Rainbow Choc Chip Cookies



These cookies are soft & chewy & will brighten the day & delight all with their deliciousness.

Prep: 30 mins Chill: 10 mins Cook: 20 mins 

Makes 20 cookies 




200g packet dark or milk choc chips 

125g butter, chopped, set aside & softened slightly at room temperature

 ½ cup (110g) caster sugar 

¼ cup (55g) firmly packed light brown sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 egg, lightly beaten 

½ teaspoon sea salt 

½ teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda 

1 ½ cups (225g) plain flour 

Red, orange, yellow, bright green, sky blue & violet or bright purple/violet food colours** (if you can’t get orange you can mix some of the red & yellow if you can’t get purple or violet you can mix a little of the red & blue) 

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Measure out 2 tablespoons choc chips & set aside. Place remaining choc chips in another bowl. 

2. Fit the paddle attachment to an electric stand mixer (or standard mixing beaters to your electric hand mixer). Add butter, caster sugar & brown sugar to the bowl. Mix at low speed until just combined then increase to medium speed & mix for 2 minutes until light & fluffy. 

3. Add egg, vanilla, salt, & bicarbonate soda. Mix for 10 seconds on low speed until just combined then mix on medium speed for a further 1 minute until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 

4. Add in half the flour. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add remaining flour & mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Add the larger portion of choc chips. Mix on low speed until just combined (or if using a hand-held mixer mix the choc chips in with a wooden spoon, by hand). 

5. Divide dough into 6 equal portions & place into individual bowls. Add 2-4 drops** of the red food colouring to one dough portion. Mix well with a spoon until evenly combined & dough is fully coloured (or mix with your hands though if you don’t want rainbow hands suggest wearing disposable gloves!). Repeat with orange, yellow, green, blue & violet purple food colours & remaining dough portions. 

6. On a clean chopping board roll each the red coloured dough portion into approximately a 30-35cm long log. Place onto large piece of non-stick baking paper that is approximately 50cm wide onto the bench. Repeat with the orange, yellow, green, blue & violet dough portions placing each coloured log next to each other on top of the non-stick baking paper. Wrap up the baking paper tightly, around the dough pressing the doughs together forming a large log. Place onto a chopping board & refrigerate for at least 10 minutes until just firm. 

7. Carefully remove the baking paper. Cut approx. a ½ -1 cm slice from the dough log. Form into a round (if not then place onto prepared baking trays. Repeat with remaining dough placing the cookies at least 4 cm apart (as they will spread during baking) Slightly flatten. Top with reserved choc chips, pressing slightly into the dough.

8. Bake, in batches, for 10 minutes or until the edges are just firm. (If you want a crisper cookie bake for a further 2-3 minutes). Remove from oven & cool cookies on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 Sonja's Spectacular Speculaas Brownies

    400g dark chocolate, chopped (for a super indulgent dark brownie use 70% cocoa)

150g salted butter, chopped

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup caster sugar

3 eggs

½ cup (125mL) milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour, sifted

½ cup milk choc bits

½ cup Speculaas cookie butter (I used Lotus Biscoff  - the crunchy version😋 )

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 3cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) lamington pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
  2. Place dark chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and combined. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar and caster sugar. Set aside & cool for 5 -10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl whisk eggs with the milk and vanilla. . Add to cooled chocolate mixture, stir until combined. Fold in flour and choc chips. Pour mixture into prepared pan. 
  4. Place the Speculaas cookie butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 secs on HIGH or until soft and smooth. Drizzle the cookie butter over the brownie mixture. Use a butter knife to lightly swirl it into the brownie.
  5.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is firm to touch but still a little fudgy in the centre. Set aside to cool completely in the pan. Transfer to a board & cut into squares. 

Tasty Twists:

  • Swap Speculaas butter for peanut butter or your favourite nut butter.
  • For a salty twist add 1/2 cup foughly chopped salted mini pretzels with the choc chips.

Long time no post - time to resurrect the deliciousness with my Triple Chocolate & Pistachio Brownies

                                

It's been a loooong time between posts as I've been more of an Instagram blogger of late.

However my followers are always asking for my recipes of the dishes I've cooked up & posted and yet its not so easy to type them up in Instagram ....so thought it was time to resurrect my blog.

So now everyone can easily access my creations 😊

I've also noted  things have changed  since I last posted, our lives are super busy and we want to just get to the recipe

So you can get to the deliciousness quickly I vow to:

  • keep my blogs short.
  • my explanations & insights simple.
  • will only post detailed step images if they are really required to explain a method visually.


For my return debut to the blogosphere here's my recipe for my absolutely moreish Triple Chocolate Pistachio Brownies.  Diet starts tomorrow!

