Exciting news!

SPATULA IN MY POCKET IS MOVING TO ENGLAND!!!

Specifically…Manchester!

In just 5 days!

And I’m thrilled to finally tell you all about it today!  😄 Seriously, it has been killing me to keep this to myself all this time.  My trustees told me not to say a word till the final award letter was here, and then ‘not till you get the visa’, and THEN ‘not till you book your ticket’!

But I’m happy to say that my plan is now officially a go, and in just five days, I’ll be flying across the ocean to my new life in Manchester.  And I cannot wait to get this adventure started.

 

I’ve been dreaming to study in the UK since I was about six when I first started reading Enid Blyton books and fell in love with girl boarding schools. And then came the Great British Bake-Off and I fell in love with Britain all over again. I dream of visiting the Dominique Ansel Bakery, roaming the streets of the Northern Quater, taking pastry classes at Le Cordon Bleu, and studying in a country where there is so much to explore and do.

And in just a few days, I will be making that dream a reality.

I am going to the University of Manchester to pursue a Masters in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship fully sponsored by the British Chevening Scholarship Program.

DSC04097

Chevening is a UK government international award, which sponsors developing global leaders in obtaining a Masters degree at any British university. This program is financed by Foreign and Commonwealth office and is oriented at future leaders, influencers and decision makers from all over the globe.

After an almost year-long agonizing selection process, I am incredibly honored to be chosen as the youngest Chevening Scholar from Pakistan for the year 2018/2019!

Right now, I think it’s safe to say that I am officially feeling all the feels.

I can’t wait to be swept up in the newness of a brand new place with so much to explore and so many new memories to be made. I am just feeling incredibly excited and lucky that I have the opportunity to take an adventure like this. And more than anything, I am super excited to visit all the donut shops I’ve been stalking on Instagram all these years xD

That said, it’s also sinking in just how much I am going to miss my friends and family here back in Pakistan.  And how much life I am going to miss out on here while I am away.

With each passing day, though, the reality of this amazing adventure ahead is starting to feel more and more real.  And I absolutely can’t wait to get there and get it all started!!!  So thank you in advance for following along on the blog and coming there with me and making this entire journey possible. This scholarship would definitely not have been possible if wasn’t for your love and support that made Spatula in My Pocket what it is today.

I can’t wait to write and share all about my adventures, the wonderful people, places, and food I discover along the way. (Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!)

Love you all and thank you!

DSC03880

 

Advertisements

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This is the ultimate recipe for the ultimate stack of pancakes, sweetened with bananas, and loaded with melty gooey chocolate chips.

the ultimate recipe for the ultimate stack of pancakes, sweetened with bananas, and loaded with melty gooey chocolate chips.

Confession: Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day. 

I’ve had a cup of plain coffee every single morning for as long as I remember.

Don’t get me wrong, I love breakfast food: pancakes, waffles, omelets, scrambled eggs! I’d eat “breakfast food” for 90% of my meals. But I just don’t like eating at breakfast time. 

I’d much rather have an omelet for lunch, granola for snack, and a stack of waffles for dinner.

And these pancakes, these gorgeous banana chocolate chip studded pancakes, I could have at any time of the day.

These are seriously everything!

 

The ultimate recipe for the ultimate stack of pancakes, sweetened with bananas, and loaded with melty gooey chocolate chips. #banana #chocolatechip #pancakes

Extra fluffy, soft, slightly sweet from the bananas, slightly bittersweet from the chocolate, perfectly golden brown.

In short, these pancakes are a blessing from the heavens.

The ultimate recipe for the ultimate stack of pancakes, sweetened with bananas, and loaded with melty gooey chocolate chips. #banana #chocolatechip #pancakes

I, sometimes, intentionally set aside 3-4 bananas and let them ripe just so that I can make these pancakes or my banana chocolate chip bread.

Whoever first thought of pairing up bananas and chocolate chips deserves a wildly prestigious prize in my book.

