Date & Walnut Cookies

You know it is going to be one of those days when you are up before 7am with the kids in the school holidays. You know it is going to be longer than you want when in order to retain your sanity, you start baking before you would normally be leaving the house for the school run. Before you start yelling at your screen that I am crazy, my theory that over the summer it is cooler earlier in the morning and therefore easier to have the oven on without turning the whole house into a sauna and turning your children into little dragons set to breathe fire at each other and at you.

Snipping the dates

We made this recipe as we have a lot of dried fruit and nuts in the house – it seems I always put them in the trolley regardless of the quantity that I already own. So if you see me anywhere in the vicinity of a supermarket until the new academic year, please do feel free to remind me that I don’t need anymore of the aforementioned item or even remove them from my trolley unless I can tell you their exact date of use and purpose.

It was another baking in pyjamas session!
Cracking the egg into a separate bowl to whisk means it is easier to retrieve any stray bits of shell!

These cookies are ridiculously moreish; I managed to polish of significantly more of them than necessary for a healthy diet (after successfully completing a spin class, but still….) and the batch lasted under 24 hours from when they were made. The kids loved these and enjoyed bashing the walnuts and cutting the dates with scissors. I did also catch Atticus squeezing honey into his mouth directly from the jar. I was so surprised that I admonished him and he was so surprised that he dropped it. Luckily in this instance the jar was plastic. It is also a rather good thing that I wasn’t planning on sharing the honey with anyone outside the family.

The finished product!

Ingredients

  • 150g dates
  • 100 walnuts
  • 25g melted butter/margarine
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1tbsp honey

Method

  1. Place greaseproof paper or silicone baking mats onto a couple of baking trays.
  2. Using scissors, cut the dates into small pieces.
  3. Using a pestle and mortar or a rolling pin gently bash the walnuts into small pieces.
  4. Crack the egg into a small cup or bowl and gently beat it.
  5. Place all the ingredients apart from the flour into a bowl
  6. Sift in the flour and mix until fully combined.
  7. Take tbsp. of the mixture and either roll into balls (beware it is sticky!) or just dollop onto the baking tray.
  8. Depending on the size of your cookies, you will have between 12 and 15.
  9. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden.
  10. Leave on the tray to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  11. Scoff the lot with or without the kids!
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Frozen Raspberry Drops

Simon’s gardening philosophy is very simple; if you can’t eat it, he would prefer not to plant it. This has led to him creating a fruit patch in pretty much every single house in which we have lived. He also grew courgettes for me despite despising them – yes it must be true love. My summertime memories with the kids in our current house are saturated with harvesting fruit and vegetables from the garden and trying to persuade the kids that if the berries are still green then they are unripe… As they get older this is obvious, but to a one or two year old it is somewhat confusing!

The fruit patch doesn’t only produce fruit, it turns out it is also a wonderful for igniting the children’s imaginations. It has been a forest to explore; to look for Gruffalos or bears. I think it has also been a kelp forest during the Octonaut obsession each of our kids seems to have had!

Back to the subject of this post – raspberries. I wanted to use them in healthy recipe for summer with the kids and a bit of contemplation this was the outcome. These will definitely feature prominently in our summer kitchen and I hope they do in yours too.

Ingredients

The nearly 3 year old managed this recipe completely by herself.

With only 4 ingredients, this is a speedy recipe that children will love making. As an added bonus, it is perfect for working on fine motor skills with younger children and is a welcome treat in the summer months.

  • 150g fresh raspberries
  • 200g Greek-style natural yoghurt
  • 1/2tbsp honey
  • Milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Wash your raspberries and allow to dry.
  2. Line a baking tray or container (that will fit in your freezer) with greaseproof paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Measure out the yoghurt into a large bowl and add the honey and mix to combine.
  4. Count out the raspberries and the same amount of chocolate chips (and maybe a couple of extra for hungry tummies!)
  5. Place a single chocolate chip inside each raspberry.
  6. One at a time, gently put the raspberries into the bowl of yoghurt and cover completely using a spoon.
  7. Fish the yoghurt-coated raspberries out with a fork and gently place them on the lined baking tray.
  8. Repeat until all the raspberries are covered.
  9. Place in the freezer until frozen and leave there until you want to serve them.

This recipe features in Soar Valley Life Magazine, July/August 2019

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Vegan Choco Nutty Biscuits

Caught you!
Cookie scoop, she needed help to operate it, but was determined to give it a go!

We are not vegan, but I don’t think that vegan treats should be only for those who are following a vegan diet. Sometimes they are just far too tasty not to want to gobble them up. These biscuits are an example of a vegan snack that I could easily eat my weight in. Why did we decided to make a vegan biscuit though? As part of my seriously epic spring/summer clean, I have been double checking the ingredients I have stored in my pantry. My baking supplies always tend to overflow out of their allotted shelf space. I have come to conclude that I am a baking magpie. What I mean is that I am drawn to baking ingredients in the same way that a magpie is drawn to shiny things. So I buy things that I don’t have space for with plans in mind that may or may not materialise. During this stock take I discovered half a jar of maple syrup. So this meant vegan cookies were on the menu. Luckily for me, I have a little bit more left so I can make another batch!

Squishing to make the lattice pattern. Dunking the fork in water helps to prevent the cookie dough sticking to the fork.

This was another mummy-daughter baking session. She was her usual chirpy self and absolutely delighted with the fact that we were making cookies as they are one of her favourite snacks. It was lots of fun scooping the peanut butter out of the tub and dolloping it into the mixing bowl and licking the spoon.

Ingredients

  • 75g ground cashews (we did this in food processor)
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  • 65g maple syrup
  • 50g vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in to a large bowl and mix to bring together.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and knead with hands to distribute the chocolate chips evening in the mixture.
  3. Using a tbsp., measure of balls of the dough and place on a baking tray.
  4. Dunk a fork into a cup of water and then push down on the top of each cookie to create a lattice pattern (both directions).
  5. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 150°c fan.
  6. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and allow to cool before eating.
I could definitely do with another batch of these!
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