Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These chocolate chip cookies use ground pecans and coconut in the flour mixture and the darkest chocolate to give them a deep, sophisticated taste.  This is a cookie for the adults, no kids allowed. Unless they've been really good...

These chocolate chip cookies use ground pecans and coconut in the flour mixture and the darkest chocolate to give them a deep, sophisticated taste, this is a cookie for the adults. No kids allowed. Unless they've been really good...

I wonder how many chocolate chip cookie recipes I can possibly fit on this blog?  The funny thing is, I'm not anywhere near done yet.  As long as different variations on this ultimate classic exist, I'll keep baking 'em.  It's hard work, but someone has to do it.

These chocolate chip cookies use ground pecans and coconut in the flour mixture and the darkest chocolate to give them a deep, sophisticated taste, this is a cookie for the adults. No kids allowed. Unless they've been really good...

I'm definitely team nut (and team raisin, I'll fight anyone who disagrees) when it comes to cookies, I'll always choose a pecan studded number over a plain chocolate chip.  Nuts add a wonderful texture to a cookie, or muffin, or any sweet treat if you ask me.  It works out perfectly in my house as Kris is an avid nut (and raisin) hater, so I know that if I want a treat and not have to worry about it vanishing, I can always whip up a big batch of these pecan chocolate chip cookies.

These chocolate chip cookies use ground pecans and coconut in the flour mixture and the darkest chocolate to give them a deep, sophisticated taste, this is a cookie for the adults. No kids allowed. Unless they've been really good...

At least that's what I thought. I made a batch of these cookies, smugly knowing they were just for me, when I noticed Kris loitering around the kitchen. He was a little too interested in what was going on for my liking. 'They're full of nuts, you won't like them!' I shouted, brandishing a wooden spoon protectively.  He simply shrugged and popped a full cookie in his mouth.  Over the next few days I'd say he ate around 80% of the batch, I still haven't decided whether it was a failure or a success.  I'd failed in making something just for me but succeeded in making something so delicious that even a nut hater would renounce his stance and devour the lot.  

Nope, I'm still thinking....

These chocolate chip cookies use ground pecans and coconut in the flour mixture and the darkest chocolate to give them a deep, sophisticated taste, this is a cookie for the adults. No kids allowed. Unless they've been really good...

So, are you a fan of nuts in cookies, and more importantly, will you be giving these babies a go to test your alliance?   Give them a go; you never know, they might change your mind.

These chocolate chip cookies use ground pecans and coconut in the flour mixture and the darkest chocolate to give them a deep, sophisticated taste, this is a cookie for the adults. No kids allowed. Unless they've been really good...



Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients:
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 150g pecans
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 80g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 large, free range egg
  • 2tbsp black treacle
  • 200g best quality dark chocolate, chopped
Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line two cookie sheets with baking parchment. Spread the coconut and pecans onto each of the lined cookie sheets and bake for 8 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Allow to cool.
  2. Take 50g of the toasted pecan nuts and transfer them to a food processor and pulse until they form fine crumbs. Chop the remaining pecans roughly and set aside.
  3. Stir the toasted coconut, pecan crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer mix together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Beat in the egg followed by the black treacle then dump the flour mixture in and mix slowly until just combined. Stir through the chocolate and chopped pecans then cover the bowl with cling film and rest in the fridge for 1 hour or up to overnight.
  4. When you're ready to bake the cookies scoop out heaped tablespoons of the dough and place on the prepared baking sheets from toasting the nuts, giving the cookies a little room to spread. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, allow to cool slightly on the baking tray before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
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Black Bottomed Oatmeal Pie

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Often referred to as poor mans pecan pie this black bottomed oatmeal pie is a bit easier on the pockets that it's nutty sibling.  A layer of chocolate ganache topped with a syrupy oatmeal filling sitting in a buttery crust makes this a truly rich and decadent dessert. There's nothing poor about this pie.

Often referred to as poor mans pecan pie this black bottomed oatmeal pie is a bit easier on the pockets that it's nutty sibling.  A layer of chocolate ganache topped with a syrupy oatmeal filling sitting in a buttery crust makes this a truly rich and decadent dessert. There's nothing poor about this pie.

