If in doubt, make cookies…

You know those weeks where you’re madly busy, but with absolutely nothing to show for it?

Yup, one of those. Oh, things got done, just nothing much I can post about. Family to stay for 3 days; cooking, cleaning, shopping and other exciting tasks; admin for the annual national motorbike rally we’re organising; and sewing. Where’s that last bit, then? Well, I went on a bit of a scrappy bender and got another four blocks done, but I can’t show them because they’re for ScrapHappy Day. I also can’t post about the F²F³ blocks I made for Sue because she hasn’t received them yet and I don’t want to spoil the surprise (but if you want to take a look, head over to the gallery). So, feeling a bit meh about everything, I made peanut butter cookies. As you do….

Personally, I could eat the whole batch of these babies in one sitting, but being an adult (still a work in progress, I’m afraid), I made an effort and controlled myself. Most of them are still in the container… One of the main things I love about them is that they’re so simple and quick.


1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup dark choc chips OR raisins*
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup soft dark brown sugar

Put everything in a bowl and beat till well combined. The mixture will be wet, not like dough.

*Personally, I prefer raisins but I’m not allowed to eat them just now, so choc chips it is. And yes, you can have both…

Dollop large teaspoonfuls onto a paper-lined cookie sheet or baking tray. See how I didn’t make two dozen? That’s the self-control working. For two dozen, double the quantities.

Bake at 175°C/350°C till golden brown, about 15-20 mins, depending on your oven. (They’ll still be soft and chewy.)

Slide the paper off the tray and onto a cooling rack. Once the cookies are warm rather than hot, remove from the paper. You can wait till they’re cool, but… why? They’re gluten free, lactose free, and with the choc chips, fructose-free. But I’m making no promises about calories.

So now you can see why it’s important to keep busy. When you’re not, cookies happen 😉


We have lift-off

Today I delivered the first batch of gluten free cakes and biscuits.

I’ve been rather quiet in blogland over the past few days while I flung together a spreadsheet for all the recipes: ingredients listings, ingredient costs, recipe costs, sources, weights, consumables, etc. But it’s been worth it, as I now know exactly what it’s costing me to make them, rather than having a wild guess and ending up out of pocket. It includes all the stuff you don’t normally think about, like baking paper, oven time, spices, transport containers, paper doylies, stationery for invoices, etc.

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 10.08.04 AMScreen shot 2014-07-29 at 10.08.36 AMScreen shot 2014-07-29 at 10.07.50 AMScreen shot 2014-07-29 at 10.08.25 AMFrom the top, then: crispy choc chip peanut butter cookies; chocolate almond fingers (aka bokkepootjes); gingerbread and date loaf; caramelised pear cake. The cake is absolutely gorgeous warmed up and served with a bit of cream. OK, a lot of cream… Excuse the container shots, I only realised once they were packed that I hadn’t photographed them, and I wanted to avoid too much handling.

There was a lot of ooing and aahing from the shop owner, lots of deep sniffs of the smell of freshly baked cookies and cakes, and pretty much a promise to re-order. I think it was the peanut butter cookies that did the trick… She’s also going to pass my name on to another woman who is fed up with scrubbing her kitchen down to make GF cakes for other people, and wants a GF supplier.

She also asked about savoury items, as people sometimes come in wanting something for lunch. So I’ll have to put together a list for that. Dear me… This could get quite interesting….

Cross your fingers for me!

Busy with pots and pins

No, that’s not a typo. I have been holding forth in both kitchen and sewing room…

Home made tomato sauce for summer flavour on winter pasta

Home made tomato sauce for
summer flavour on winter pasta

Turning these...

Turning these…

...Into this

…Into this

Yesterday, I was on a bottling/canning (depending on your country of origin) roll. On top of the 10 jars of preserved mangoes, I now have 8 jars of very, very yummy tomato sauce with onion, garlic, oregano and basil and a hint of balsamic vinegar.

And this morning, I turned 4 ingredients into peanut butter cookies. After that, I collected another 6 mangoes from my sister in law, which I shall bottle later this week, maybe as puree this time, for eating with icecream or turning into smoothies.

The Car Quilt, growing fast

The Car Quilt, growing fast

And then it was time to turn to sharp objects.  Here’s how I’m getting on with the Car Quilt.  (I can see that this name may well stick, but for the newbies, it’s handwork which can be done on long car trips, rather than a quilt to put over a spoilt vehicle!).

Finished Sea, set out Sky, ready for me to start sewing the top half of the background next week

Finished Sea, set out Sky, ready for me to start sewing the top half of the background next week

And finally, I’ve finished the Sea section on the Tree of Life quilt background, and have now set out the Sky section on the design wall.

So, lots of photos, not too many words for this post.  It’s been a busy couple of days...

The world’s easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

20 minutes from start to finish.  Everyone has time for that.  No cooking skills required.

Yes, they’re GF. No, they don’t taste like it. They’re knobbly, nuggety little bites of yumminess, not perfect rounds of dry and slightly stale shop-bought, additive-stuffed so-called GF alternatives.  Just because I can’t eat gluten doesn’t mean I’ve lost my sense of taste.  I will not be fobbed off with expensive and frankly crappy substitutes.  And the kudos from dishing up warm, freshly baked cookies with her coffee to your mother in law cannot be overstated…

Note: the cup volumes are Australian, and convert to 250ml. US cups are the equivalent of 240ml. It doesn’t affect the recipe materially if you use US cups instead, but UK cup sizes are only 225ml, and you’ll need to add a bit extra if this is what you’re using. If you’re using dry imperial weights, 1 Australian cup is just about equivalent to 8oz.

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 cup raw brown sugar

1 cup either sultanas or dark choc chips

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 medium eggs.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4/moderate.  LIne two cookie sheets with good quality baking paper/parchment.  If you use the cheap stuff, it can stick to the cookies, which doesn’t add to the eating experience.

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Dollop large teaspoonfuls onto the baking paper.  You should get 20-25, depending on how large your dollops are.

Put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  How long it takes is going to depend on how brown you want them, how crispy, and how hot your oven is.  Set a timer and don’t guess or you’ll get charcoal cookies instead.

When they look about right, remove from the oven, slide the baking paper sheets onto cooling racks and leave until fully cooled before peeling the cookies off the paper.  The cookies are not crisp except on the outside, they are deliciously chewy.

You could also try extra chopped peanuts, chopped apricots and macadamias, or chopped crystallised ginger with the dark chocolate bits. Just stick to the 1 cup total volume of added extras, or there won’t be enough gooey stuff to hold the cookies together.