Just in case you hadn’t heard(haha) – it is snowing! I picked the children up from school early as I didn’t fancy a treacherous drive home later down some very icy, snowy country lanes. So here we are waiting for the snow to stop and trying to find things to do. As usual, my thoughts turned to food. I actually planned to get a delicious cassoulet ‘on’. But Sophia wanted to make biscuits. So we did that first.
Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know I am a very reluctant baker. I love cooking ‘dinners’ but I am a bit rubbish at baking cakes. I don’t like eating them that much and can be a bit slapdash and messy. But when you have one child with allergies and another looking for jobs on a snowy day, you have little choice but to put away your fears and get out the aprons.
Since Zac’s problems began I have been muddling through experimenting with my own recipes for various meals etc, but not being a confident baker I felt the need for some tried and tested recipes from an expert. So I ordered myself a copy of the Intolerant Gourmet by Pippa Kendrick. I had first seen it in Waitrose for £20 and chose not to buy it, but when I saw it for sale on Lovelactosefreelife.co.uk for £12.99 I decided it was a bargain not to be missed.
It really is gourmet stuff and the recipes and photography are really beautiful. It also has lots of useful information about the replacement ingredients and lots of useful tips. Some of the recipes do have a lot of ingredients, and that often puts me off. I am a simple cook. Definitely not gourmet or greatly skilled. Mine is more simple home cooking, lots of flavour, minimal steps and little skill. But I needed a biscuit recipe and this book has one. It looks so simple so I decided to give it a go. I have tried it and blogged on it before, but this time I struggled with it even more than the first.
The ingredients are as follows:
125g Pure sunflower spread, 75g soft light brown sugar, 150g gluten free plain flour, 75g gluten free self raising flour
Is it just me or does that seem like an awful lot of flour and not much to hold it together? I ignored my hunch, as this lady is an expert and cookery books go through testing before going to press so it must be right? But perhaps there has been an error here, because all it made for me was ‘crumble mixture’. Buttery crumbs and nothing you could mould into a biscuit. I remembered this happened last time so I added a few extras to see if I could make it work. I did the same again today and it was a success.
I am no scientist but even I could see we needed something to bind the mixture. So I added an egg and a few splashes of soya milk. I also added a good squirt of golden syrup and a few splashes of vanilla extract. The last two were more for flavour than anything else but the milk and the egg were definitely to wet the mixture and create something that actually resembled cookie dough.
The final flourish was a packet of Moofree chocolate drops and the dairy free white chocolate buttons which Tesco and Waitrose sometimes sell! I smashed them up a bit while still in the packets and then poured them into the mix. Definitely looked more like cookie dough now. So I got a fork and spoon and ‘cut’ into my dough to grab little mounds which I pressed flat on my silicone baking sheet. I managed to get 14 good sized cookies out of the mix and put them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. I have a fan oven and it is very ‘fast’ so I checked them after five minutes and turned the tray 180 degrees just to make sure they were evenly baked.
I put them on a wire rack to cool, they were still a bit soft at this point, but as I learned last time they really harden as they cool. If they are too well cooked when they come out of the oven, they become hard enough to break a tooth once cooled!
We waited as long as we could and all took one. I was very pleased with the result. They looked good, smelled good and vanished in seconds which means that the kids thought they tasted good. Success. So if you are like me and a reluctant baker, don’t be afraid to tweak a recipe even if it was developed by an expert. Trust your instincts.
But I would like to know if anyone else has had a problem with this recipe. I would not be surprised if I just measured it wrong or something, but it does seem that it lacks something to hold the dough together – or am I wrong? Please advise. Off to start on my cassoulet now.