Friday, March 15, 2013

The Cookie Crusade

I don't know about you, but I think cookies are pretty great. Easy to bake, easy to eat and most importantly they are delicious.

However the one thing that has been perplexing me about cookies is how to stop them spreading so much! See my recent (still delicious) disaster. Certainly more pleasing to the palate then the eye.

I now present to you my most recent batch of cookies in all their glory

So what have I learnt is the secret to making these gorgeous puffy cookies, as opposed to their ugly-spread-together predecessors.

  1. Chill your cookies before you bake them! This made such a big difference in the level of spread for my cookies. I popped mine in the freezer for approx. 10 minutes after I had already dropped them on the cookie sheet. The logic behind it is that it allows the fat to become more solid which means it isn't melting (and therefore spreading) as soon as it hits the oven. 
  2. Less butter. I know, I was horrified when I read this tip. When has less butter ever improved anything?! Just trust me on this. My first recipe had 175g to 2 cups flour, the second 125g to the same amount of flour. 
  3. Giving them breathing space! Lesson learnt, 9 is far too many cookies for my baking sheet. I have settled on 6, I may have been able to fit a few more on this tray, but it is less of a headache to just spread them out to begin with.

So there you have it! What is your favourite type of cookie? 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snickers Peanut Butter Cheesecake

When I asked my mum this year what cake she would like for her birthday, she gave me her standard indecisive response. This year I was prepared with a suggestion I was sure she would love (and bonus, I couldn't wait to try). It was this Snickers No-Bake Cheesecake featured on Not Quite Nigella's blog.

As I set about making it I had her hovering around me in the kitchen licking any bowl I had finished with and stealing bits of Snickers I had chopped. She was so excited, and it turns out her excitement was founded as it was delicious. 

It has a chocolate cookie crumb base, which is topped with Caramel (I used Top n Fill but you could use homemade dulce de leche) then covered with a layer of chopped of snickers. Visual because I think that is the best bit

This is then covered by a mixture of whipped cream, cream cheese and peanut butter.

It is then all topped off with chocolate ganache and some extra peanuts and snickers to make it look pretty and you have yourself something that looks like this

This last picture is my boyfriends piece which he came after work to claim as he couldn't be there at dinner. He wasn't happy with waiting to eat it while I took pictures, but I think all was forgiven as the first words out of his mouth after he had a bite were "So for my Birthday..."