Now the Great British Bake Off has reached it's finale, thousands of fans are wondering just what they are going to do without Paul, Mary, Sue, Mel and the brave bakers. The answer, of course, is to get into the kitchen and BAKE!
To help you along you might want to get yourself a copy of Cookies, Cookies and more Cookies! by Lilach German. The book begins with a little history of cookies with the theory that the first cookie was actually a 'test' for a cake recipe. This introduction is followed by a chapter on tools and another on ingredients, it's full of really good tips and information. As this is an American book, it's really worth reading about the ingredients to be sure you are reading the recipes correctly.
I loved the Basic Recipes chapter, which has a range of cookie recipes that you could adapt yourself, including a dairy free recipe.
After the basic Recipes we get into the main chapters, there are more than 75 recipes to choose from covering Classic Cookies, Cookies for Kids, Cookies for Occasions, Cookies for the Health Conscious, Cookies for Chocolate Lovers and Cookies for the Connoisseur.
Put a smile on a child’s face with a Sprinkled Chocolate Ball or Nutella Thumbprint. Enjoy classic temptations like Madeleines and Linzer Sables, or decadent brownies and truffles. Satisfy the most discerning palate with icing-filled macaroons, lady fingers, or Scottish shortbread. Even the health-conscious will find yummy options, including energy bars and Oatmeal and Cranberry Cookies. Many of the recipes produce large batches, perfect for sharing with family and friends. Includes instructions for whipping up basic types of dough, icing, and meringue.
The book concludes with a useful page of conversion charts which I really appreciated.
I decided to make some Madeleines, I wouldn't really consider these to be cookies, more little sponge cakes, but they are in the book so I gave it a go. One of the reasons I wanted to make them was to try out my silicon madeleine mould I bought from Sew White. I'd really recommend visiting her website, as there are lots of unusual baking items and the customer service is excellent.
1/4 cup/ 48g sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup/ 60ml milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (I only used one and it was enough)
1 1/2 sticks butter/200g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups/210g all purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Madeleine Pan Mould
1. Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light fluffy. Add the honey, milk, vanilla extract and butter, and whisk until all ingredients are combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
2. Gradually add the flour to the wet mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter a Madeleine pan mould. (if using a silicon mould, there is no need to butter, really?)
5. Pour the chilled batter into the pan mould, filling each mould to the very top. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick, placed in the centre, come out dry.
6. Allow to chill to room temperature before serving.
7. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
In true Bake Off Style I had a bit of a disaster...
Yes, the madeleines stuck to the silicon mould, so I lost the shell like definition. I think I will probably butter them a little next time. You can just about see what it would have been like on the closest madeleine.
Fortunately I had more batter than would fit in the mould, so I made some madeleines in muffin cases and they turned out perfectly. If the madeleine recipe is anything to go by, this is an excellent addition to any bakers bookshelf, I can't wait to make some more cookies.
One of the advantages of the madeleines in the mould not turning out right, is that there are plenty of 'bits' of cake to test. I was really pleased with the light texture and buttery flavour of the madeleines, the 30 minute chilling time for the batter was very interesting, as it came out decidedly thicker and bubbling slightly. I'll report back on my next trial with the silicon baking mould.
Cookies, Cookies and more Cookies is written by Lilach German, the founder of Lilach: Food and Design, a successful gourmet catering company. Her sophisticated sense of style shines through clearly in the colourful photographs. Lilach studied at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris.
Published by Charlesbridge, RRP £8.99
Also available through a popular online bookshop for £5.39