Sonja's Triple Chocolate & Pistachio Brownies

      150g salted butter, chopped

360g dark chocolate, chopped (for a super indulgent dark brownie use 70% Lindt!)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup caster sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup milk

1 cup plain flour, sifted

¼ cup milk choc bits

¼ cup white choc bits

½ cup unsalted pistachios kernels, roughly chopped 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 3cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) lamington pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
  2. Place butter and dark chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and combined. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar and caster sugar. Cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Lightly beat eggs with a fork in a bowl. Add vanilla and milk. Stir until combined. Add to cooled chocolate mixture, stir until combined. Fold in flour,  choc chips and pistachios. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Level top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is firm to touch. Cool in pan. Transfer to a board & cut into squares. 

Tasty Twists:

  • Swap pistachios for toasted unsalted macadamias, pecans, walnuts or almonds or do a mix of half nuts and half dried cranberries or dried raisins.
  • For a salty twist add some chopped pretzels instead of the nuts.
  • For a Mexican spiced brownie add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground chilli powder in with the flour.
  • For a chai spiced brownie add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cloves in with the flour.
  • For a Christmas brownie add 1 teaspoon mixed spice in with the flour. And add in 1/4 cup dried cranberries in with the pistachios.

Choc Chip, Pecan and Pretzel Cookies

It's been a long time since I had my own housewarming....however have been to many of my friends and neighbours celebrations.

What do you take to a housewarming... something to decorate the house or something for the kitchen, the pantry, the wine rack or cocktail cabinet?

What I like to do is to give them one of my delicious delights with the accompanying recipe of course!

One of the most popular is my Choc Chip, Pecan and Pretzel cookies....they never fail to please.   Hope you enjoy them too.


 

Choc Chip, Pecan and Pretzel Cookies 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Makes 36

2 ¼ cups (340g) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
250g unsalted butter, softened (if you only have salted butter reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon)
2/3 cup (140g) caster sugar
2/3 cup (140g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
250g packet dark choc chips
1 cup (125g) pecan halves, roughly chopped
36 mini pretzels
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160° C fan-forced). Line large baking trays with non-stick baking paper
  2.  Sift flour, bicarbonate soda and salt in a bowl.
  3.   Using an electric mixer beat butter in a bowl on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Add caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time, beating after each addition until combined.
  4. On low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in choc chips and nuts.
  5.  Place heaped tablespoons of cookie dough, approximately 4cm apart, onto prepared trays, press down slightly. Carefully press pretzel into cookie. Bake, in batches, for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, swapping trays halfway. Allow to cool on trays for 10 minutes. Using a spatula transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
]
Tasty Twists:
  • Use milk or white choc chips instead of dark.
  • Swap pecan halves for chopped roasted macadamia nuts or even cornflakes or rice bubbles.
  • Substitute half the butter for peanut butter. Reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon and reduce the sugars to only 1/2 cup each.
  • Make these into 'Choc Chip, Pecan & Oat Cookie Bars'.  Lightly grease and line a 38 x 25cm slice (jelly roll) pan with non-stick baking paper. Omit the pretzels. Reduce choc chips to 1 cup. Add 1 cup oats with the choc chips and nuts. Prepare the cookie dough as above up to end step 4. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, level top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Transfer to a chopping board then cut into bars. 

This was my post for this month's #LetsLunch, a monthly Twitter based food blogger's virtual lunch club. If you'd like to join the LetsLunch group, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #LetsLunch or post a comment below!

 For more housewarming favourites from the #letslunch blogger crew click on the links below. I'll continue to update them as they come in.


Lisa from Monday Morning Cooking Club  Chargrilled Asparagus with Tomato, Avocado & Hazelnut Salsa

Betty from Asian in America Mango, Rum Bread Pudding

Pat from the Asian Grandmothers Cookbook  Slice and Bake Matcha Cookies

Grace from  Happa Mamma Kitchen Reno  (I'm very jealous! )

Margaret from Tea and Scones Pizza Bianca

Linda  from Spice Box Travels  Fesenjan

slow cooked lamb ragu with lemon, oregano & feta gremolata

This month’s #letslunch theme of your favourite stew was both easy and hard.

Easy...because selecting my favourite stew was a no brainer...my slow cooked lamb ragu. It’s my go-to dish when I want something heartwarming and comforting, full of flavour and the lamb just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Perfect tossed through some freshly cooked pappardelle or served with quinoa, rice or barley.  It’s my base recipe that I easily create into new dishes.

Why was it hard? 

Well its summer over here in Sydney and it can get over 35C at my place and as I don't have air conditioning cooking with gas kicks up the heat to well over 40C.... turning my kitchen and lounge room into a sauna.....but hey I've got to stick with it ....aah what we do for the love of eating and writing about food!.

