Friday, 16 May 2008

"Have a ba-cookie!"

Bill Bailey has a lot to answer for in this house. N can't eat a banana without one or both of us launching into the "cockney leitmotif" of 'have a banana!" Now, it's seeping in to other things as well...

This afternoon we had my PhD supervisor over for drinks and a general catch-up and de-brief of the LA trip. (okay, okay, I know I still haven't posted much about it.) It was a wonderful afternoon with the wine and conversation flowing very freely indeed. I'd made a batch of fig and white chocolate cookies to keep the hunger away for us all, and soak up some of the wine. I'd bough a packed of very moist dark delicious looking figs before going away and hadn't found the appropriate recipe for them. When we got back I suddenly found myself craving figs. Which is odd considering that I very very rarely have figs in things, have never cooked/baked with them, and, I shall admit somewhat shame-faced, have never had a fresh one! So why I would crave them is anybodies guess. But I did, and there was a packet of them in the cupboard teasing me every time I reached in for the condiments.

Although I planned to make fig and orange bread like the stuff I adore from Mildred's, and was fully planning on cutting down my baking tendencies once we got back (to save our waistlines and curb what is fast becoming a total obsession), I did want to have a little something as nibbles on the table to go with the wine if people wanted it. I decided that in order to cut through the dryness of the wine a sweet small sized cookies would be more suitable than bread. I also knew that if I made nice bread we'd gobble up the whole loaf and none of us would want any dinner!

As an aside; I do fully intend on trying fig and orange bread later this week, so watch this space!

So I adapted a recipe, dug some white chocolate out of the cupboard, opened the sumptuous packet of figs and off I went.

I was really pleased with how they turned out. Crunchy around the edges, soft in the middle with the gooeyness of the figs and the sweet slightly harder chunks of chocolate. Unfortunately I made them nice and small which meant that polishing off three or four in a sitting seemed perfectly reasonable. It certainly satisfied my fig craving, meant I got to do some (at least vaguely justified) baking and definitely helped soak up some of the wine. I think the only difference I would make next time it to chop the chocolate into finer pieces and perhaps even add more figs.

Since we'd had cookies in the afternoon we decided to be good and have a smaller dinner, using up a vegetable lasagna from the freezer. Unfortunately, this righteousness just meant that at midnight N decided that a cup of tea and a snack was in order. There, sitting temptingly in the cupboard were the final few cookies of the batch. We tried to resist, we really did, but what is more tempting than a midnight snack of tea and cookies.

N, trying to be at least slightly good (I had written that off altogether) reached into the fruit bowl and plucked out a banana. We were both already giggling as we burst into song;
"have a banana!" He offered me a bite, (knowing I wouldn't want one, but being chivalrous all the same) and as I shook my head he held out the box with the cookies in and instead said "have a ba-cookie!" We both fell about laughing and it has, of course, already become something of an in-joke.

There is no way I will be able to make any form of cookie now without it being a "ba-cookie." Oh dear.

And so, without further ado, here is the recipe for fig and white chocolate "ba-cookies"

Makes between 10 and 20 depending on how big you want them.

1.1 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
50 g white chocolate, finely chopped
50 g dried figs, chopped
112 g butter, at room temperature
1/3c sugar
1/3c brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract

Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add the chocolate and the figs, and mix well.

Beat butter with both types of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well. Add the vanilla.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients, and mix carefully. Cool the finished batter for at least two hours. If it's not cold enough, the finished cookies won't be as soft.

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Roll walnut-sized balls and place with plenty of room in between on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes.

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