electricity | rosemary chocolate chunk cookies

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Apparently it is called petrichor. The distinct smell of the earth after rain, particularly after an extended period of warm, dry weather. An evocative smell, reminiscent of flowing streams and spontaneously flowering valleys; long grass wet with dew; soil dark like freshly ground coffee. Petrichor seems to carry with it the kind of rain that is seen as relief, rather than the constant, hounding rain that chases through northern Europe in winter, driven by wind and, seemingly, despair. But the rain eventually gives way to the dry spells of summer. Circling dust and relentless blue skies, grass and wheat slowly fading.

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The rain started about 15 minutes after I began my run. It was early morning, a warm one, with the kind of clammy atmosphere that leaves skin sticky to the touch. Clouds were heavy, in angry sheets, heather gray and violet. There had been some low rumbles of thunder, when Prune and I took our humid walk by the water. The lake itself was perfectly still, a mirror, soft ripples a portrait of the moody skies suspended above us. Prune didn't notice the thunder; she watched the rabbits scattering between the hilly pastures one side the footpath to the brush lining the shore, where bushes were laden with fading blossom, so a spirited pink looked watercolor.
That first bout of rain only lasted a few minutes, soaking fields and darkening tarmac. The smell of petrichor filled the air, it hummed through all of us that were out in that shower; my running shirt was three shades darker than normal, the cows revelled in the respite, farm workers rushing to the fields on bikes pulled their hoods over their heads.

The rain stopped, which is when the lightning started. It had been a while, since I was outside in a real thunderstorm. I forgot the way that lightning plays with you. The first flash, you think it was something else; a camera; your imagination. Lightning without rain was somehow sinister, taunting, and I was suddenly covered in goosebumps. Not from coldness; it was still disconcertingly mild, but because, when you're out in a storm, there's a feeling that raw nature is so close. I felt a small pounding in my head, doubtlessly from electricity. Bursts of light illuminated the slumbering countryside, mature wheat too bright in the gloom.
It started to rain again.

I made it back to the lake, towards the end of my run. Lightning and thunder played out their duet sporadically, the sheep sheltered together on the hillside. There was no wind and the air was heavy with water and warmth. Electricity was everywhere, dripping from the leaves of the bushes and wire outlining the pasture. Thunder echoed along the coast; lightning punctured the sky and a small boat lolled on the glassy water. There was still a pounding in my head and goosebumps came in bouts, not from the tiredness of a run. I think it was the storm’s way of talking to me.

"I take what's mine, then take some more. It rains, it pours, it rains, it pours"
- A$AP Rocky ft. Skepta, Praise the Lord (Da Shine)

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Hi from deep within the realm of summer weather and chocolate chip cookie science, which is a thing. I have a few ccc recipes on the blog, but I (strangely?) like trying new variations and techniques. The rosemary in these cookies is a very loveable addition, kind of evocative of tangled gardens and countryside. The herbalness somehow cuts through the cookieness.
The method for these cookies is a little… different and possibly fussy, but I enjoy complicating my life by insisting I use higher maintenance ingredients (cough coconut oil) so it is one method I’ve found for super big, flat cookies, like the bakery kind, with all the pug-like wrinkles. It’s actually not complicated but I included a lot of troubleshooting in the instructions so the recipe looks long. I love the other two ccc recipes on the blog which are both great and a little less high maintenance, but if you want giiiant, chewy, bakery-style cookies, I’d try these babies.
Anyway. Love and cookies to you ❤️

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rosemary chocolate chunk cookies

1 1/2c (165g) spelt flour
3/4tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1/2c (125ml) coconut oil, either melted/solid is fine
1/2c (75g) coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/2c (75g) turbinado/pure cane sugar
1 free range egg (best if it’s been at room temp for a bit)
1tsp pure vanilla extract
few sprigs rosemary
110g (4 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped chunky, from a bar (70%-85% cacao content)*


A note to start: the method seems a little odd and involved, but if you want cute looking very spread-y, wrinkled, flat cookies (like in the photos) it’s what I found to work best.

