My BEST chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

 

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I’m treading dangerously here (and of course generalizing 😉 ), but the French don’t make the best cookies, and don’t even get me started on Brownies !  I wouldn’t bother to make most of the beautiful classic French pastries that I can get down in the village, but for cookies, nothing beats North American style and home made !

I’m sure that I’ll never stop trying new cookie recipes, but this has been my favourite for a while now (I should say, my kids favourite).  Its very forgiving, and I change the “additives” depending on what I have on hand.

My dear mother always kept the “cookie jar” full when I was growing up and I’m doing the same for my kids.  To avoid buying industrially made snacks, I always have on hand a big bagful of frozen cookies or frozen dough, ready to be baked.  Keeping them in the freezer helps “just a little” to avoid eating the whole batch when they come out of the oven 😉

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Oats and chocolate are always present and I then add nuts or seeds, depending on what I have on hand.  I’ve even left the latter out, and the recipe worked just fine.

Walnuts are delicious but you could add almost any type of nut or seed….  pumpkin or sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds or even pistachios.

walnuts

Its important to use a good sticky brown sugar, not easy to find in France, for the chewy cookie effect.  I find mine through “fair trade associations” here that import delicious organic unrefined Moscovado sugar from the Philippines.  Be careful that your brown sugar is actually the real deal as many are just white sugar with added beetroot juice or caramel colouring….

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • 200g salty butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (such as Moscovado)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour (whole wheat works well)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (up to you as you already have the salty butter !)
  • 1 cup nuts or seeds (or both), lightly crushed
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 cups oats

Cream the butter and sugars until smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla  and mix for another few minutes.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed just until incorporated.  By the time you get to the nuts, chocolate and oats you will probably have to do this by hand with a wooden spoon.

Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Roll the dough into golf ball size balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  You could freeze the balls on the sheet and then pop them into a freezer bag to bake later if you wish.

When you are ready, heat the oven to 180°C and bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, turning the sheets halfway through.

Bon appetit !

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Buckle

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Winter has barely showed its face this season in the South of France but its drizzly enough outside to feel like soup.

In an effort to make room in the freezer for a good stash of home made stock, AKA bone broth (in the past week, I’ve made chicken, duck and . . . he he he Cornish Game Hen stock, OH not to mention duck FEET stock)  I thought it was time to use up some of those juicy blueberries that have been there since last summer.

blueberry buckle

Is it a Crumble ? A Slump ? A Cobbler ? A Brown Betty ? A Grunt ?

There are so many delicious North American Cakes using blueberries, but the BUCKLE is one of my favorites.  Loaded with berries and pretty enough to pass as a dessert as well as a great tea time treat.

Blueberry Buckle

  • 2 cups (255 grams) plain or partially whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) of softened butter
  • 3/4 cups (150 grams) organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • generous grating of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) cold butter cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 190°C and butter a 23cm round spring form tin (square tin would work too) and line the bottom with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat until well incorporated.  Add flour, bit by bit, alternating with the milk until mixed.  Gently stir in the blueberries and pour into the prepared tin.

Topping:  Combine the dry ingredients, then mix in the butter using your fingers until you have a crumb-like texture.  Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake and bake on the middle rack in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden in colour.  Cool for at least ten minutes before serving.

Bon appetit !

 

 

 

Pics in file treated !

Moms fresh fruit cake

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Easiest cake in the world !  This is my dearly departed mum’s recipe, so full of sentimental memories for me.  You know how the taste or smell of some foods will bring you right back in time?  This one does it for me . . .

Simple does NOT mean boring, give this a try !

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My favourite version of this cake is with plums but my latest version is with fresh FIGS.  Beautiful but totally different as you don’t have the “sour” aspect that you would with plums.  The fig version is sweeter but I counteracted that with nice salty butter. . . In my opinion, there are not many places that salty butter is not welcome 😉

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Don’t hesitate to play around with the fruit, to have your own version for every season.  I’ve tried:

  • pears
  • apples
  • blueberries
  • peaches (makes a softer cake, more like a dessert to serve warm with cream)
  • fresh figs
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb

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This is not your usual cake recipe as the butter goes “only” on top of the batter.  Some fruits will sink to the bottom, and some will partially sink and partially poke through the batter and become nice and gooey during baking.