The ultimate recipe for the ultimate stack of pancakes, sweetened with bananas, and loaded with melty gooey chocolate chips. #banana #chocolatechip #pancakes

Making these pancakes is incredibly simple and if you want your pancakes to be as scrumptious as mine, I suggest you read the following tips along with the written recipe.

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKE TIPS:

  • Use slightly over ripe bananas. The riper the bananas, the sweeter they are.

  • DON’T OVERMIX: Mix the batter just until you see no more streaks of flour. It will be slightly lumpy. If you overmix the pancake batter your pancakes will turn out dense.

  • Make sure your frying pan/griddle is hot before adding the pancake batter.

  • Cook on low-medium heat to ensure that the pancake gets cooked in the middle and develops a crisp golden brown “crust” on the top.

If these next two pictures don’t make you seriously consider why you aren’t in your kitchen right this second making these pancakes, I don’t know what will.

DSC03599The ultimate recipe for the ultimate stack of pancakes, sweetened with bananas, and loaded with melty gooey chocolate chips. #banana #chocolatechip #pancakes

This is a recipe you’re going to want to hold onto forever.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Serves: 4
Ingredients:
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 1⁄4 cups milk, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter
1⁄2 cup banana, mashed (3 small)
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, divided
Directions:
1.      Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2.      In another bowl whisk together the milk, oil, banana, egg and vanilla.
3.      Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
4.      Fold in 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
5.      Heat a non-stick frying pan or a griddle, greased lightly with oil on medium heat. Pour 1/4-1/3 cup of batter per pancake on to the pan. Scatter some chocolate chips on top.
6.      When the top looks slightly dry and bubbles have appeared, flip the pancake and cook the other side for another minute or until golden.
7.      Prepare remaining pancake batter as directed greasing pan with more oil if needed.
8.      Stack the pancakes, top them with maple syrup if desired and tuck in.

 

Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Call me crazy but I find frying things oddly satisfying.

Which might explain why I am able to survive ten hour donut shifts in front of the fryer in this heat o.o

.

.

.

With frying comes sweat and I mean ALOT of sweat. But the end result always makes it worth it.

After you take the first bite of be it a donut or a churro, the sweat and all your fried oil guilt *poof* disappears.

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

Churros are strips of dough deep-fried until they become crunchy, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, and served with warm chocolate sauce.

These Spanish/Mexican concoctions are addicting!

You won’t be able to stop at one. Also, they make a great snack to share with friends and family when watching the telly or just hanging out.

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

IMPORTANT

If you do not own a piping bag or a piping tip, that does NOT mean that you can’t make homemade churros.

No piping bag?

No problem. Use a plastic ziplock bag instead (easily available in all superstores, check the foil and cling wrap section)

No piping tip?

No problem. A piping tip isn’t essential, it just gives the churros their signature textured lines. You can just snip off the end of your piping bag or ziplock bag and pipe straight from it.

No thermometer?

No problem. Preheat your oil for minimum 10 minutes on high heat (thats how long it takes it to reach 190 degrees Celsius). Fry on medium heat. And then in between batches crank up the heat again because the drops very quickly as soon as you put the churros in.

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

This churros recipe might be different than anything you’ve ever made.

There will be several points throughout this recipe where you might curse my name, especially when you’ll have to exert every bit of energy you have in mixing the dough and then some when piping them into the hot oil.

You might also curse me when your piping bag bursts open because of the pressure (the dough is That thick) which is why I’m telling you beforehand to scotch tape the piping bag around the piping nozzle/tip two to three times. Just to be safe.

You’ll get through it and I promise you’ll love me when you bite into your first warm delicious churro dripping with dark melty chocolate.

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

This is what you should end up with.

Stodgy, white dough.  

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

You’ll need a large star piping tip and a piping bag, or a big ZipLock bag. And a knife!

You squeeze the dough in the form of strips onto a parchment paper, and slice it off with the knife. Doing this:

  1. makes it much easier to plop them in 3-4 at a time instead of squeezing them straight into the hot oil one by one

  2. that way chances of burning your fingers are less

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

Fry till golden brown. Toss in cinnamon and sugar. 