Preheat the oven to 180’c, 350’f. Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper and keep the trays somewhere a little warm, for example above the oven.
Combine both types of sugar in a small bowl with the sprigs of rosemary. Use your fingers to rub the rosemary into the sugar for around 30 seconds, it should become very herbal and fragrant. You can then take the rosemary out of the bowl - tiny pieces are ok, but I’d check for any leaves that are left behind and remove those.
In a small pan over low heat or in a microwave friendly bowl, gently melt the coconut oil. As it melts fully, stir through the rosemary sugar. The sugar should become ‘melty’ and there should be no visible clumps, it should become a smooth, light mixture kind of caramel in color. Set aside to cool slightly (you will be adding the egg and you don’t want to scramble it), but not too much - you want the coconut oil to be a little warm and definitely with no visible solids.
While letting the sugar-oil mix cool, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. If your sugar-oil mix is just warm and not hot, beat in the egg. If the egg has been at room temperature for a while, there shouldn’t be any visible effects on the sugar-oil mix. If the oil starts to harden (if the egg is cold), heat it veeeery gently, no scrambled eggs necessary. Once the egg is combined, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Add the wet mix to the dry and combine gently with a wooden spoon. As the dough comes together it will seem greasy, that’s ok. You can add the chocolate chunks at this time and bring the dough together.
Scoop out rounds of about 3 tablespoons onto a baking sheet, no need to flatten. They’re really going to spread, which makes them cute, but I underestimated how much space these babies would need and I had to cut a couple of them away from each other (as you may be able to tell in the photos). So, perhaps limit to 4/5 cookies per sheet, you’ll get 8-10 cookies, so you can do rotations in the oven if you need to.
Bake for 17-19 minutes, this will depend a little on the size of your scoops. The cookies will appear just set. They will firm up as they cool, so give them a few minutes on the baking tray to cool first.
The cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight container, they will become a little more crispy as they sit, but I kiind of doubt they’ll hang around for too long.

*chocolate science is another thing altogether but it’s important you use an actual bar rather than chocolate chips, which are often made so they don’t melt, and retain their shape. You want chocolate puddles, so standard melty chocolate is better. You can just cut chunky pieces with a knife. The higher the cacao content, the less sweet the cookies will be, so choose what you like 💕

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just bones | tahini chocolate chip cookies

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When I was young we had a picture book called Birthday Bear. I don't remember much of the actual story but the family lived on a farm and the book had the most beautiful illustrations - every time fall reaches this nook of Norfolk I think of those pages. The pictures were those quintessential countryside images: rolling fields that stitch together into a valley, patches of green and brown and maybe some gold, a blue gray sky, birds, maybe the skyline punctuated by a distant chapel. There’s a scene just like that one of the places where I walk the dogs - the landscape just flattens out and you can see far away. By fall the tones are more muted, if summer was a yell then by fall you have the whisper. Sage and faded olive from the winter beet crop, squares of field left fallow, plump soil in chestnut, coffee and hazel. A tractor ploughs, red and cheerful, alabaster gulls ride the wake, dipping and diving, bright against a concrete sky. There’s rain in the air, still a drizzle, lacing the wind like a promise.  A skinny stretch of tarmac traces alongside, a seam on the quilt. Pulling it all together.

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There are days when the sky is alive - Norfolk is empty, so there is a lot of sky. Early mornings they’ll be streaky gray and inky blue, scattered with whispy pink and coral. And there’ll be traffic. Swallows swoop and doves dive and the air is just filled with chatting geese. Hundreds and hundreds of geese, in their perfect formations, circling the fields to land or passing through or taking off again, as they have always. Compared to the quiet colours on the trees and on the ground sometimes the sunset seems overly loud - pyrotechnic violet and red, with the orange sun dipping below the tree line. Most of the trees are now just bones and black silhouettes but there are a few trees along the highways that are still fall poster girls - the whole spice cabinet of earth tones. Basil and dusky thyme green, saffron and turmeric, smoky red cayenne and paprika. As much as I love art I was never very good at it, forget being able to draw well. But I’ve always noticed colours and shapes and movement so when I look out at this time every year, I always wish I could draw. There's something about drizzle, moody light, ground frost, that sits well with creativity. It would be nice to draw, to capture the muted and the quiet and the feeling of more to come. 

