I am married, own a home, have three children and a raft of other accumulations (not to mention am a little over a year off hitting the big 4-0) that indicate I’m an adult.
But it wasn’t until I became the owner of a cat that I really felt like I was one. Seriously, as crazy as that sounds, I felt like I had to be so grown up to own a pet. We’ve had chickens before but they didn’t seem as domestic and therefore I never felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. But bringing Simba home from the SPCA, I felt all kinds of weird emotions. I welled up with tears as I carried him in his little cardboard box away from the cage he was living in. I spoke comforting words (out loud) as we walked to the car and tried to reassure him that he didn’t need to worry, I was taking him somewhere he would be well loved and taken care of. And getting him home and setting up his things in some way felt more momentous than bringing my babies home from the hospital. I think perhaps because I have always been pretty confident in my ability to take care of my babes, I didn’t overthink it and it just seemed the natural thing to do. Bringing home a cat was not something I’d really thought through or planned and if you read this post, you’ll know that’s true!
In a similar way, I’ve loved baking since I was young and can follow a recipe no sweat, but it’s the baking I’ve done in recent years, when I’m getting all experimental that really has me feeling like I’ve broken new ground, entered new territory, found my niche and wings. I’m not creating anything out of the ordinary or bringing Heston Blumenthal-style revolution to the food game, but I love what I’m doing and what I’m able to do by being confident in my ability now without necessarily following a recipe, by trying things out and challenging myself.
Last week I was sitting somewhere thinking mindless thoughts when all of a sudden I wanted to eat a cookie that I used to love when we lived in London. They were a simple boxed biscuit from Sainsbury’s own brand called Stem Ginger Cookies. And though I knew I couldn’t recreate it perfectly (mostly because I couldn’t remember exactly it’s texture or flavour) it was the only thing I could think about for the days following, and making my own version of a cookie combining crystallised ginger and dark chocolate became an obsession.
I took my favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, combined elements of my favourite Ginger Cookie recipe, added chopped crystallised ginger and voila… here they are, my own creation: Stem Ginger & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. And I love them.
They have a soft bite thanks to the treacle and the ginger hit is subtle but perfect. The dark chocolate chips are never going to be anything other than perfect because tell me when is dark chocolate not?
This recipe makes a large batch of cookies – 48 in total, although I only yielded 45 due to eating too much of the dough which was sooooo gooooood! Get baking friends.
- 170 grams unsalted butter
- 1/4 C treacle
- 1/4 C caster sugar
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 t ground ginger
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 2.5 C plain flour
- 1 C chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chunks
- 1/2 C crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 165 °C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger and salt; set aside.
- In a small pot, melt together the butter and the treacle.
- In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the melted butter and treacle and sugars until well blended.
- Beat in the egg and egg yolk until light and creamy.
- Mix in the sifted ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and chopped ginger by hand using a wooden spoon.
- Form rough balls with half a tablespoon of cookie dough. Place onto prepared baking trays, ensuring the cookies are about 5 cm apart.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Rotate the trays after 8 minutes to ensure even cooking.
- Do not allow to become completely golden all over. If you do, they will crisp up too much when cooled.
- Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
- Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Dough also freezes really well
Vanessa is from The Bubbalino Kitchen, a mama, wife and self confessed Foodie – Vanessa has a passion for the good things in life and her recipes will make your mouth water. Follow Vanessa on her blog and stay in touch for yummy recipes, reviews, fashion and parenting!