Trawling through food blogs is my biggest procrastination method. I spend, on average, an hour a day clicking through recipes and tantalising photographs, bookmarking as I go. My reading list has more recipes saved than I could cook in a lifetime. My current favourite blog is a fellow wordpress user by the name of the little loaf. It’s packed full of bread, cake and cookie recipes as well as some hearty meals, all accompanied with beautiful photographs and informative tips. A recipe of their’s struck my fancy a few weeks a go using buckwheat flour, something I have never cooked with before. Buckwheat flour is gluten free and, having an increasing number of gluten-free friends, is definitely an ingredient I should incorporate more into my cooking and baking. Much like thelittleloaf my attitude toward cookie recipes is fickle at the best of times. After a few harrowing experiences of biscuity or cakey cookies, I was reticent to try again. But in the past year I have experimented with many great recipes, and my interest has grown to the extent that I now profess a new love for a different recipe each time. But, for now at least, I will be sticking with thelittleloaf’s Buckwheat Cookies, the brown butter adds a further dimension to the nutty flavour and the perfect balance of sugar, flour and fat makes for chewy and beautifully crinkly looking biscuits!
After months of missing the mark with cookies, I did some research to find out what individual ingredients within the recipe did, in an attempt to correct my many catastrophes and the following is what I have learnt:
Sugar- The more sugar you add the thinner, and subsequently crispier, your cookies will be. This is because the sugar will melt, and it it makes up the majority of the recipe will leave you will flat cookies as they spread in the heat. If you use Brown sugar, the cookies will be chewier, as it absorbs more moisture.
Eggs- If you add too many eggs your cookies will be more like cakes. I try to avoid putting more than one egg in per a batch. I liked thelittleloaf’s recipe as it had one egg and one yolk, this extra yolk makes the mixture richer.
Baking soda- makes the cookies rise, which is essential, but too much can leave them with an unfortunate after taste.
Another food british food blog I adore is The Cake Hunter.Her current posts about christmas foodie gifts are brilliant, I can’t wait to get my exams over and done with so I can try out a few of them. I also appreciate her blog as she shares a similar taste in chefs, including Irish food blogger, tv chef, and all round dreamboat Donal Skehan. Following her recommendation I will definitely be baking a swedish apple cake; the recipe looks simple and has very few ingredients, but the outcome is beautiful and the cake looks ridiculously moorish!
Finally, myself and my fellow baker and flatmate have started a new tradition, Cake Date Tuesdays. It’s our final year at University (in the very beautiful city of Edinburgh) and seems such a waste not to sample its culinary delights before we depart post graduation. Edinburgh is full of tiny tea shops, bakeries and patisseries. Yes we do have chain (and in my opinion, mundane) bakeries and coffee shops , like the vastly underwhelming Patiserrie Valerie, but we also have a plethora of individual and offbeat eateries each more quirky than the last, it is these fine establishments we intended to dine at every Tuesday. We started off with a trip to Lovecrumb , with slabs of cake larger than your face. Last week’s cake date we spent in New Town, on recommendation from a friend, at French Fancies. Its a small, hidden, french patisserie, and is well worth searching for! We had a choux bun which was filled with the greatest vanilla cream I have ever tasted as well as a delectable dark chocolate tart.