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

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In my spare time (there's not much of that, trust me) I study cookie science. Yeah, it’s a thing. Cookies are intricate pieces of chemistry, or so you'll find if you read around. I may only have one real cookie recipe here and they’re honestly not my favourite sweet but I think about cookies a strange amount of time. They’re fascinating. So tahini cookies. You a tahini fan? I love middle eastern flavors - tahini, cardamom, pomegranate, cumin, sumac, things like that. A trick to cookies that spread well is sugar - you need a lot of it, and the bitter edge of tahini takes away from the cookies becoming sugar bombs, while adding some fat which also helps the spread. Hence palm-sized chewy cookies with cute bulldog wrinkles and soft centers aahhh so good. They're sort of nutty and... interesting. Much more three dimensional than your average ccc. Chocolate chip cookie. Anyway things to note: I don't like a chocolate overkill so I go on the lower end of the chocolate spectrum but take your pick - though use a dark (like 70% cacao) bar and not chips because chips are made to be un-melty and therefore un-photogenic. And this is by far my favorite brand of tahini, I order it from the States which may seem strange but it's like 500x better than anything I've found in Europe.

Also, the recipe is somewhat specific with the whole thing of taking the cookies out early, dropping them on the counter to remove air, and leaving them to firm up, but it's necessary for cookies that hold up but are still flat, soft and perfect. These cookies are so good, idk if I can now go back to the regular kind. A bit like once you've listened to the remix of a song and then when you hear the original it just doesn't sound right?
Ok good talk. Love you guys xx

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tahini chocolate chip cookies

makes around 10 biiiig cookies  // dairy free

1 1/4 cups (137g) spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c (120ml) tahini
1/4c (60ml) coconut oil, soft room temp (solid)
1 free range egg
3/4c (150g) coconut sugar
1/4c (50g) turbinado sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
60g-100g (2oz-3.5oz) dark chocolate, chopped coarsely from a bar (70%-85%)


Preheat the oven to 180'C, 350'F and line two cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, whisk together the first three ingredients.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl (with a hand mixer), combine the tahini, coconut oil, sugars and egg . Mix on low speed until the batter is dark and smooth. Add the vanilla and mix once more.

Add the tahini mix to the dry and using a wooden spoon, combine the two. The dough will be very stiff and will look like it won't turn out because there's too much flour, but keep at it. It will come together. As it does, fold in the chopped chocolate. It's a good arm workout.

Once you have a dough ball, portion it out into large balls of 3 tablespoons or so each (I smoosh two scoops together) and leave a good amount of space in  between because they will spread.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, they will have spread. This is important - they will not be fully set yet, so drop the pan on a hard surface (scare the family dogs) for nice pug-like wrinkles. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes so they are set - otherwise you will have a puddle. Granted, a pretty tasty puddle, but if you want to hold your cookie rather than lick if off a baking sheet, wait a bit.

They taste best right after they're baked (obviously) but they still taste amazing a couple of days later. Try to make them last one afternoon.

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more chocolate

can we dumb it down | chocolate + cherry rye oatmeal cookies

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I don't love talking about politics, not here or anywhere else. I also don't love valentine's day. But I think, considering everything that's going on right now, that it's a bit hard to miss the irony. I walked into the store the other day and looked at the news stand at the front. The newspapers, headlines to the back page, filled with hate. Hate from the people for a campaign that's built on it; the words of its supporters. People killed, families torn apart. The shelf next to the papers, the valentine's cards. The pinks and reds and roses, telling husbands and wives and friends you love them.

I don't propose we all start to love everyone, because we don't all live in some fair trade commune in southern Philadelphia. Maybe we need to rethink about how we think about love. Perhaps it's been over complicated. Perhaps we should just dumb it down to acceptance and quiet respect. Not even acceptance, just tolerance. That there will be people who don't want to celebrate valentine's day. That there'll be girls who want to show off their hair and others who'd prefer to keep it covered. That there are happy families with parents who never married and content kids with parents who married in a church. That there are some guys that love toting guns and driving tractors and there are some who curate art and live in lofts with exposed brick.

