August 23, 2017

We all love cookies! While cupcakes have made the headlines the last years as trendy, the simple homemade butter cookie deserves equal recognition. Not only are cookies really easy to make but they can be dressed up in countless ways for any occasion and for all ages. Children love baking, so it's always fun if you stuck at home 'bored' with nothing to do, with only a few key ingredients needed.

The difference between cookies and biscuits?

“England and America are two countries divided by a common language.” So said George Bernard Shaw (allegedly). Much has been written about American vs Oxford English, and these days the lines have got even more blurred as our world gets even smaller. So what about the subtle differences between the biscuit and the humble cookie.

In England (UK), a biscuit might be topped with chocolate or have currants in it (see our recipe below), and you might dip it in your cup of organic tea as a snack (like we do!). If you were in North America (USA), however, you might put bacon and eggs on it for breakfast. Or you might have it with chicken for dinner.

In the UK, a cookie is a kind of soft 'moist' biscuit. English cookies tend to be much bigger than a British biscuit. In America, a cookie refers to both what the English would call a biscuit, as well as a cookie. The word cookie comes from old Dutch word koekje, meaning ‘little cake,’ and could have been popularised due to early Dutch colonisation of the Americas.

So before we get perplexed, in summary: English biscuits are American cookies, and American cookies are British cookies, and an American biscuit is an English scone, and an American scone is something else entirely. Simple really!

Chateau Rouge easy butter cookies recipe made with chocolate chips

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence or fresh vanilla pod
  • 300g plain flour

Decorations and recipe variations

  • Dried cranberries
  • Choc chips
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Chopped dried apricots or any other fruit
  • Sprinkle icing sugar
  • Melted chocolate. Dip your cookie in after baking and top off with any decorations

Method

  1. Beat the butter and caster sugar till pale in colour
  2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence. Mix in the flour until a smooth 'cookie dough' consistency
  3. At this point, you can either decide to bake them plain or add: chopped nuts, cranberries or other dried fruit, or chocolate chips - experiment and have fun!
  4. Roll out your mixture onto a floured surface to about 1cm thick and cut into shapes - be creative, don't shy away from trying new shapes or sizes. TIP: If you don't have cookie cutters you can use a small glass OR you can rolling small balls and press flat with a fork on the baking tray
  5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4 and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown but still slightly soft to the touch
  6. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool

Chateau Rouge easy bake cookies recipe - dough rolled into small balls for baking

How to make 'healthy' cookies?

Having taken one look at the amount of sugar and butter you may ask, how can you really make cookies or biscuits healthy? And why on earth would you even want to! Well it is true that no cookie can ever be really very healthy, you can still make your little treat with your cup of tea or hot chocolate before bedtime a little healthier by trying these:

  • Why not replace sugar with stevia
  • Try substituting a gluten-free flour
  • Mix in a couple of tablespoons of rolled oats. This not only tastes delicious but will also add more fibre. Even try a spoon or two of bran fibre
  • Mix in dried fruit or nuts. Try: cranberries, mango, apricots and hazelnuts, pecan or walnuts
  • Decorate with carob instead of chocolate (albeit pure chocolate is packed full of antioxidants and other health benefits)
  • Use 100% Organic and GM-Free ingredients where you can, and these are available
  • Always read the labels and choose foods without additives, colourants or preservatives. And where you can support local artisan producers!
  • Lastly, share with friends. Everyone loves fresh homemade cookies, they make great little gifts and perfect a perfect excuse to invite a friend round for a cup of tea or coffee with fresh biscuits

As always enjoy, like life cookies are made with passion, enjoyed by all and before you know it they all gone. So make them while you can, share them as much as possible and always make sure you have some left in the jar for that rainy afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee...

P.S. Have you tried our quick & easy scones recipe for afternoon tea (much healthier than cupcakes)? Or are you looking for some inspiration for a children's afternoon tea party?


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