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

Dip them in chocolate and hallelujah!

Dip em once, dip em twice or maybe even thrice.

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

Now you don’t need to go to Disneyland to eat churros. You can make them at home anytime you want. How cool is that!

Crispy, golden churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar and dunked in a dark chocolate sauce #churros

If you try this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, tag a photo #spatulainmypocket on Instagram so I can see it.

Cheers!

 

Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes                      Yields: 10-15 (4 inch) churros, more if you’re making them smaller
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:
For the Churros
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
1/2 cup fine white/castor sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Chocolate Sauce
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) cream
Equipment
 a thermometer; a heavy-duty plastic piping bag or a ziplock bag; a large star piping tip (such as Wilton #2110)*
Directions:
CHURROS
Stir water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil in a small saucepan and put on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add in the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon until it forms a cohesive dough.
Heat oil at 375 degrees F (190 C) for deep-frying.
While waiting for the oil to heat up, line a baking sheet with parchment/wax paper. Fill a piping bag lined with a large open star piping tip, with dough and pipe strips onto the baking sheet. Use a pair of kitchen scissors or a knife to cut off the strips at around 4-6 inches, depending on how long you want your churros to be. I like them small.
Set out a plate lined with paper towels for draining.
When the oil has heated up, drop in churros 4 or 5 at a time. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature, keeping it as close to 375 as possible (it drops very quickly). Fry until golden, around 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oil and set on paper towels to drain.
Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and toss churros in the mixture.
Serve the churros with the warm chocolate sauce (recipe below).
Best when eaten immediately.
CHOCOLATE SAUCE
Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl.
Warm the cream in small saucepan or the microwave for 20 seconds. (Do not let it boil.) Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute then stir to combine.
Notes:
*if you don’t have any of the equipment mentioned, kindly check substitutes mentioned in the post description above

Best All-Cocoa Brownies

I’m baaaack…..

It’s been a long time since I posted anything but I promise that I had good reason – which I’ll get to later.

First can we just stop, wait a minute and admire the gorgeousness that this brownie is!

A Rich, fudgy, ALL cocoa brownie. #chocolate #brownies #fudge #spatulainmypocket

Look at that fudge.

Look at that shine.

Look at the corky piece of walnut peeking through.

Doesn’t it make you want to sink your teeth into it right now? 

A Rich, fudgy, ALL cocoa brownie. #chocolate #brownies #fudge #spatulainmypocket

These brownies have become my go-to brownies because they are THE best. 

They’re extremely dense, fudgy, chewy and have NO chocolate in them. That’s right, not a single square!

I almost wept with joy upon biting into my first, straight from the oven (hence the unruly cuts), square of deep dark chocolate deliciousness. I’m swooning just thinking about them.

A Rich, fudgy, ALL cocoa brownie. #chocolate #brownies #fudge #spatulainmypocket

I found the recipe on kitchn.com and was drawn to its name ‘Pantry Cocoa Brownies’ which is very apt because they really do just call for ingredients that I’m sure all of us have in our kitchens – oil, sugar, eggs, flour, and cocoa.

Nothing extra!

No need to worry about buying copious amounts of dark chocolate or melting pounds of butter or making buttermilk.

A Rich, fudgy, ALL cocoa brownie.  #chocolate #brownies #fudge #spatulainmypocket

These fudgy chocolatey bars of goodness take half an hour to make and another half an hour to bake.

That’s an hour well spent I’d say especially considering you’ll have an entire batch of devilishly good brownies at the end of it.

The smell of chocolate wafting through your entire house is an added plus.

A Rich, fudgy, ALL cocoa brownie. #chocolate #brownies #fudge #spatulainmypocket

There are two things to note about the recipe:

  1. I’ve added half a cup of chopped walnuts, they’re totally optional though. I personally love nutty and crunchy bits in my brownie. The original recipe does not call for any nuts.

  2. The original recipe does however call for powdered sugar instead of normal granulated sugar. If you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, you can grind normal granulated sugar in a blender or food processor. But decrease the amount slightly because as compared to powdered sugar, granulated sugar is heavier in weight.

