|Picture courtesy of zazzle.co.uk How cute is this fabric?|
A treat is not something to be consumed every day - certainly not in any quantity. It is something to be anticipated, something to savour, something special.
When I was a young kid, sweets were for weekends and fizzy drinks for high days and holidays. The only pudding we tended to have during the week, if at all, was yoghurt. And then oh, the giddy joy at going to the sweet shop on a Friday to pick out the evening's delicacy (rhubarb and custards, or Munchies, or the wonderous thing that is a Caramac) or the pleasure taken in the sponge pudding or a crumble after Sunday lunch.
As I got older, of course this was less enforceable and, being a teenager with a remarkably sweet tooth, visits to the school tuck shop were a pretty standard part of the day. But now, as I get older still, I quite like the idea of going back to that mentality where a treat is not for every day. I want that sense of anticipation, and that sense of specialness that makes sweetmeats all the sweeter.
So I made cookie dough and shaped it into a log and I wrapped it in cling film and consigned it to the freezer so that I can bake up a slice from frozen every now and again. An oozing, chocolatey cookie, soft in the centre with a suspicion of crunch around the edge, headily scented with vanilla and on the verge of being slightly too sweet, that sort of cookie definitely falls into the treat category. Especially if consumed within minutes of coming out of the oven so it is still warm and the chocolate is liquid and smudges your fingers. I do not intend to bake up a cookie every day. But, if I am going to make my treats really count, this is definitely the way to go.
Use any kind of chocolate you like. I'm thinking about making the next batch with Smarties.
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
Tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g chocolate, chopped into chunks
Cream together the butter and the sugar until soft and fluffy. Stir in the egg and the vanilla extract.
Sieve the flour and the baking powder into the mix, add the salt and stir and, finally, fold through the chocolate chunks. The mixture should be soft and malleable, like Playdoh.
Spread a large piece of cling film on the work surface and tip out the cookie dough. Use your hands to push the mixture together and shape it like a log. Then wrap the clingfilm round and roll it, so the log rounds out and becomes a sausage. Freeze.
When coming to bake, preheat the oven to 170. Use a sharp knife to take off a slice of dough - any size you like but the log should yield at least 12. Sit in on baking paper on a tray in the oven for 11 minutes. When you take it out the middle will still looked uncooked, but it will become former as it cools. The edges should just be turning golden brown.
Wait a few minutes (anticipation, remember?) and then dive in, face first. Heave a contented sigh.