At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Monday, 1 September 2014

most suitable for...? well...dunking, nibbling, munching. :)


Oh, biscuits…out of all of the edible delights of the baking world, I think, if I had to choose my ultimate favourite, it would probably be biscuits. I don’t think I would be able to then choose my favourite variety of biccie…that is a question which is just much too difficult for me to answer.
I just adore biscuits…whether they be chocolate or plain, big or small, fancy or simple. I’d happily munch on them anytime of the day, morning or night…but my favourite time for biscuit-munching has got to be in the afternoon, when my afternoon hot choc generally becomes a dunking basin for whatever biccies I happen to have currently on the go. Closely followed by something I’ve been doing quite a lot recently – that eing crumbling up a biscuit and adding it to my banana pudding a lot with my usual chocolate. The combination of both chocolate and crushed biscuit on top of my favourite ever pudding can only be described as delightful. ;)
OK. if I had to simplify things down and try and list some of my most-loved biccies. well I've already blahed on a good bit about my love for Oreos (and their various imitations.) And I find not many things can rival my irresistible triple chocolate chip cookies too easily...don't worry, i will share this recipe with you the very next time I make them. :) And then we have these little fellows featured in the pic above. Now I must say, whoever thought of putting oats into a biscuit, you are a genius and I give you my eternal thanks.:) I just love the scrumptious crunchy texture oats lends to a makes them extremely good for dunking too as the biscuit holds so well despite being saturated in hot choc/coffee etc. One of my favorite ever shop-bought biscuits has to be the good old-fashioned HobNob. (Or again, for as is often the case with a stingey shopper like myself, the Tesco/Aldi equivalent - Oaties I believe they are called. ) And when it comes to home-baking, homemade oaty-sort biscuits are always a very welcome and yummy addition to the biccie tin. I don't think, to be honest, I would feel that My Cocoa-Stained Apron would be compltete without including the recipe for these, then: the comfortingly straightforward-to-make, gorgeously crunchy, and totally yummy oat cookie. In my version, I divide the biscuit dough into three little bowls before baking, as I like to have three types of oat cookie in one batch. One I leave plain, one I add sultanas to, and the other, a few (or maybe not so few...when it comes to chocolate and me the word few doesn't really seem to exist. ) chocolate chips.So whether you're feeling fruity, or in need of a little chocolate hit, or just fancy something simply oaty, you will be catered for either way. :) 
The yummy oat cookie. :) Makes about 22.
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract (extract is better but more expensive of course. :(
  • 100 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 g plain/milk chocolate, chopped into little pieces
  • 40 g sultanas
  • 250 g rolled oats 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Grease two big baking trays and line with baking paper. (If your trays are a bit on the small side it might be a good idea to use three as a pose to two, if you are very anxious for your cookies to be perfectly round and not to join up. :)  preheat the oven to 160c.
  • Beat the butter until really soft with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add the two sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and again with a metal spoon or a spatula.
  • Beat the egg in a jug with the vanilla and the 2 tbsp water. Add about a quarter of the egg mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix well before adding another quarter or so of the egg. Beat again until well mixed, and then continue until all the egg is used up.
  • Place the oats in another bowl and sift in the flour ans the salt. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and mix well until a very sticky dough forms. Keep about a third of this in your original mixing bowl, but place the other two thirds of it in separate bowls (perhaps use the ones you used for sifting the flour to save on washing up. :) 
  • Add the chopped chocolate to one bowl, and the sultanas to the other, leaving the remaining one plain. 
  • Use a dessert spoon to scoop up spoonfuls of the cookie dough, and use your hands to shape into little balls. Place the balls on the trays, spacing them well apart. 
  • Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are a lovely light golden brown colour. They should be still slightly soft though and not too dark; and they will be quite fragile at first. Check after 14 minutes to check that they are not going too brown. 
  • Remove the trays from the oven and wait for a out 5 minutes to let the biscuits harden slightly. Then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. They keep really well for about a week in an airtight tin. But they are lovely warm too, and, of course, are just MADE for being dunked. ;)

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