Chocolate cookies

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Photograph by DYLAN SWART http://www.dylanswart.com

Recipe and styling by THULISA MARTINS

This is for all the chocolate lovers out there! They are so easy to make. Use the Berry, Prosecco and cream cookie base recipe and substitute 100g of the cake flour with 100g cocoa powder.

Once you’ve mixed all the ingredients together, place the mixture in a large piping bag, using a large star nozzle. Pipe the mixture on a lined baking tray. What I usually do is to pipe a round biscuit base, place a small chocolate block on top and then pipe the top to close the block inside. This gives a lovely rich chocolate centre. Place the baking tray in the fridge for 30 minutes and then bake the cookies for 10 minutes at a preheated 180 degrees Celsius oven. Once they come out of the oven, coat them with good quality chocolate. I like Valrhona or Lindt, anyone you like will do.

Tips on baking cookies:

– do not over mix your dough to ensure a perfect texture
– make sure that the dough stays as cold as possible
– do not over bake the cookies, I usually take them out while they are still a little soft in the middle
– the dough usually can be made in advance and frozen.
– the Berry, Proscecco and cream cookie base can be used for many other variations. For my colleagues this Christmas, I brushed them with 1 beaten egg just before baking and sprinkled with cranberries and pistachio nuts. So let your imagination flow!

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Violets are blue!

Roses are red and violets are blue… this is one of the most well known poems in the world. My dear reader, this is not why I chose the violet theme for these beauties. I just think blueberries are one of the most delicate berries out there and can sometimes be rated as the ‘poor cousin’ hence I’ve also included the other delicate berry – the gooseberry; from my garden off course.

So before I start boring you with long paragraphs and words that would make you consult your dictionary, I will let you ‘in’ on the push towards violets, with a touch of yellow from the other cousin :). Besides I had to include something from my garden seeing that blueberries are not yet there. Its all about our jacaranda trees in Jozi at this time of the year, their magnificent purple blooms, fresh and floral fragrance which fills this busy city with a majestic and peaceful demeanor. Nope, my fellow reader, I’m not obsessed with the latter, I am just a nature freak. Yes I wrote it, NATURE FREAK! nature is where I draw my inspiration from sometimes, there is so much and everyday, there is something new that is totally RAD!

So these are blueberry cookies, they can be made and eaten on the day or given as an edible present to friends and family (notice the link of why I’m doing cookies).

They will keep for at least a week in an air tight container.

Photographs by DYLAN SWART http://www.dylanswart.com

Recipe and Styling by THULISA MARTINS

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Ingredients

150g butter, softened

160g muscovado sugar

5ml (5tsp), vanilla extract

1 large egg, beaten

230g cake flour, sifted

2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

100g fresh blueberries, plus extra to serve

small handful gooseberries from the garden (or shop bought) to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Beat the butter and sugar over high heat in a free standing blender or electric beater for 10 minutes until creamy. Add the vanilla & egg and beat for a further 3 minutes until combined. Reduce the speed and gradually add the cake flour, bicarbonate and salt, taking care not to overmix. Switch off the blender or beater and stir in the 100g blueberries. The mixture will still be soft and spoonable, so spoonfuls of the mixture onto a lined baking tray and flatten with a spoon. The scoops should be about a spoon full as the mixture expands when baking. Place the baking tray in the fridge for 20 minutes and then bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Place on a cooling wrack until cooled. Serve with gooseberries and extra blueberries. I baked these early in the morning and my two Boys could not resist the wonderful aroma from the kitchen. Enjoy these as there’s more coming next week!