Thursday, August 7, 2008

From the larder...

We will soon be moving house and I'm finding that packing up can be a great inspiration for cooking, as well as a good chance to rationalise kitchen equipment. As I go through cupboards, I'm revealing all sorts of pots, pans, dishes and platters, some of which have been pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten about. Who knew I had so many white platters? Most of them have been gifts but do I really need so many? I'm also finding bowls of varying sizes and casserole dishes and hope that more of these can be put to good use once I have decent storage space in our new home.

It's also a good chance to go through the pantry and refresh stocks of spices and other baking items, and use up half-used jars and bags. I discovered half-empty packets of walnuts and chocolate chips in the pantry this week and they provided the inspiration to make some chocolate espresso biscuits, the perfect dense, fudgy snack to have in the house when you feel like a chocolate treat. I used what I had on hand and what I felt like eating so feel free to play around with this recipe and omit the coffee and walnuts, or substitute other nuts, so that the biscuits suit your tastes.


250 butter, softened
1 Tb instant coffee powder, dissolved in 2 Tb boiling water
1 cup (tightly packed) brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa, preferably Dutch-process
250g chocolate chips
100g walnuts, chopped roughly

Beat the butter until as white as possible. Add the coffee mixture, then mix in the brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa and add to the butter mixture. Stir through the choc chips and walnuts. Roll dessertspoonfuls of mixture together and place onto baking paper-lined trays, flattening slightly with a fork. Bake at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes. You want the biscuits to still be a little soft and fudgy, as they will firm up while cooling. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 36.

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