I have always loved baking cookies and was keen to try out some of the cookie recipes in the latest Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Last week though I had a good excuse as there was a jumble sale in a local village in aid of my son’s old primary school. There is always a cake stall along with yummy bacon butties and I thought I could bag up the cookies so that people could take them home afterwards.
I chose to bake 3 different recipes: Giant Linzer Cookies, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies and finally Cornflake Crispy Cookies.
The chocolate peanut butter cookies sounded absolutely delicious, as a huge peanut butter lover (and my daughter is just the same) I was worried that the cookies wouldn’t even get anywhere near the jumble sale. Thankfully I managed to make 20 equal sized cookies with no leftovers! Flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt were sifted together in a bowl. Then, I creamed butter and sugar together, adding in some crunchy peanut butter. I prefer the Whole Earth peanut butter. It is more expensive but doesn’t have loads of additives or sugar like other peanut butter brands. Afterwards, I added free range egg and vanilla extract to the mix along with the dry ingredients. The mixture formed a dough really quickly. In the Hummingbird recipe you need to add extra caster sugar to roll the dough in before putting the cookies on the baking tray. I decided not to add this extra sugar but just put the cookies straight in the oven. The smell was absolutely delicious and wafted throughout the house. The cookies only took between 12 and 15 minutes to bake so definitely one to try again and again!
Next up was the Cornflake Cookies or rather they had to be Cornflake Crispy cookies in our house. I had some Variety packs in my cupboard which needed using up. My kids always eat the chocolatey and sugary ones first leaving the cornflakes and rice krispies left! What makes me laugh is my son says these cereals taste “boring” but he used to love them! The recipe called for 80g of cornflakes but as I weighed out the cornflakes I realised I didn’t I wouldn’t have enough! I decided to get the rice krispies out to make the shortfall. The other missing ingredient was that I needed to add Ovaltine or Horlicks, something else I hadn’t got in the cupboard but managed without! The cereal was crushed slightly, added to a baking tray with some sugar, salt and some melted butter. This was baked in an oven for 15 minutes so that the crushed flakes would crisp up. I was hoping I wouldn’t burn them! While these were crisping up I creamed butter and brown sugar together, then added beaten egg along with vanilla extract. The dry ingredients- flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt were sifted together before everything was combined along with some plain chocolate chips. Another delicious smelling dough, which made about 25 cookies this time. I personally don’t like the cookies overcooked and too crunchy so I had to make sure I took them out of the oven after only 12 minutes or so. They did firm up straightaway though so I hoped they wouldn’t make anyone break their teeth on them!
My final bake from the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home recipe book were these giant Linzer cookies. These are a huge favourite of mine as they remind me of Jammy Dodgers and I make them a lot, varying the shape in the middle. I use stars and Christmas trees as well, but the heart ones always go down well whatever time of year. The Linzer cookies recipe in the book shows a picture of the cookies made with a fluted heart cutter. I decided to use a plain one. My jam was some homemade strawberry jam I had left in the cupboard which sadly was a bit runny. I also burned a couple of the cookies as the phone rang when they were in the oven. In the end I decided not to send the cookies along to the Jumble sale but they stayed at home for my family to try out! They disappeared very quickly but there were only 6 cookies that were suitable to use as the rest got binned!
Finally, I thought I ought to make another batch of cookies to add to the cornflake and the peanut butter cookies. This time I didn’t use a Hummingbird recipe as most of them involved ingredients I did not have or used nuts. I didn’t want to have everything containing nuts that I baked! In the end I looked through another favourite book of mine- Jo Wheatley’s “A Passion For Baking” and chose to make her Custard Creams. This was another first for me, I’ve scoffed plenty of shop bought custard creams in my time but never made my own. I couldn’t wait to try making them myself.
Jo’s recipe made 12 mini custard creams and I chose to use a small square fluted cutter. The biscuits were made by beating together butter and sugar, then sifting flour, custard powder and cornflour together. The mixture was then combined to make a dough which was put into the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes in some clingfilm. I used the chilling time to sit down with a cuppa. The biscuits didn’t take that long in the oven and it gave me time to clear up and make up some custard cream filling. This was icing sugar, butter, custard powder and milk mixed up to make a firm icing. Jo suggested to pipe the filling onto one half of the cooled biscuits but I spread mine on with a pallette knife hoping it wouldn’t run. It seemed ok doing it this way but I hoped I wouldn’t make a mess, thankfully they turned out fine.
I took the cookies all bagged down to the Jumble sale about an hour before it started as everyone was setting up. I just dropped them off there as I had to get back, give everyone lunch and go back out again to my Clandestine Cake Club event. I don’t know whether the cookies sold, whether they turned out ok or whether whoever bought them liked them or not. I hope so.
Love Sam xx