Thursday, 5 April 2012

Cookie Exchange + Easter Baking

Today I get to talk about cookies! :) Tamzin @ Salad and Sequins organised a cookie exchange recently, and I was paired with Ffion @ Chocolate & Raspberries. I loved taking part in this exchange. Ffion has given up chocolate for Lent, which kind of forced me to think of more interesting cookies to make - ones that I would usually not make as Liam wouldn't like them. But when I was sending half of them to Ffion, I could afford to make cookies whose leftovers would only be intended for my tummy!! ;)

After looking on Ffion's blog, I discovered that she loves mango. A quick google later, I found this recipe for Coconut Mango Cookies. I used brazil nuts in place of the almonds for a more "tropical" taste. The recipe was a bit more labour intensive than cookies I usually make, involving forming the cookie dough into "logs" and then chilling for at least an hour.

The extra time was worth it though. These cookies have a lovely texture once baked. There was no temperature given on the recipe, but I cooked mine at about 200C for 10 minutes and they came out great. I was a bit worried when I took the first batch out of the oven as, despite being brown at the edges, they were still a bit wobbly. They set up after a couple of minutes though so all was fine! :)

I still have one log left in the freezer to bake another time as well, happy days!! ;)

The other cookies I made were peanut butter cookies (which also include orange zest). I thought I could trust this recipe as it is by Paul Hollywood, but the cook time of 25 minutes is way too long. The first batch were burnt after 20 minutes (so still 5 minutes less than recommended), so I made a 2nd batch and they only actually need 10 minutes to cook! Crazy that the recipe is so wrong!! I looked in the comments section after I burnt the first batch, and lots of people had the same issue. Whoops, should have checked there first! The second batch turned out perfectly though...

To my surprise, Liam really liked these cookies too - apparently the orange zest "mellowed" (<-- his word) the peanuts?!! Oh well, another "acceptable" cookie recipe to add to the list so no complaints here!!

I'd never done a cookie exchange before and was a bit worried about how they would survive in the post, so I packaged up 10 of each cookies - on the basis that even if one set crumbled (the peanut cookies seemed less sturdy than the others) then Ffion would still receive almost a whole 12 cookie batch!!

I packaged them in a cardboard box lined with bubble wrap (and then put a card to Ffion on top of the cookies for extra protection) and crossed my fingers...

I was so relieved when Ffion let me know that they'd all arrived in one piece...phew!!

I also received my cookies from Ffion yesterday too. She sent her cookies in a hard plastic box (wish I'd had that sensible idea!) so her cookies were still in perfect condition...

Ffion sent me Apple & Oat Cookies (the bigger ones on the right in the photo below), and Wholemeal Hazelnut Bakes...

I love both of these - thank you so much Ffion! :)

Ffion did say in her note that she hadn't realised quite how similar the recipes were going to be until she started making them, but as she said, at least she knows from my blog title that I love oats! ;) They are quite different though - the apple ones are softer and sweeter, whereas the hazelnut ones have a slight taste of coffee as well as the crunch from the hazelnuts. Both super tasty!


Whilst we're on the subject of baking, I thought I would quickly talk about the Easter cookery class Izzy went to on Tuesday. It was for 2 hours and she absolutely loved it - she came out buzzing with excitement over the fun she'd had and all the things she'd made! The lady who was running it did say she'd hoped they'd have time to make one more thing, but cooking with a group of 8-10 children had, understandably, taken much longer than when she'd been practising with just her daughter in the kitchen! Izzy still came home with quite an impressive haul though...

Chocolate crispy "nests"...

Easter biscuits...

And, my personal favourite, hot cross "bunnies"...

These were coming out of the oven as the parents were arriving to pick up our children, so they were still warm when we got them good! :)

Have you done any "Easter baking" yet this year? Izzy's putting me to shame, haha, I haven't done any! I was tempted to make the same creme egg cupcakes I made last year, but am resisting as I know I'll just eat most of them myself! Instead I'm going to skip Easter and focus on ideas for my Mum's birthday cake, which is on Monday so not too long away anyway. I am tempted to make hot cross buns though, they can't be that hard if the children made them right?! Although the lady had made the dough in advance...have any of you ever made hot cross buns before? Feel free to link to trusted recipes!


  1. I'm making some hot cross buns tomorrow - there's some excellent recipes on check them out! I'm going for vegan apple, cinnamon and raisin ones :-)

  2. Yay looks like a fan swap!! Thank you for taking part x x

  3. Lovely cookie exchange, they all sound fantastic :-)

    Possibly more lemon poppy seed baking for me this weekend since my trial this week went so well.

  4. Good luck with the hot cross buns -I think mine were a Rachel Allen recipe but they are not too tricky esp if yoy leave off the cross ! Also soak the fruits in the yeast milk mixture first as then they plump up more x

  5. I really enjoyed doing the swap with you :)


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