the truck that was parked across my driveway, I finally got to my lunch group. This was done via a local bakery.

Yes. I squibbed on making something, but I was tired. One of my friends at the group surprised me with a little box of a lovely home-made, gluten-free Buckeye Slice though. It is being savoured slowly…

And doesn't that look fabulous?

And doesn’t that look fabulous?

Then I celebrated the fact that we have conditional approval on our financing (Yippee!) and treated myself to my first haircut in a l o n g time. It’s one of those things I stopped doing in order to save some cash. I’m tidier now. It feels good.

Turned out the hairdresser’s brother had just been diagnosed with MS, so I found myself giving a potted lecture on the subject …

After this, The Boy readily agreed to helping me with the shopping. Bless him.

We drove out to look at our block of land first. It remains where we left it. This was reassuring.

Some of the haul.

Some of the haul.

Then we hit the shops. Bread mix was bought and a couple of largish lumps of meat, alongside assorted other edibles. All that remains is the fresh vegetables – and that can wait. I have my regular IV tomorrow and no shopping will follow that.

I get taken to lunch on days when I have the drip; that’s always nice.

However, fear not!  I will resume my posts listing what I bought where, and for how much. Just not tonight or tomorrow, ‘kay?

We’d bought some frozen fish fillets as something different and then thought we’d do home-made fish and chips for dinner.

That didn’t happen. I’m tired, he’s feeling down – we need nutrition not nasties.

So I mixed up a Vegan Tikka Masala instead. As you do.

I sautéed some onion, carrot and celery (natch!) in my French oven while I thought about what to do next. I decided a spoonful or two of Tikka Masala paste from a jar in the fridge would go well, so I fried that off and added some lite coconut cream, a tin of red kidney beans and a tin of chick peas.

Some Bok Choy was sliced and added – after I had persuaded the Accidental Cat that it was not something that she wanted to eat. This cat was definitely fed in the kitchen by her previous humans, the merest rustle of anything and she comes running.

Oooh, too spooky for me!

Oooh, too spooky for me!

Then the rest of the Tuscan Kale we were given on the weekend was sliced and added to the curry with a small red capsicum I diced.

I heated up a mix of some cooked brown and basmati rice I had in the refrigerator and dinner was served.

15 minutes from go to whoa. Fast food people. $5 worth.

Chick pea tikka masala.

Chickpea Tikka Masala.

Try it.

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