The sunflowers have GROWN! The plants I grew from #SunflowerClub seeds are the tallest, as was expected, and now reach waaay over my head. The ones meant for cutting are shorter but with abundant stems – good timing as the soft pink and purple sweetpeas are coming to the end of their life and I need some colourful flowers for cutting.
Speaking of colourful stems – finally, we have a dahlia. It’s a whopper. Interestingly, the tubers that I left in the ground over-winter (presumed dead) have now decided to send up shoots – and the remains of this year’s plants, post-slug-apocalypse, have also regenerated. Is it too late for them?
I took a bunch of dahlia and sunflower stems home this week to decorate the house in preparation for hosting the Supperagettes. Our all-girl crew, who all happen to work in arts marketing, love grub. I fed them paprika-baked chicken with Matt’s cowboy baked beans, followed by a milk-based cinnamon-spiked vanilla ice. It was yum. It did, however, leave me with three unused egg yolks – and I didn’t want to make yet another pudding when I already had so many leftovers. So I hunted around the web for ideas using up egg yolks and only came across the best choc-chip cookie recipe EVER.
I take no credit, it’s by Claire Ptak and I found it on the Torygraph website. It’s very easy – cream butter and sugar together, add egg yolks and flour, work to a dough and add the chocolate. But two tips make these cookies brilliant: the first is that by using egg yolks rather than whole eggs, you end up with a richer, smoother texture. The second is that you freeze the dough for at least an hour before baking to firm the butter up. This means that the cookies don’t melt the second they meet the oven, meaning that you end up with a thick American-style cookie rather than a crisp flat little thing.
These cookies are the real deal. The dough can be kept in the freezer and baked from frozen, so fresh gooey cookies can be on the table whenever a fix is required.
Proper Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Makes about 16
By Claire Ptak in The Telegraph
First, line a baking tray(s) with baking parchment – it must be able to fit in the freezer.
Then, using a wooden spoon, cream 250g butter (I use salted) with 200g light muscavado sugar and 75g caster sugar (use 100g if you want them sweeter). Don’t over-whip, just combine so there’s no lumps of butter or sugar.
Next, stir in 3 egg yolks and a splash of vanilla extract, then work in 325g plain flour and 3/4 tsp bicarb of soda to make a firm dough. Finally, work in 250g dark chocolate chips or broken up chocolate. Use the decent stuff, 55% solids minimum.
Use an ice-cream scoop to measure the dough onto the baking parchment, then pop them in the freezer for at least an hour. The ice-cream scoop gives depth to the dough, giving you a good thick cookie. (The shaped dough will sit happily in the freezer for a few weeks, so you could just bake as many as you need and leave the rest for another day.)
Pre-heat the oven to 180c. The cookies need room to spread so re-arrange them as required, then bake – give them 15 minutes to begin with and pop them back if they’re still pale. Don’t overcook else you’ll end up with a crispy rather than chewy cookie. Cool for 10 minutes and then scoff!