Monday, 9 February 2009

One hundred and seven…

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There are big ones, small ones, fat ones and thin ones. There’s Delia to Jamie, Nigella to Nigel, Rachel Allen to Darina Allen.
There is Galton Blackiston, Dorie Greenspan, Prue Leith, Sophie Grigson, Tamasin Day-Lewis, Lindsey Bareham and many more! There are books just about soups, just about Asian food, just about cupcakes, just about fish. There are old ones, new ones, my Dad’s ones, my Mum’s ones and my very own ones!
The fact is – we have a lot of cookery books! The problem is – they are not all used as often as they should be…Probably most cooks have a select few cookery books they always turn to, a few they couldn’t really live without. My family is no exception. Certain Nigella Lawson ones hold recipes brought out over and over again. Rachel Allen is one I bake from a lot – as you can probably tell from my previous bakes! You can tell which ones are used (flour on the pages, the odd page stuck together, the cover a touch scrumpled) and which ones aren’t (shiny new covers, stiff to open). It was when we moved our cookery books from dotted all over the house to their new shelves in the kitchen, that I realised just how many of the 107 (!) I had read and enjoyed from cover-to-cover (and many not even that), but not actually baked from. Well not anymore! A new resolution is to leave the well-used ones on their shelf for a bit, as I know how good they are, and work through some of the ones which I have declined. Beginning with The Chocolate and Coffee Bible.
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The Chocolate and Coffee Bible does exactly what the name suggests – gives you lots of information all about chocolate (first half) and coffee (second half) and then gives you lots of delicious recipes using either chocolate or coffee – all accompanied with scrumptious photos! It is the perfect book for curling up with and reading all the way through, which I have done many a time! Having now cooked from it, I don’t think there is any other cookbook needed for a chocolate/coffee recipe – it has just about everything in here! Bizarrely, I maybe managed to pick the least chocolatey recipe from this book – chocolate dipped shortbreads.
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Originally, these biscuits were meant to be like long Viennese biscuits which used a piping bag to pipe the biscuits out into long lines, and then you dipped them in chocolate at either end. My dough was a bit too thick to pipe, but perfect for rolling so I did that and cut them out instead. They still taste just as nice – crumbly biscuit and the rich chocolate covering. These are also very moreish!
Choc-dipped biscuits, from The Coffee and Chocolate Bible
115g/4oz soft margarine (I always use butter) 15ml/3tbsp icing sugar
150g/5oz plain flour
few drops of vanilla essence
75g/3oz plain chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F/Gas 4 and lightly grease two baking sheets.
2. Beat the margarine and icing sugar together in a bowl until very soft. Add the flour and vanilla and mix in well. (I needed a few drops of water to loosen the dough a bit)
3. Put the mixture in a large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe 10 neat lines, each 13cm long. (Or, put some icing sugar on the work surface and roll the dough out quite thinly. Cut with a cutter of your choice).
4. Bake for 15-20minutes until the biscuits are a light golden brown.
5. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Stir, then remove from the heat. Dip both ends of each biscuit in the chocolate (or half of the circle!), put on a wire rack and leave to cool and set. (I popped mine in the fridge for a while to set, but took them out when immediately when they were set because they taste better when they aren’t straight from the fridge).
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apparentlyjessy said...

Mmm they look yummy, and I agree, a lot of my cookbooks are dust collectors! I too will try a recipe soon from one that hasn't been used in years! NO MORE neglected cook books!!!

Steph said...

I'm jealous Lucy! I only have 2! Those cookies look great, I love the chocolate.

Hannah said...

A very impressive collection of cookbooks indeed! I seem to have started late in life, but all of a sudden I can feel the pull to start collecting as well... There are so many amazing foodie books out there!

Anonymous said...

A very impressive collection of books Lucy. Enjoy collecting more :)