In Wellington today it has been wet nearly all day, a sort of constant heavy drizzle with bursts of heavier rain. At least here we have escaped the end of ex-cyclone Pam (now downgraded to a tropical storm). More than 100 people have been evacuated north of Gisborne, and the Chatham Islands, 750km to east of the South Island, have declared a state of emergency. Vanuatu is apparently flattened, with even buildings which were supposed to be storm proof, being affected in some way. The death toll has yet to be confirmed, with some of the more remote islands still not fully accounted for.
It seems a bit flippant to switch the topic to chocolate and baking, but sitting here watching the grey skies and rain, thoughts turn to cosy times on the sofa with a cup of tea and possibly a biscuit (or two). This week’s biscuit was that classic, the chocolate chip cookie.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease oven trays, and line with baking paper. Beat together 125g softened butte, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 75 g caster sugar, 75g soft brown sugar and 1 egg with an electric mixer. Be careful not to over beat. Sift in 150g plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, followed by 150g chocolate chips or niblets. Drop level tablespoons of the mixture onto trays about 5cm. Bake for about 15 minutes and cool the cookies on the trays. This makes a nice soft cookie.
Still on chocolate, our local (and excellent) makers of peanut butter, Fix and Fogg, launched another butter into their repertoire last week. It’s a dark chocolate peanut butter, made with single origin Ghanaian chocolate and blended with their Super Crunchy peanut butter.
It is extremely rich, and not something to slather on toast, at least for my tastes, though I can imagine some people eating it off a spoon! I tried a tiny little bit on a croissant for an indulgent Sunday breakfast treat.