A couple of weekends ago I read Shane Watson’s article in The Sunday Times Style Magazine on the demise of homemade ‘recession-conscious present giving’. Apparently we should all put our glue guns away & instead present our loved ones with some truly luxurious bounty this Christmas.
I, of course, was most put out. Don’t get me wrong Shane, I would also never turn down an M&S cashmere onesie, but there is something so inherently charming about knowing someone has made such a great deal of effort to make something special for you. Whether it’s a knitted chunky grey & neon scarf for your boyfriend (Toni – I’m looking at you) or bringing some freshly baked bread when you go round to friends for lunch, I say long live the DIY present.
I therefore spent last weekend making 100 dark chocolate, cherry & ginger biscuits to distribute at the annual family Chanukah bash. I even roped in my poor husband to weigh each ball of cookie dough to make sure they were exactly 25 grams – homemade yes, but never irregular.
Makes 40 biscuits
250g butter; softened // 165g caster sugar // 165g light brown soft sugar // 1 tsp vanilla extract // 1 egg // 335g plain flour // 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda // 150g dark chocolate chips // 150g dried sour cherries // 100g flaked almonds // 2 tbsp crystallised ginger, finely diced
Start by sifting together the flour & bicarbonate of soda & set aside. Beat the butter, sugar, egg & vanilla extract with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the flour & bicarbonate of soda in a couple of batches until mixed through. Stir through the rest of the ingredients trying to make sure that they are evenly distributed through the mixture. Wrap the dough in cling-film & pop into the fridge for an hour.
Roll out balls of approx 25g & place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Make sure the cookies are around 5cm apart as they do spread quite a lot when they’re cooking. They need about 12-13 minutes at 180°. As always, I check mine half way through to make sure they aren’t burning & also turn the baking trays around so they bake evenly. Leave them to cool for 10-15min before devouring.