A Rich, fudgy, ALL cocoa brownie.  #chocolate #brownies #fudge #spatulainmypocket

With that out of the way, make them and let them blow your mind.  

Cheers – Noor

Cocoa Brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes                                                                   Yields: 9 large or 16 small squares
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Ingredients:
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups icing sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2.      Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line I with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
3.      Place the oil into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 4 to 6 (5-second) bursts until it is warm but not hot. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until completely smooth and combined. Let sit for 4 or 5 minutes so the cocoa can bloom.
4.      In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
5.      In another bowl, place the eggs, powdered sugar, and brown sugar. Using a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in the vanilla until just combined.
6.      Add 1/2 of the cocoa mixture to the egg mixture and mix at medium-high speed until it is shiny and fully combined, about 2-3 minutes.
7.      Next, add in the flour mixture to the egg and cocoa mixture and mix at low speed until fully combined. Add the remaining cocoa mixture and mix at medium-high speed until the batter is shiny and fully combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
8.      Transfer to the prepared baking pan.
9.      Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You’ll know the brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached (it shouldn’t be completely wet) and the brownies pull away from the edges of the pan.
10.   Let them cool (if you can help it ;)) before cutting into squares.
Notes
*If you don’t have icing/powdered sugar on hand, you can grind normal granulated sugar in a blender or food processor. But decrease the amount slightly because as compared to powdered sugar, granulated sugar is heavier in weight.
**Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Recipe source: kitchn

Best Homemade Waffles

Waffles are my favorite food from heaven (after brownies and pizza of course).

Piled high with whipped cream and strawberries or ice cream and Nutella, they are the ultimate, indulgent breakfast/snack/lunch/dinner/midnight meal.

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

I got a waffle maker a few months ago. Since then I have made batches upon batches of waffles in search for the perfect recipe.

For me, a perfect waffle is:

  • soft and fluffy on the inside

  • crispy on the outside

  • golden brown

  • Irresistibly delicious!

After months of researching through different recipes available on the internet; I decided to test the ones that were the most popular worldwide.

One called for melted butter; the other vegetable oil. One involved eggs with the whites whisked till stiff; the other with the eggs mixed right into the batter.

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

I made waffles after waffles and forced my sisters to be the taste testers (a torture to which they happily agreed).

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

One fine Sunday, I found our *all-time favorite, no-fail waffles recipe*.

This recipe will impress waffle newbies and old waffle lovers alike.

This is it.

.

.

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER!

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

These waffles are everything mentioned in the list above and more. They send you into a good food coma so deadly that it should come with a warning.

You will, obviously, need a waffle iron to make these warm, crispy waffles. I recommend you take the plunge and just buy it. It is worth the investment because after making this recipe once, I assure you, you will want to make them every day for breakfast/snack/lunch/dinner/midnight meal.

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

I ordered mine online at Daraz.pk. They had a sale going on and I found mine pretty cheap for Rs.1400/-.

>>Here’s the link to the brand I use<<

It’s small and it’s not fancy, but it’s budget-friendly and it works well.

 

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

After making waffles myself, I can tell with confidence that those sold at astounding prices in restaurants can be absolute crap. They’re often soggy, eggy, and bland. Homemade waffles are way way wayyy better and are really easy to make too. They are the new 2-minute noodles!

This recipe is pretty standard including all your basic kitchen ingredients. Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Whisk them together and voila, waffle batter.

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

We love them drenched with maple syrup or smothered with Nutella (heavenly!!).

Buying a waffle maker has to be the best decision I have made yet (other than starting this blog of course).

This is, hands down, the best waffle recipe EVER! #crispy #fluffy #waffles

I hope you enjoy them as much as my sisters and I did. And if you do whip ‘em up please share on Instagram using the hashtag #spatulainmypocket

Much love!