So if it's winter at your place.....this is perfect....but if your 'melting' like me....save it for a few months time!

slow cooked lamb ragu with lemon, oregano & feta gremolata

Serves 8
Prep 20 min
Cook 3 hrs 50 min
2kg lamb shoulder (with the lamb shank included....if you're not confident with a knife get your butcher to remove this for you.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
500ml organic beef stock
2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes 
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup kalamatta olives
1 1/2 cups quinoa

lemon, oregano & feta gremolata
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
100g sheep milk feta, crumbled


  • Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan forced). 
  • Using a sharp knife carefully cut the lamb shank from the shoulder.
  •  Heat oil in a large flameproof cast iron casserole dish over medium high heat.  Cook lamb shoulder and shank for 2-3 minutes each side until well browned. Remove and set aside. 
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrot and capsicum to pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes.Stir in stock to deglaze the pan, getting all those yummy bits from the base of the pan. 
  • Return lamb shoulder and shank. Add cherry tomatoes, oregano and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling simmer. Cover the surface with baking paper then cover with lid. Cook in preheated oven for 3 hours or until lamb is tender and almost falling off the bone. 
  • Remove baking paper and discard. Stir through olives. Return to oven. Cook, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes.   
  • Place quinoa into a saucepan. Add 3 cups water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Set aside for 5 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile make gremolata by placing parsley and garlic into food processor . Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, stir through lemon zest, and olive oil and feta.  
  • Remove casserole from oven and skim off excess fat.  Carefully transfer lamb from pan onto a large chopping board. Using 2 forks, roughly shred lamb, discarding bones and any fat.  Return lamb back to pan, stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle with gremolata and serve with quinoa. 


Here's my little twists (of course omit the gremolata!)

French style
Use 2 carrots and 1 stick celery. Omit  capsicum and use whole peeled eschallots instead of onion. Add 200g small whole (halved if large) Swiss brown mushrooms. Omit oregano and add 2 bay leaves and some fresh thyme sprigs with the rosemary. Omit beef stock and use 1 cup chicken stock  and add 1 cup white wine.   Instead of gremolata make a lemon persillade by Increase parsley to 1 1/4 cups, omitting oregano and feta and use 2 cloves garlic.Serve with paris mash (aka mashed potatoes made with cream and lots of butter!)

Hearty Irish
Increase to 2 carrots and add 1 large celery stalk, chopped. Omit cherry tomatoes and use 1 litre chicken stock instead of beef stock and add 1/2 cup pearl barley.  Omit olives  and add chopped desiree (red) potatoes in the last 40 minutes.  Stir in some chopped spinach leaves, just before serving.

Moroccan adventure
Add 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 cinnamon stick and good pinch saffron.   Ad some chopped preserved lemon, 1 cup Turkish dried apricots or prunes or pitted dates in with some green olives (instead of the kalamatta) and just garnish with coriander (cilantro) and serve with some greek yoghurt and couscous.

Mexican spiced
Omit the fresh herbs. Add 2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon sweet paprika in with the onion. Instead of cherry tomatoes use 1 x 700ml bottle tomato passata and add 2 roughly chopped chipotle chillies in adobo sauce and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce. Add 1 teaspoon dried oregano in with the tomatoes. Instead of olives add a can drained rinsed kidney beans . Garnish with coriander ( cilantro) and  freshly cooked corn kernels. Serve with sour cream, lime wedges and rice or chargrilled tortillas.

Brazilian feijoada
Omit the capsicum. Add 2 chopped long green chillies, 2 chopped chorizo sausages and 100g chopped speck with the onions.  Instead of cherry tomatoes use 1 x 700ml bottle of tomato passata. Omit rosemary and oregano and add 2 bay leaves and half bunch chopped coriander (cilantro). Omit the olives and add a can drained, rinsed black beans. Finish with some fresh lime juice and garnish with segmented oranges and extra coriander leaves (cilantro). 

This was my post for this month's #LetsLunch, a monthly Twitter based food blogger's virtual lunch club. If you'd like to join the LetsLunch group, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #LetsLunch or post a comment below!

 For more slow cooked recipe favourites from the #letslunch blogger crew click on the links below. I'll continue to update them as they come in.

Cheryl’s Sayur Lodeh (Malay Vegetable Stew) at Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Betty-Ann‘s Salmon Sinigang (Tamarind Stew with Vegetables) at Asian in America
Demetra‘s Coconut-Shrimp Soup at Sweet Savant
Linda‘s Chinese Soy-Braised Pork & Peanut Stew at Spicebox Travels
Lisa‘s Chicken & Fennel Casserole at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Margaret‘s Beef & Venison Stew at Tea and Scones
Mel‘s Lamb & Harissa Stew at The Cook’s Notebook
Rashda‘s Morocco-inspired Meatball Stew at Hot Curries & Cold Beer