This is my second recipe from the The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book and man alive do those girls know their pies. Like a cross between a pecan pie and a giant chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, this pie ticks all of my boxes. It's gooey, it's rich and it's absolutely banging with a big old scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Or as the Americans say, a la mode. 

Making a pie crust puts me smack bang in the middle of my happy place. It's such a therapeutic, methodic process.  Everything has to be handled just so, with the lightest of hands and the coldest of ingredients. I love the exactness. I see so many recipes championing store bought pastry but I never seem to have a good experience, it always shrinks and never tastes as good as from scratch. While it might seem like a lot of work to make your own, I really recommend you give it a go. Throw on some music or delve into a true crime podcast and just lose yourself in the process. If you really want top swot marks, double the ingredients and freeze half of the dough for future pie making endeavours. 

Often referred to as poor mans pecan pie this black bottomed oatmeal pie is a bit easier on the pockets that it's nutty sibling.  A layer of chocolate ganache topped with a syrupy oatmeal filling sitting in a buttery crust makes this a truly rich and decadent dessert. There's nothing poor about this pie.

There's always one thing that puts me off making a traditional pecan pie, that's right, the price. A big pack of pecan nuts can set you back close to a tenner, that's all well and good for a special occasion, but when you just fancy a dessert without the hefty price tag, this black bottomed oatmeal pie has you covered. I mean, a bag of oats is like 75p, that's a bit easier on the purse if you ask me.

Often referred to as poor mans pecan pie this black bottomed oatmeal pie is a bit easier on the pockets that it's nutty sibling.  A layer of chocolate ganache topped with a syrupy oatmeal filling sitting in a buttery crust makes this a truly rich and decadent dessert. There's nothing poor about this pie.


Black Bottomed Oatmeal Pie


Ingredients:
  • For the Pie Crust :
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 225g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 75-100ml ice water

  • For the Filling: 
  • 150g rolled oats
  • 60ml double cream
  • 200g good quality plain chocolate, chopped
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted
  • 300g golden syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 large, free range eggs
Cooking Directions:
  1. First of all, make your pie crust. Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.

  2. Drop the diced butter into the flour and work in in with your fingers, using a rubbing motion. You're looking for pea sized chunks of butter scattered throughout the flour.

  3. Using a fork or your fingers, drizzle in the ice water a little at a time. When the dough starts to come together, squeeze it into a ball. If it looks too dry or pieces crumble off add a little more water and try again.

  4. Gather the dough into a ball, and divide it in half. Gently pat each half into a rough disk. This recipe makes double the amount you need here so wrap one half in clingfilm and stash in the freezer for next time you make a pie. Roll the remaining half out into a circle big enough to fit your pie tin, crimp the edges then place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 175°C and remove your pie crust from the fridge. Using a large square of baking paper crumple it up and open it out. Place the paper in the hollow of your pie and fill with baking beans (or dried beans). Baking in the oven for 20 minutes then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool fully before carrying on with the rest of the recipe.

  6. Spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.

  7. To make the ganache layer, using a in a heavy-bottomed saucepan bring the double cream just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and dump in the chocolate pieces. Swirl the cream around to distribute and cover the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir gently until the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Scrape the ganache into the cooled pie shell and spread evenly over the bottom. Place the shell in the freezer to set the ganache while making the filling.

  8. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Add the golden syrup, vanilla, and cider vinegar and whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Stir in the cooled oats.

  9. Place the ganache-coated pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling. Bake on the middle of the oven for about 55 minutes. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the centre is slightly firm to the touch but still has some give. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with lashings of cream.
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The Afternoon Tea Files: Jesmond Dene House

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Afternoon Tea is one of the greatest pleasures in life. There isn't anything better than settling yourself down in a beautiful location only to know you're going to be spending a good few hours chatting, nibbling and relaxing. It's the perfect way to spend a rainy day (or sunny day, or any day really), which is exactly what we did recently at Jesmond Dene House.

 Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

I've been to Jesmond Dene House for afternoon tea a number of times but have never featured it on my blog, I've always been too busy chattering on and drinking champagne to even think about breaking the spell and picking my camera up.  So, when JDH contacted me and asked me to review their new Easter themed Afternoon Tea I was thrilled. Armed with my camera and trusty sidekick, Kris we jumped in the car and off to Jesmond we went.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

I couldn't believe my eyes when our waiter placed the cake stand in front of us. The cakes were some of the most beautiful I've ever seen, delicate yet vibrant I couldn't wait to dig in.  Priced at £25pp I honestly think you'd struggle to find such quality patisserie at this price point, they've really pulled something special out of the bag here.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

We, of course, started off with the savoury tier. This consisted of a cheese savoury and a ham, wholegrain mustard and tomato sandwich each. We were then delighted to discover a few cheeky characters lurking amongst the sandwiches, a cheese and butternut squash quiche and a bloody sausage roll! Any afternoon tea that features a sausage roll has instantly won me over. I mean, you can take the lass out of Newcastle and all that... 

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Shimmying up a tier, it was scone time. A cheese scone which I slathered in butter, standard. I have to admit, it was pretty damn delicious, once of the best I've tasted. Next was a plain scone served with clotted cream and a choice of raspberry or strawberry jam (cream then jam, I'll fight anyone that says otherwise) then another festive addition, a fresh baked hot crossed bun. Hawt damn, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. May I add, the little nuggets of sugar on top were a revelation. Can all hot crossed buns have these in future? I'll start a campaign.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

And now the part we've all been waiting for. The pièce de résistance, the cake tier *angelic music plays*. Ahh man, I can't even to begin to describe how delicious these little babes were.  I was faced with a dilemma, I knew I could only manage two at best relegating the other two to a box for later that evening. In the end I chose to eat the lime and raspberry macaron and the coconut and mango posset while saving the rhubarb crumble tart and chocolate mousse sable for when I got home and changed into my stretchy pants.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Sadly it just started raining again as we left, scuppering any plans I had of rambling through the beautiful dene but trust me when I say, it's an incredible place for an afternoon stroll. 

As always, Jesmond Dene House have knocked it out of the park, I've never had anything less than a wonderful experience whenever I've dined with them and this was no exception.  In the infamous words of Arnie, I'll be back.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Jesmond Dene House
Jesmond Dene Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE2 2EY
(0191) 212 3000
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Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

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Moist, zingy and bright. This grapefruit olive oil cake is a delicious slice of sunshine on a plate.  Dip any left over candied grapefruit slices in chocolate for a delicious snack.


This cake is so moist and zingy it will last you up to a week, if you can leave it alone that long.

Can you believe it's finally Spring here in the UK. Although you can be forgiven for doubting it; it's still too cold to venture outside without a scarf and there's more snow warnings on the horizon, but it's gotta be over soon. Right?!  Even a staunch Winter lover like me is so over the chill, I'm ready for denim jackets, floaty dresses and dare I say, ditching the tights for bare legs. Oh me, oh my!


This cake is so moist and zingy it will last you up to a week, if you can leave it alone that long.





Growing up in my house, grapefruit was always considered a breakfast food. I used to love sitting down to half a grapefruit, sprinkled liberally with sugar. I even had a dedicated, serrated grapefruit spoon. I was a cool kid, what can I say. This means, in my eyes, grapefruit olive oil cake is perfectly acceptable as a breakfast food.  Cake for breakfast guys, I found a loophole!

This cake is so moist and zingy it will last you up to a week, if you can leave it alone that long.


Since the weather is refusing to play ball I thought I'd create a little slice of sunshine right here in my kitchen.  It's hard to be sad when you're oven is pumping out the warm, citrus scents of this grapefruit olive oil cake.  Plus you get to feel like a real life Willy Wonker candying up some grapefruit slices, just make sure you're careful and don't let any kids in the kitchen, sugar gets real hot y'all.

This cake is so moist and zingy it will last you up to a week, if you can leave it alone that long.