Best homemade Waffles

Serves: 2-4
Ingredients:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornflour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk1
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup/chocolate syrup for serving
Directions:
1.       In a medium bowl; combine the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
2.      Heat your waffle iron. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with maple syrup or chocolate syrup. Waffles reheat very well in the toaster.
Notes:
1.       DIY buttermilk: 1 Tablespoon vinegar + 1 cup whole milk
2.      Waffles are best served immediately!
Recipe source: Aretha Frankenstein

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Super moist and rich double chocolate zucchini bread that tastes just like chocolate fudge cake only better!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

Did you grow up eating zucchini bread?

I for one did not and I’m pretty sure none of my fellow Pakistanis did either. I didn’t even know we had zucchini in Pakistan until just recently!

Incase you are as clueless as I am, zucchini is indeed available in Pakistan.

It’s grown all year round, called ‘maaru’ in Urdu, is pale green in color, high in water content and bland in taste which makes it the perfect addition to baked goods.

It was a no-brainer I’d pick ‘Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread’ as my first zucchini recipe because, well:

a. its chocolate

b. its DOUBLE CHOCOLATE

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

Just look at it.

.

.

It screams deliciousness!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge fan of fruit and vegetable based baked goods.

^case in point

I don’t know who the crazy genius was behind the idea of incorporating vegetables in baking, but whoever it was, know that I LOVE YOU enormously.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about putting in a mound of shredded green vegetable in a chocolate bread but the result blew.me.away!

It was deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

And the zucchini completely disappeared!

You can’t tell the zucchini is in there unless you’re looking for it. Which is why even my super picky, non-vegetable sisters went for seconds and thirds. We ended up devouring the entire loaf in a matter of minutes. ^.^

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

This double chocolate zucchini bread is perfect for anytime of the day, in any season and pairs wonderfully with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

I like it best when its fresh out of the oven. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and warmed in the microwave for a few seconds or until all the chocolate bits are melty and gooey…Mmm.

Go buy some zucchinis and make this bread right now!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 1 loaf
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Ingredients:
1 cup (125g)  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (42g) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled1
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (225g) packed shredded zucchini
¾ cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips, divided
Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2.      Grease a 9×5 or 8×4 loaf pan. Set aside.
3.      In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4.      In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar until smooth.
5.      Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Stir in the shredded zucchini until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
6.      Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean. All ovens vary so keep an eye out after about 50 minutes. Mine takes 60 minutes to cook perfectly.
7.      Remove the pan from the oven. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool until slightly warm before cutting into slices and serving.
Notes:
1.        I use salted butter. If using unsalted butter, increase the amount of salt by just a smidgen.
2.       Shred the zucchini with the peel on.
3.       Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

{small batch} CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Craving chocolate chip cookies?
Don’t want to make a lot of effort?
Don’t want to end up with dozens of cookies?

Well this recipe, my friend, is just for you!

 

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts.
A recipe so simple, you’ll find yourself making it again and again. 10 minutes of mixing, 10 minutes of baking. That’s it! There’ll be a cookie in your hand in no time.
And trust me when I tell you, you won’t be able to stop at just one. You might end up eating all six, jussayin.

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

A FEW RECIPE NOTES:

  • The chiller the dough; the less it spreads. That’s the rule: if you want thick cookies, chill the dough in the refrigerator. It’s cold right now so I don’t chill it but if you live somewhere hot, chill the dough prior to baking!
  • The walnuts are optional. I just love the way they give more texture to anything they’re added to especially cookies, making them richer and fuller.
  • If you can’t afford to go buy a bag of chocolate chips, don’t! Add in chopped up Dairy Milk, Bournville…any chocolate!
  • This recipe requires a baking tray lined with parchment paper or wax paper. You never grease the tray for cookies! Parchment paper is the way to go.
  • When the timer goes up, you may think that there is no way these cookies are cooked. They’ll look extremely soft and under-baked. But trust me, you do not want to over bake these. They will set with time.
  • Also >> the cookies will slightly deflate as you let them cool.