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chocolate + cherry rye oatmeal cookies

Maybe it's because we're actually scared. Maybe have good reason to be. Maybe we're not as accepting as we thought we were. Maybe it's because fewer and fewer families are actually composed of a mother, a father, two kids, a dog, a suburban detached house with a double garage and a toyota. Maybe the acceptance of change is on the outside. Maybe we did it because it's the cool thing to do, to feign openness; maybe it became trendy. Maybe, deep down, we cling to tradition. The tradition that love is romance, or perhaps duty to care. For soul mates, your children, a sibling. Maybe it's what we were taught. We grew up watching TV shows were people give each other candy hearts and pink cards and wait breathlessly for the popular boy to ask them to the dance. But maybe things have changed. Maybe now there are people getting hurt, pushed aside, loosing opportunities. And there's no moral high ground. You know how you read everywhere, every day, that we can't go on eating processed wheat and sugar because it's just not modern? Not sustainable. Not healthy. People have seemed very happy to jump off the ship of what health food once was, into a very stormy sea and onto a very shaky lifeboat that is what eating well has now become. In the same way, maybe love as it once was isn't sustainable, healthy or modern. Would we abandon our ship of chocolates and slinky black dresses and acceptance being cool? Watch the sinking of the concept with which we're comfortable? People will moan that we have jumped ship and that I said it myself. That we're not all married in churches anymore, we're ok that some people don't marry at all, some of us are hipsters these days. But love was simply supposed to keep people afloat, stop them from getting hurt, stop the coldness. Whatever we've done, then, is far from love.

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On the one hand we've hijacked the concept. Not just that it's cool to claim tolerance. The number of bloggers and social media people who sign off with a 'love you friends'. People ask you in class whether you know the funny guy, and you're supposed to say 'him? I love him! he's so funny'. We're supposed to love our friends, right? So is this our broader, trendy definition? If it is, why I am I so put off by saying that I 'love' the neighbours? They're fine, but to say I love them would be going a bit far. Because, like everything else, we've taken love out of context sometimes, when kicking the tradition is cool and ok, detached. On the internet, it goes out to too many people to really think about. The funny guy? He'll never find out you said that.

Your friends? Well, maybe, you love them in a way. If love can encompass actual, quiet tolerance of individual quirks, warmth and acceptance, then it's there. Acceptance of differences and that you'll never see some things the same way, that your values and priorities might even clash. Maybe it's just not been something people think about. That love could be much simpler than the marriage-or-not debate, than a cold analysis of the number of broken families, and a whole lot more simple than dinner dates and bouquets. More rational than trying to make acceptance the new in thing. Maybe it could just be letting people walk down the street without feeling unsafe; or being able to take public transport without funny stares or being asked where you're from. Maybe we do love our friends because we put up with all their eccentricities, like we do our own family. Tolerance for differences has always been there, as part of love, in our living with kids and siblings and soul mates. Maybe we can stretch that out a bit - just the tolerance, to all the people around us. The hate has evolved, maybe it's time that love does too. It's not love as we know it. But then it's not just candy hearts and popular boys and the world as they said it was, either.

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But there are cookies and there will be cookies as long as I'm around :) since I posted the house loaf cake a few weeks ago, I now present the house cookie. I pretty much sum up its amazingess in the recipe header but seriously. So good. Rye flour isn't bitter as you may have thought, it's actually quite mild if used with sweet, rich goodies (cherries, hi) and the cocoa really highlights the beautiful colour. The little flecks of oatmeal add some chunky texture and the cherries are so moist and sweet. They'll be a bit more puck-like than regular cookies because of the oil but still. So good. To share, on Valentine's Day. Whether with your little loved crowd or a bigger crew. treat yourself. Big hugs and cookies for you all xx

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Ps. I would've made something for any doggie loves you have but Prune is meant to be on a diet (!!!!) so you could make these if you'd like, my monkeys are crazy about them.