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With fruit that is a bit on the sour side (especially rhubarb) a little sprinkle of brown sugar before it goes in the oven will give a nice caramel finish.

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Mom's fresh fruit cake

  • Servings: 8ish
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 142g sugar (organic granulated is nice)
  • 86g plain flour (I use partially whole wheat)
  • Sliced fruit (about 1 cm thick)
  • Chilled salted butter

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and butter a square 23 cm glass baking dish. Beat eggs until very light and fluffy; gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in flour.  Pour into prepared dish.  Arrange a single layer of fruit over the top.  Cover with thin slices of cold butter and if using very sour fruit sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (careful not to burn the bottom).  Remove from oven and leave to cool in the pan.  Either eat warm as a dessert with crème fraiche or in squares as a lovely cake with a cuppa tea.

Bon appetît !

Blueberry Clafoutis

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Though totally addicted to my solar oven, I’d given up on BAKING in it !  Until recently 😉  The problem is that most baked goods need to either rise, brown or both and a certain temperature is needed for that (and 100°C to 120°C is  not it !).

I decided to give a CLAFOUTIS a try as its not really a leavened dessert.

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SUCCESS !  It cooked perfectly and it was so hot out that it even browned (a bit).  The taste made up for the lack of crusty edges that I usually get in the normal oven.

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Instead of the traditional cherry clafoutis, I made this delicious blueberry version….  The recipe is for a traditional oven.  If you are fortunate enough to own a solar oven, this went in cold and cooked in less than an hour uncovered.  Ready when a knife comes out clean !

Blueberry Clafoutis

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 600g fresh or frozen bluberries or cherries
  • 40g salty butter + enough to butter the pan
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g plain flour
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon GOOD vanilla extract or 1/2 a scraped pod
  • pinch of salt if you like your baking that way like me 😉

Preheat your oven to 210°C and butter a pie or tart dish.

If you do make this with cherries, the REAL way is to leave the pits IN !

Melt your butter.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt if using.  Incorporate the eggs one by one then the milk, slowly and the vanilla whilst stirring gently.  Add the melted butter and stir well.

Place your fruit in the buttered dish then pour over the batter.

Cook for 10 minutes at 210°C then lower your oven to 180° and cook for another 20 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bon Appetît !

Sesame chocolate chunk cookies

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There is pretty much ALWAYS a homeade cookie in my house.  Just as my mom always kept the cookie jar well stocked while I was growing up.  Its become quite an obsession and I feel like a bad mother when I don’t have something I’ve made myself for my kids when they get home from school.  The danger is for the adults in the house (hmmmm ME ).  I find that immediately freezing them after having eaten a reasonable TWO cookies right out of the oven helps me “forget” that they are there (though I have become partial to the taste of a frozen cookie 😉 ).

The freezing bit allows me to be “organised” and not be making cookies every few days ….

This recipe really appealed to me.  My son is unimpressed with me if I present him with anything that doesn’t contain chocolate in a cookie at the moment, so this seemed like a great change to my usual Chocolate Chip Oatmeal.  The soya sauce adds a certain depth to the flavour and the salt sprinkled on the top is just a MUST !  Enjoy, this one is a keeper for me ….

Sesame and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: enough to freeze some
  • Print

  • 2 1/4 cups (250 g) good quality flour (I use a partially whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I too was intrigued)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (Joy used black, which gives a dramatic effect)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chopped into smallish pieces
  • Sesame seeds for rolling and sea salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling on top

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula from time to time.  Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until mixture gets its fluff back.   Beat in the vanilla and soy sauce.  Add the dry ingredients, all at once to the butter mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Add the sesame seeds and chocolate, and fold together with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Cover the dough and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.   This is the moment you could also freeze the dough in a couple of balls to be taken out when you would like a nice fresh batch of cookies, hot out of the oven !

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Place about 1/4 cup sesame seeds in a small bowl.

Make little balls of dough using a tablespoon and your hands before tossing the balls in the sesame seeds.   Place on prepared baking sheets.  Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool.  Store cookies in an airtight container for a couple days or place them in a big bag or container and freeze (if you haven’t eaten them all already)

Directly inspired by Joy the Baker

Bon appetît !