Mint chocolate chocolatey cookies

Everyone is well aware of pregnancy cravings but you don’t hear so much about the cravings you get after the baby is born. This time during my pregnancy I couldn’t get enough lemonade ice lollies, whenever we found them in the shops I bulk bought them. This continued right up to the last few weeks of my pregnancy, which is why I now have a twelve week old baby son and a freezer drawer full of them. Once the baby had arrived I was struck by the overwhelming sweet tooth that I remembered from immediately after the boy was born. At one point in those first few weeks i was getting through a packet of bourbon biscuits and an entire banoffee pie a day. Clearly this couldn’t continue indefinitely and thankfully the intense sugar cravings have subsided somewhat. At the moment all that remains is a new found fondness for anything mint chocolate flavoured. Mint choc chip ice cream, mint chocolate ice cream bars and mint flavoured 70% dark chocolate.

Inspired, I decided I wanted to attempt some baking for a change and make some mint choc chip cookies. Casting about for ideas i found recipes that suggested using food colouring to colour the cookie dough so that it was green and the cookies sort of resembled mint choc chip ice cream. There’s something distinctly off-putting about green biscuits though and it seemed a bit, well, obvious. I decided mine would be a more sophisticated affair (natch!). This recipe is adapted from a Nigella recipe from Nigella Express and also available here. I changed some of the chocolate for mint flavoured dark chocolate and omitted the vanilla from the original recipe. Just for kicks I dyed some sugar green with food colouring and sprinkled it on top of a few, adds nothing to the taste so it’s fine not to bother but it looks pretty. They turned out pretty well, Nigella knows her stuff and the mint flavour was a subtle but sophisticated twist.

Mint chocolate chocolate cookies

  • 150g plain flour
  • 2x100g bars 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate
  • 2x100g bars mint flavoured 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate
  • 30g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 125g of softened butter
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g white sugar
  • 1 medium egg cold from the fridge

Preheat the oven to 170/gas mark 3.

Break the two mint chocolate bars and one of the plain bars into little bits – think (very)generous chocolate chip kind of size, which is pretty much as small as you can snap them by hand. If your mum is visiting, get her to do it while you measure the other stuff. (Thanks mum!)

Put the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl and mix them together.

Cream the sugars and the butter in a bigger bowl.

Melt the remaining bar of plain dark chocolate in the microwave (1 minute on full power in mine, then a good stir did it).

Add the melted chocolate to the creamed butter and sugar. Once they are combined mix the egg in too.

Add the dry ingredients to the larger bowl and then the chocolate chunks/chips.

Put a tablespoon of white sugar in a wee bowl and add a few drops of green food colouring and mix it about until the sugar is dyed green.

Use an ice cream scoop to spoon generous mounds onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. This amount makes about 12 cookies. Sprinkle some of the green sugar on top and then bake them for about 18 minutes. They’re done when the point of a knife comes out fairly clean rather than wet with cake mix, I struggled to find a bit without a big lump of melted chocolate in to test this theory however. This is no bad thing.

Let them cool on the tray for five minutes then move them to a wire rack to finish.

Eat them on their own or with a big scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

P.S. I took Nigella’s advice and only baked six, I put the rest in scoops on a little tray and froze them, once they’re solid I’ll stick them in a sandwich bag and have frozen cookies ready to bake whenever I fancy which is pretty cool.

Sunny food for a (mostly) grey day

My older boy is at his dad’s this weekend so it’s very quiet at our house. After my brioche breakfast me and the baby boy had a lazy morning while his daddy caught up on some sleep.

The dull grey skies brightened up a little in the afternoon so I gently persuaded Barry that a weekend constitutional was in order. We (I?) decided we’d do a walk we’ve done before that takes us past the many fantastic food shops our part of the city has to offer.  If there’s one thing my husband enjoys almost as much as walking it’s looking in loads of shops. He’s a very tolerant man.

I put the baby in the carrier where he promptly fell asleep and we set off. We took the subway four stops and set off walking back. First stop was Lupe Pinto’s deli where we picked up some gorgeous chorizo which inspired our evening meal. I looked at the authentic paella pans and promised myself one at a later date. I mused over how long it would take me to use up the smoked paprika I had at home so I could justify buying some that comes in a pretty tin.

We visited most of the other food shops along the way and I hope to blog about them in future. Barry picked up a couple of second hand books which dulled the pain of window shopping somewhat and we made it back to the amazing Cottonrake bakery near our house as they were closing. We were just in time to get their last chocolate torte (for me) and a sausage roll for Barry to have as a late night snack (although he was a little disappointed they’d sold out of their stornoway black pudding ones).

Chicken and chorizo paella

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100g dried chorizo cut into little cubes
  • A teaspoon of garlic puree or a couple of crushed cloves
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size
  • ½ -1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika, depending how spicy you like things (or 1 teaspoon normal paprika if you don’t have smoked)
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 750ml hot chicken stock
  • 200g paella rice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges to serve with it

In a large, shallow, heavy based pan (or a paella pan if you have one obviously!), fry the onion in the olive oil till it’s soft, next add the chorizo, the garlic and the chicken.

Cook until the chicken is sealed, then stir in the paprika, the tomatoes and the peppers.

Pour the rice in and stir it round so it’s evenly distributed.

Put the pinch of saffron into the hot chicken stock and let it begin to colour it.

Pour the stock into the pan and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is just tender, usually about 20 minutes. Give it the occasional stir if you like but if it sticks a bit don’t worry – the crusty bits from the bottom of a paella are highly prized by those in the know. Add more liquid if you need to.

Sprinkle a bit of parsley over once the rice is done and serve with lemon wedges on the side and some decent bread.