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chocolate + cherry rye oatmeal cookies

Little pucks of goodness - slightly malty rye, the color and richness of dark cocoa. Plump, velvety, sweet cherries. Light flecks of chewy oatmeal. Infinitely loveable. 
// makes 18-20 medium cookies // dairy free

1 cup (110g) rye flour
2/3 cup (70g) rolled oats
1/3 cup (40g) natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (100g) dark muscavado sugar
1/4 cup (50g) turbinado sugar
1 free range egg
1/3cup (75g) melted coconut oil
1/2 cup (75g) unsweetened dried cherries, coarsely chopped if large
1 -2 tablespoons of any milk, as needed


Preheat the oven to 180’C, 350’F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rye flour, rolled oats, salt, baking soda. Add the cocoa powder, you may need to sift it into the bowl if it’s very clumpy. Mix together so evenly combined and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the melted coconut oil and the two sugars, stir well with a flexible spatula. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

Combine the wet mix with the dry oat mix and stir together well, you may need to use a stiff wooden spoon for this since the dough is quite thick. If it’s way too dry (this depends on the cut of your rye flour) slowly add a little milk, teaspoon at a time. Fold in the dried cherries.

Using a medium cookie scoop or heaped tablespoons, portion out the dough. Use the bottom of a glass/measuring cup to flatten each poof into a disk, leaving about 3cm/ an inch between.

Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.

Allow to cool on the sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

The cookies will keep for about 4 days in an airtight container, but are something else straight from the oven 

notes

I think these could take some other goodies as add-ins too – about 1/2 cup worth. Hazelnuts might be nice. If you’re feeling decadent, half a cup (75gish) chopped dark chocolate would be amazing. Next time…


more chocolate

you light up the universe | doggie oatmeal-ginger cookies

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Pruney and Suzi, For years I tacked ' a dog' on to the end of my Christmas list. You two have been the best gifts I'll ever receive. Prune, you came just before my 13th birthday and Suzi just as I was taking some of the most important exams of my life. And you know my life can be crazy, full. School work, applications, work experience. The blog, editing photos, fitting in runs, more work. My world just seems to be spinning really fast, my seasons keep changing. But amid all of that crazy are you both. The real center of my universe.

What I won't do is say that because of you, every day feels like Christmas because that just wouldn't be real. But if Christmas is about goodness, light, and joy, then you two are Christmas. You two little monkeys light up my whole damn universe. Every. single. day.

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I wanted to make my dogs a cookie, something a bit festive for when I am stuffing my face with gingerbread. Dogs can have ginger - in fact, it's often used as a natural way of easing travel sickness, so if you are planning on taking your dogs on any car trips these holidays, these cookies might be fun to take along. They are totally gluten free so they are a little fragile, but my two monsters have been pretty good at cleaning up any crumbs :) they also come together in one bowl, with really only one measuring utensil, because your dog isn't going to care whether you spent four hours making them or 20 minutes. mine always do know. though, that they are homemade. They were eaten in a ratio of 10:2 Prune:Suzi, hence the photo of Pruney doing what she does best.

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Doggie oatmeal - ginger cookies

makes around 12 medium cookies    // gluten + dairy free

Now your pup can join in the baking fun, it just for the holidays! They are close to allergen free, just being oat based, but gently sweet and tender. Nothing stops you from adding a little more spice and keeping them for yourself.


1 cup(100g) rolled oats
3/4 cup (75g) oat flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup (60ml) melted coconut oil or neutral tasting oil, like organic sunflower
3 tablespoons honey
1 free range egg

Preheat the oven to 160'C, 325'F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Measure out the oil using a tablespoon measure, add to the oat mix. With the same measure, add the 3 tablespoons honey (it will slide off easily), then crack the egg into the bowl. Stir till evenly combined.

Using a medium cookie scoop or with a heaped tablespoon, spoon rounds out onto a lined baking tray, and flatten gently with the back of the spoon/scoop. Leave a little space, but they don't spread much.

Bake for around 12-14 minutes till light golden. Allow to cool 10 minutes on the sheet then transfer to a cooling rack.

They stay pretty tender, but will firm up with time and keep well in an airtight container for about 4 days. My monkeys usually finish the whole batch in 10 minutes after cooling. Warm cookie feasting... my dogs, no doubt.

notes

you can literally mix the whole thing in one bowl. Sometimes I measure, mix and scoop with the same tablespoon... 


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more to share with your pups