Chocolate Popcorn Cookies

The kids love meeting up with their friends and I love it when the kids meet up with their friends. It generally means a calmer afternoon when they are all playing and I get a hot drink which is actually still hot or maybe even 2 if all the kids are happy. I love it even more when I don’t have to host. Don’t get me wrong, we do invite people to our house, but the organisation it requires for me to have enough of our chaos tidied away stresses me out somewhat. To balance out my reluctance to host playdates, we never turn up empty handed. This means cake, or biscuits or sometimes even both! For our most recent playdate I went armed with these Chocolate Popcorn Cookies. Note to the wise though, next time, don’t place them in a backpack and jog alongside the four year old who is gaining confidence on her bike without stabilisers. When we arrived, most of the cookies were broken. This did reduce my guilt at eating cookie pieces as I didn’t eat a single cookie at once!

A cookie or two a day keeps the grumps away!

These cookies were an experiment. Finch has inherited his mum and dad’s love of the chocolate/coconut combination. Unfortunately, the playdate hosts disagree so I wouldn’t allow him to add desiccated coconut to the cookies. To placate my gingernutter I suggested we added some of the leftover popcorn from our movie night the evening before. This suggestion was met with immediate enthusiasm and as a result I cannot say for sure how much popcorn we actually added… Oh well! This recipe is versatile and can easily be made vegan by using vegan spread and chocolate. We used golden syrup as it was what we had in the house, but maple syrup would work just as well.

To make Chocolate Popcorn Cookies you will need:

  • 250g margarine/dairy free butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp golden syrup/maple syrup
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 1.5 cups of plain popcorn
  • 1/2-1tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c fan and line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  2. Put the margarine, butter, sugar, vanilla extract and golden syrup in a large bowl and mix with electric beaters until fully creamed together.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt (if you want a stronger sweet/salty taste add the full tsp of salt) and slowly mix together to form a dough.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and popcorn and gently combine.
  5. Put tablespoon-sized amounts on to the baking trays and cook each tray for 12-15 minutes in the oven until golden. We put 6 on each tray to ensure they didn’t spread into each other.
  6. Leave to cool on the rack for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to fully cool.

In my mind these cookies are a perfect accompaniment to a lovely cup of coffee. The kids enjoyed them while running around with their friends. I am currently fighting the urge to go and make more popcorn to make another batch…

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Garibaldi Biscuits

Carefully cutting in two.

I sent my husband to the supermarket for biscuits and he returned with a nice selection including Garibaldi Biscuits. To our horror, we realised that the kids had never seen, let alone tried Garibaldi biscuits. In order to fill this gap in their culinary education, we described this favourite teatime treat and told them that they are also known as squashed fly biscuits. They found this hilarious and after trying them they were an instant hit. As all good things come to an end, we finished the packet (not really surprising in a household of five!) and we had three rather sad children. Ophelia and I hit the kitchen to have a go at making some ourselves.

Brushing with egg white

This is a very tactile recipe for kids. Ophelia loved rubbing the flour, butter and salt together to make fine crumbs. She was talking to it, telling it that she was tickling it and listening out for it laughing. Then there came mixing and flattening it out with her hands before attacking it rolling it out with a rolling pin. More raisins than I can count were diverted into her mouth rather than the recipe, so we did have to replenish them. My main thought was at least this time she wasn’t trying to guzzle a mixture with raw eggs!

Sprinkle with sugar.

Our biscuits definitely didn’t look professional, but Ophelia was rather insistent that she wanted to do as much as she could by herself. This didn’t affect how yummy they were, only that ours were somewhat thicker than your average shop bought Garibaldi. They disappeared in less than 48 hours and there have been requests to make more for our biscuit tin.

Garibaldi here, Garibaldi there, Garibaldi everywhere!

To make Garibaldi Biscuits you will need:

  • 110g self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25g margarine
  • 25g caster sugar and an extra 2tbsp for sprinkling
  • 35g raisins
  • 2tbsp milk
  • Egg white
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c fan and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Measure out the flour, salt and margarine and place in a single bowl. Rub together to create fine crumbs.
  3. Add in the sugar and milk and mix together to form a firm dough. We used both a wooden spoon and our hands to do this. Ophelia would have chosen to only use her hands given half the chance!
  4. Flour your surface, and pat the dough into a flat shape. Roll it out to a rectangle. Ours was 15cm by 20cm. If it is bigger, then your biscuits will be thinner.
  5. Sprinkle the raisins on half of the rectangle.
  6. Fold the half without the raisins onto the other half and gently pat down. I folded it over and Ophelia patted it down.
  7. With a table knife or child safe knife, divide the mixture into 6 rectangles and cut with a sharp knife. Older children may be able to do this themselves. Cut each rectangle in 2.
  8. Brush the biscuits with some of the beaten egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

This recipe appeared in Penguin New published on 4 September 2020 and Soar Valley Life September/October Issue 2020.

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