This weekend has been cold and wet. Last weekend was hot and dry. Two weekends ago it was unbelievably hot. That dry suck-the-breath-out-of-you kind of hot where your body radiates heat and trees seem to shimmer in the distance.
What did we do? We had a picnic of course. Slathered with sunscreen, we sat in the shade, feasting on a communal buffet of chicken wings, Moroccan lamb cutlets, quiche, deli meats, Nigella's roquefort guacamole and thick slices of maple walnut bread.
I'm always inclined to bring a little dessert. It guarantees I definitely have something sweet to look forward to after all the savouries! Given the journey by public transport, the heat, and the likelihood of feeling stuffed to the gills after lunch, I made up a batch of salted chocolate and cranberry cookies.
These were quick to whip up and best of all, there was no chance of melting and limited danger of breakage. I made them with extra cocoa and salt, resulting in a biscuit that's almost savoury save for the occasional encounters with cranberry. This means they don't give you that sickly oh-my-god-i-think-i-ate-too-much feeling. Best of all it means you can quite easily fit in another one. Or two.
Salted chocolate and cranberry cookies
170g butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon salt (reduce to 1/2 teaspoon or omit altogether if you prefer it sweet)
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix on low until just combined.
Fold in the dried cranberries using a wooden spoon or spatula.
Place tablespoons of mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, pressing down on each one slightly. Allow each biscuit some room as they will spread.
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on whether you prefer your cookies a little chewy or hard and crunchy. I did mine for about 12 minutes and they had a crisp edge with a chewy middle.
Allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes and harden, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 24.
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2/15/2009 02:52:00 a.m.