I am very excited about Christmas partly because of the Christmas markets. Last weekend we went to see the markets on the Southbank (London) and were pleased to see a goo range of food stalls. Some traditional German sausages (different names on 'wursts'), mulled wine, lots of beer, very cheesy toasties (Emmental - I regretted my choice after seeing a Wahaca van further down when trying to recover from cheese overdose). There was sadly no stollen but a new treat called a 'chocolate kiss'. A new addition to my Christmas market visits but a delicous dome of marshmallow covered in a chocolate in a range of flavours. The usual craft stalls were there including the powder that magically turns into 'snow', wooden ties to buy your secret Santa at work, scented candles and wooden toys. The ski lodge style stalls always excite me as they make me think of the mountains... and snow!
Today we went to another Christas market, claiming to be one of the best in Europe, in Winchester. The stalls are carefully picked so ensure quality craftsmanship and a good selection. There were some different photography / paintings and a good section for the chutney lover. I was quite impressed at having some new items to look at and the ice rink in the middle was a winner. The food however was limited. There were three meat stalls (pork burger, hot dog and more of the 'wursts') and one stall selling stollen / mince pies. All in all, a good market to peruse for presents but we found a lovely cafe in the centre for our lunch (my first mince pie of the year!)
This week I chose to make some cookies. they are generally simple to make when your don't have a ot of time but these ones had added crunch so I thought why not. They are from the Bake Off book (still woking through it). The book didn't have a picture to show off so I used my creative license to make sure they looked right.
150g dark chocolate
30g unsalted butter
130g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
85g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Packet of giant buttons
1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl. Add the butter then reomove frm the heat and stir until smooth. Leave unitl it reaches room temperature.
2. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until thick and frothy. Stir n the chocolat ewith a plastic spatula. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir in. when it is mixed thoroughly then add the cornflakes and stir again until spread evenly.Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 1 hour.
3. Heat the oven to 170C. Put a rounded teaspoon of mixture onto a tray with greaseproof paper. Repeat for the rest of the mixture leaving a good space for the mixture to spread during cooking. Flatten the cookie mixture so each is about 6 cm across.
4. Bake for 12 minutes then add a chocolate button in the middle of each and push it down gently. Cook for another 2 minutes then remove from the oven and leave to firm up on the tray for 10 minutes. Finally, place the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Next week I am going to get Christmas involved in the cooking...