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake


Ingredients:
  • For the Candied Grapefruit :
  • 1 small grapefruit, sliced into rounds
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150ml water

  • For the Cake:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 175ml olive oil
  • 55g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 grapefruit, zested and juiced
  • 4 large, free range eggs
  • 250ml soured cream

  • For the Glaze:
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 2-3tbsp of the grapefruit juice from above
Cooking Directions:
  1. First make your candied grapefruit. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a handful of ice cubes and set aside. Fill a large saucepan 3/4 with water and bring to the boil. Once at a rolling boil lower in the grapefruit slices and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the slices to the ice water to cool down.

  2. In the same (empty) pan add the 150ml water and sugar and bring to a simmer, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the boiled grapefruit slices into the sugar water and simmer for 1 hour. Place each slice on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and allow to cool completely.

  3. Preheat the oven to 175C and grease and line a loaf tin.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar and grapefruit zest, mix until fragrant. While the motor is still running on the lowest speed add in the melted butter, olive oil, eggs and soured cream. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix until combined.

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin before removing to a wire rack with a sheet of baking paper underneath.

  6. To make the glaze combine the icing sugar with the grapefruit juice in a large bowl. Add the juice a little at a time until you get a thick, pourable consistency. If it's too thick, add a little more juice. If it's too thin, add a little more icing sugar.

  7. Pour the glaze over the cake, allow to set for 10 minutes then decorate with the candied grapefruit slices.
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Blue Cheese and Chilli Stuffed Chicken Thighs

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These blue cheese and chilli stuffed chicken thighs are the ultimate weekend lunch dish. This one pan recipe is super simple to throw together without scrimping on taste.  Serve with some roasted new potatoes for a decadent treat.

These blue cheese and chilli stuffed chicken thighs are the ultimate weekend lunch dish. This one pan recipe is super simple to throw together without scrimping on taste.  Serve with some roasted new potatoes for a decadent treat.

Aren't one pan meals the best! You just throw everything in a pan, shove it in the oven and hey presto, you've got yourself a meal. OK, I'm over simplifying here, this recipe does involve a little bit of hands on action but it's so quick you'd hardly even notice you're doing it. Just pop on some music and enjoy stuffing those thighs. Singing at the top of your lungs is a bonus for you, and your neighbours. 

These blue cheese and chilli stuffed chicken thighs are the ultimate weekend lunch dish. This one pan recipe is super simple to throw together without scrimping on taste.  Serve with some roasted new potatoes for a decadent treat.

These blue cheese and chilli stuffed chicken thighs are the ultimate weekend lunch dish. This one pan recipe is super simple to throw together without scrimping on taste.  Serve with some roasted new potatoes for a decadent treat.

I love to serve this dish with roasted new potatoes but it would be equally delicious alongside a crisp green salad. Just make sure you save those cooking juices for drizzling, that's some good flavour right there. 

These blue cheese and chilli stuffed chicken thighs are the ultimate weekend lunch dish. This one pan recipe is super simple to throw together without scrimping on taste.  Serve with some roasted new potatoes for a decadent treat.

Blue Cheese and Chilli Stuffed Chicken Thighs


Ingredients:
  • 150g mascarpone
  • 50g soft blue cheese
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 4 free range, skin on chicken thighs
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 150g tenderstem broccoli
Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. In a large bowl mash the mascarpone, blue cheese, chilli, garlic and thyme together with a fork. Season and set aside.
  2. Using your fingers, very gently separate the chicken skin from the meat then fill these little pockets with a heaping tablespoon of the cheesy stuffing. Press it into all the nooks and crannies before filling the remaining thighs. Place the stuffed thighs into a small baking dish, skin side up and pour in the wine. Drizzle the thighs with the olive oil and give them a little rub. Season the top of the chicken and roast for 30 minutes then place the tenderstem broccoli around the thighs before roasting for a further 20 minutes until the skins are crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Serve with roasted new potatoes or a crisp, green salad and drizzled with the cooking juices.
(adapted from Delicious Magazine)

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