Wednesday, 18 January 2012

First forays into baking

I was bemoaning my lack of sewing activity and subsequent lack of posts on this blog to Toile&Trouble recently and she suggested I could do some posts on the baking activity I've been getting more and more into recently. So, I'm taking her up on that suggestion and I'll post about any particularly successful, or also maybe spectacular failures, of baking and cooking that I do.

I thought I'd start with a cookie recipe I've made three times since the end of December - yes, it's that good and that easy!  It's a gluten-free cookie recipe from the Waitrose website (I wasn't sure about a lot of the chocolate I looked at in the supermarket as I thought maybe soya lecithin had gluten in it? I managed to find a white cooking chocolate from waitrose without any soya lecithin though.)

1st attempt at gluten-free white chocolate chip & cranberry cookies

  • 125g slightly salted butter, softened
  • 150g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 150g Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp Super Cook Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 100g White Chocolate, chopped into small chunks
  • 50g fresh or dried cranberries

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking parchment
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric hand whisk or a wooden spoon, until pale and creamy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract, a little at a time, and continue beating until they are thoroughly combined.
I should point out here that I'm a bit slapdash when it comes to reading instructions (maybe why my sewing isn't working out so well haha!) and I didn't notice that the first step is to beat the butter & sugar together and instead I melted the butter and added the sugar to it. This was much quicker and it does work but it means that once you've got the mixture all made then leave it to sit for a while and solidify a bit before you spoon it out on to the baking trays. 
  • Use a metal spoon to stir in the flour, baking powder, chocolate and cranberries, plus 2 tablespoons of cold water, and mix until they are thoroughly combined.
Again, the first 2 times I made these I didn't notice the bit about adding the 2 tablespoons of cold water.  The cookies worked out fine without it.  The third time I added the 2 tablespoons and they were a bit too thin in the end but much chewier.  So I think maybe 1 tablespoon of water would be right.
  • Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking trays, leaving plenty of space between them for the cookies to expand during cooking.
Wow - I've only just noticed it says TEASPOONS - I was doing tablespoons, no wonder mine were so huge! I really need to read a bit more closely! When it says plenty of space it really means plenty of space - the first time I made these I thought I'd left plenty of space between them but they still ended up spreading into each other a wee bit.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking trays for 2-3 minutes, then place on cooling racks. When cooled, store in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.
I would say start checking at 10mins as they seem to cook a lot quicker than the 15-20mins specified!  With regards to keeping for 2 days - well, they never usually last that long so who knows!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A non-sewing roundup!

Well, a slightly belated Happy New Year to everyone!  Not much chance of a yearly round-up of sewing activity from me - as it's been distinctly lacking, particularly in recent months!  I had a bit of a disastrous attempt at making pyjama bottoms a few months ago and it totally through me off track.  I know I'm a complete beginner bit it still knocked my confidence a fair bit.  Followed by a pretty much steady stream of welcome visitors to our wee London flat over the next few months, it's fair to say my creative juices haven't exactly been flowing this past year.

Next year though, next year will be better. Oh wait a minute, that's this year already isn't it.  So, that's it, no excuses any more as I have no cash this month and therefore plenty of time to stay home and get back to learning how to sew.  This ties in with one of my resolutions for 2012 -
  • Buy less clothes/get back to learning how to sew 
This is really part of an attempt to consume less and spend less so I'm going to try and not substitute consuming fabric for consuming clothes.  Instead I'll try and work with the stash of fabric I have already and with altering charity shop buys and clothes I already have (one of my most successful sewing projects of last year - of which there are admittedly few) was my re-fashioning of my Timotei Dress.  More alterations and re-fashions are definitely on the cards.

The rest of my New Year resolutions are listed over at Archives and Auteurs if you're interested.

I've also been doing quite a bit of baking so I'm going to follow the suggestion of Toile & Trouble and start posting some of the results of that here as well.