Afghans and knitting

No – I’m not talking about lap blankets. I’m talking about delicious kiwi biscuits (cookies). I made a huge batch on Sunday and we are eating our way through them as the weather closes in. My big Canadian twist? Pecans. In NZ they are normally made with walnuts on the top, but since moving here I have switched to putting pecans on top and honestly it really makes them even better – and they were my favourite cookie before then.

My biggest beef is with the classic NZ Edmond’s cookbook where I get the recipe from. They lie. The recipe says you can get 30 afghans out of a single batch. This is not possible. I have never achieved it. I can get a max of 22 and they are teeny tiny. 18 is the correct number. I am prepared to give someone a free shawl pattern if they can explain to me how they got 30 afghans from the Edmonds cookbook!

Anyway as the world watches the US election I am ensconced on the sofa with sock heels to knit, coffee to drink and delicious afghans to deliver a sugary high as necessary. The recipe reads wrong compared to other cookies, but I promise you, this will make delicious cookies!

Recipe for making lots more than 18 below:

600g butter (21 oz) softened – yes it is alot of butter, yes you will need all of it.

1 and a half cups of sugar – most of the sugar for this cookie is in the icing

3 and 3 quarter cups of plain flour – butter is the main ingredient. There’s just enough flour to bring it together. Trust the butter!

3 quarters of a cup of Dutch press cocoa powder

6 cups of cornflakes (not frosted!) – yes you need lots of cornflakes, no they aren’t going to ruin your cookie. Don’t skimp on the cornflakes!

Chocolate Icing

Pecans

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and fold into mixture, continuing to process until the creamed butter mixture is completely merged.

Remove mixture from the kitchen aid or food processor if using and stir the cornflakes in by hand or stirring spoon until they are thoroughly mixed in. Cornflakes are going to break up and that’s fine!

Take 1-2 teaspoons of mixture and roll into a slightly flattened ball. Put each cookie on the tray about 2cm (3/4″) apart. They aren’t going to spread much so you don’t have to worry about them joining up on the tray.

put into oven and bake for 13 – 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on tray for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They harden as they cool. If you move them too quickly your afghans will fall apart.

Ice with chocolate icing

3 cups of icing sugar

2 tablespoons of Dutch pressed cocoa powder

2 tablespoons softened butter

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla or rum

Hot water

Sift Icing sugar and cocoa together and add butter, vanilla or rum. Add hot water as required to achieve a spreadable icing.

Ice cooled afghans and press a pecan nut into the top of each.

Afghan dough can be prepared, rolled in plastic wrap and frozen for later use. Afghans will last in an airtight container for about 1 week.

My family has never achieved the feat of having afghans last this long though. Be warned, they are addictive.

Yai’s Tea towels

plate of biscuits with two teatowels

Finally finished the first pass at this tea towel pattern. There’s a few adjustments to make but I’m pretty happy with the striping location and the stich. It’s all in double moss stitch which is great when finished but like many people I get tired doing moss stitch over and over and over. So some noodling. Modelling here with a delicious batch of Anzac biscuits (cookies for the North Americans among us).

Toast

Toast with Vegemite

I know – toast isn’t really cooking, but I’m addicted to it right now. A piece of toast with a cup of coffee in the french press or a lovely cup of tea. It’s heaven. I’ve been going to Kozak Eatery to get their amazing Ukrainian sourdough and I’ve been experimenting with toppings. No – not new ways with avocado and feta or tomatoes drizzled with something interesting. I have gone back to basics. Here are the results of one week of bread or toast for breakfast

  1. Bread and butter – delicious and wholesome
  2. Toast with butter and honey – OMG why don’t I eat this every day! This is amazing
  3. Toast with crunchy peanut butter – creamy goodness with a little crunch. Very filling
  4. Toast with butter and Vegemite – Divisive. I live in a mixed Vegemite/Marmite household. Each pot of dark brown yeast paste is jealously guarded. This is the perennial favourite. I will eat this regularly so it wasn’t as much of a revelation as the butter and honey toast. But…. I love my Vegemite. It is the winner of the week and I will defend the deliciousness of Vegemite to all and sundry.

Peach ice-cream

I made ice-cream from scratch yesterday. Up to now I’ve stuck with sorbets. But I made the custard and added cut up fresh peaches and it is beautiful. Looks terrible, but tastes amazing. Used rum instead of vanilla and it is really, really good!

I may never be able to go back to store-bought ice-cream. With the exception of Earnest ice-cream which is amazing and just round the road from us.

Blueberry processing

It was a mission but I think it worked out great in the end. You got your pies, your jam, your jam in progress and cake. More than one family was happy and benefited from the bounty. But it was an enormous amount of work and the kitchen looked like a bomb hit it afterwards. I’m still working on getting the pie tops on neatly and I think I need to increase the flour in the pies to make the sauce thicker after they are cooked. But the pastry is amazing!!! I don’t know why I wasn’t making pastry with shortening before. Much lighter than using butter

Blueberries & Peaches

It’s summer fruit season in BC and we have lovely friends who keep bringing us delicious mounds of fruit. I had a huge number of blueberries that turned into a massive project of jam, pies and really amazing blueberry muffin cake. The jam is particularly delicious but I need to work on getting it to set. I used a candy thermometer and added some grated lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon. My sugar/fruit ratio was 3 cups sugar to 4 cups fruit and that’s honestly pretty sweet. It set, but only just and it’s quite runny Do I have to use pecthin? The next project are amazing looking peaches for deep dish peach pies and peach cobbler.