15 October 2013

'Duffins' and White Chocolate & Cranberry 'Cupies'

It seems that the world of crossbreed baking has been interrogated in the last few days over a duffin. A duffin being donut-muffin obviously... There are also 4 other hybrids bakes that are worth scrubbing up on in this Guardian post. Is this contamination of the world's favourite recipes a step too far? I don't understand why we are fussing about the fad.

The article quotes that the author's grandad would have 'wept in shame'. Why exactly he would weep about such a thing, I am not clear. Why duffins and their trusty cousins (think crookies, brooksters and townies) are getting negative press dumbfounds me. After all new recipes are always based on what we know to taste good, combined with something fresh. Why shouldn't we combine two well know treats, or three for that matter? Rosie aka The Londoner posted her Slutty Brownies in June 2011 and they are now nothing short of legendary. In the last fortnight I've had two separate conversations about Slutty Brownies - one with a data analyst and one with a lawyer -  the latter who actually made a batch for his leaving do (and in case you're interested they were both male and neither read about slutty brownies on The Londoner). When Rosie organised a bake sale to raise funds for charity, the crumbs on everyone's lips were Slutty Brownies. Over two years later and there are over 13,000 #sluttybrownies instagram photos and ten times the number when searching #cronut.

I think part of the appeal of Slutty Brownies, like many 'recipe crosses' is that the original recipe is made with Betty Crocker packet mixes so anyone can become an experimental chef. Having made them several times from scratch an a couple of times with packet mixes, I can tell you that they are both equally delicious. When creating a hybrid bake you take a baby jump away from following a packet recipe straight. 

Another friend went to bake at her boyfriends house the other day, but gave up baking from scratch as it would be so expensive to invest in the baking store cupboard essentials (think baking powder, vanilla essence etc.) For students or young professionals or those who are infrequent bakers, the possibility of making something a little more creative without buying all the store cupboard 'baking essentials' is simple but delightful pleasure.

Similarly, buying canned croissants, ready prepared pastry or tart bases and combining with cookie dough, oreos, sprinkles and jelly babies means we can all do something wildly different, without just chucking raw ingredients in a bowl and risking that your cake is a crater or your brownie is a rock. It's about dipping a toe in to the baking mania and trying out with your very own idea and having that net to catch you. How bad can two great things taste together? And HEY the sandwich was created by putting two great things together and we definitely came out with a long-lasting revolutionary food champion, so what on earth is wrong with a crookie or a macarookie? On that note I best go trademark that quickly before Starbucks hear about it...

White Chocolate & Cranberry 'Cupies'

By a stoke of luck this recipe hadn't quite mad it live online yet and seeing as it's very in keeping with the topic above I've neatly piggy-backed it to the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

I enlisted the help of my friend Mollie as this is a recipe for the advanced baker (I'm joking - it's easy as pie, which ironically isn't very easy). Mollie is the musical type and her blog is well worth a visit, particularly to drool at her pictures of Thailand.

Cookies are the easiest possible recipe you could make - you don't need to worry about creaming anything to make it airy (although I do out of habit), or keeping the oven door shut so they don't sink. Perfect for mindless comfort eating. I can hear my arteries scorning me for such blase eating habits, but sometimes eating like a zombie eases the pain and it's worth it.

Now there aren't many parts to this recipe that are going to trip you up and it's pretty flawless, although I need to share our Molly+Beanie twist...

In Nigella's 'Kitchen' book (get it from your local library - it's fab) she has included a recipe for brownie bowls. They require a special mould, but are an ingenious idea for a dinner party, particularly where you may have fussy guests who don't like nuts, or fruit... or one of the attendees has recently had their heartbroken. Posh nosh comfort food. Nigella's idea is that you have these little brownie cups which you then add ice cream and topping to. We replicated the idea and spooned our cookies in to a silicon cupcake mould. You just need a layer all round the mould with a big dip in the middle, as it rises inwards, so you want it to be a thin layer to keep that indent - say the thickness of a placemat? See the picture below for more help. 

The result is a cookie cupcake/cupie with a perfect dip to hold a ball of your favourite ice cream, or a pool of cream if you're that way inclined.

This idea works for all your favourite cookie recipes. Hurrah!
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