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookiesSix perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

(notes my sister wants you to know)
  • Never offer just one cookie to your sister. 3 or maybe even 4 will do
  • Eat all of the cookies the day you bake them, otherwise they will become brittle and crumble away
  • If you can’t eat them all yourself don’t hesitate to give them to your sisters
  • Make sure the dough has been chilling in the fridge overnight before you tell your sisters that you’re about to make cookies

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

With that out of the way, let’s bake some cookies!

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                                        Yields: 6 cookies
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Ingredients:
·         3 tablespoons (42g) butter, softened
·         1/4 cup brown sugar
·         2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
·         7 tablespoons all-purpose flour (1/2 cup minus 1 Tablespoon)
·         1/8 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 cup chopped walnuts *optional
·         1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and line a baking tray with parchment or wax paper.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside .
In a medium bowl, add the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Next, add the egg yolk and beat until combined.
Finally, add in the dry ingredients and beat till just combined.
Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips using a spatula or a wooden spoon.
Divide the dough equally into 6 balls, and space evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown on the edges and the surface begins to crack.
Let cool completely. Dig in!
Notes:
I use and recommend Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Chips.
If you live somewhere hot, chill the dough prior to baking!
If using salted butter, omit the salt.

Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie

Happy 2018 everyone!
(let’s just pretend the last 10 days didn’t happen :p)
I hope you guys had a wonderful winter break. My sisters are back in school and I’m home alone again in an early-January post-resolutions funk.  I hope you are having better luck keeping track of your resolutions. My ‘eating healthy’ one got stumped on day one.
No surprise there.
I have been trying to get back into a somewhat balanced diet routine after gorging on waffles and carrot cake all of last week, and I have started going on regular walks with my mother, so that feels good.
My work/study perspective still needs sorting out and I still need to decide on what I want to do with my life.
.
.
But other than that it’s going okay.
I have a good feeling about this year. I really do. 😀
 This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish.  #Pie #ShepherdPie

 

This bleak and dreary weather calls for some serious comfort food and starting off the blank slate of the year with something rich and indulgent just feels right.

And what could be more indulgent then a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes + macaroni + rich meat filling all together in the form of a pie.

 

 

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. #Pie #ShepherdPieThis Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my over-the-top version of the classic British Shepherd’s Pie

It has three parts to it:

  1. The meat sauce

  2. The mashed potatoes

  3. The macaroni

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.

It does take time to put the entire pie together but the end result will be well worth the effort, trust me.

And it’s super customizable too! You can:

  • Add in sweet corn, mushrooms, olives, jalapenos

  • Make it more/less spicy

  • Use chicken mince instead of beef

  • Leave out the macaroni layer entirely and you’ll be left with a traditional shepherd pie instead

 

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. #Pie #ShepherdPie

This Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.

If you do make it, don’t forget to share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #spatulainmypocket

Cheers!

Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Meat Sauce
¼ cup cooking oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
½ kilo ground beef (Qeema)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
4 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoon ketchup (optional but I like it saucy)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
Mashed Potatoes
2 large potatoes, boiled till tender
1 Tablespoon butter
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Macaroni
1 ½ cups boiled elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder
2 Tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese

 

Directions

Meat sauce:
In a pan, heat the cooking oil and fry the chopped onion till golden brown.
Add in the carrot and beef. Cook, stirring constantly till the beef turns pale.
Add in the salt, black pepper, and red chilli powder. Mix well.
Cook on high heat for another minute then add in the tomato paste, flour, cornflour, and 1 ½ cup water. Mix well.
Cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the beef is fully cooked, and is thick and saucy.
Mashed Potatoes:
Mash the two boiled potatoes along with the butter and milk.
Mix in the seasonings.
Add in more milk if needed to reach a smooth consistency.
Macaroni:
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add in the flour, salt, black pepper and mustard powder. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Add in the milk and stock and mix constantly on a low heat.
As soon as the sauce starts thickening and bubbling, turn off heat and add in the cheese and the cooked macaroni. Mix well
Assembling:
Grease a large oven-proof casserole dish. Pour in whole of the meat sauce.
Ladle on top the macaroni.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the macaroni layer or you may pipe the potatoes with a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
Top with a little cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes or until the top is a lovely golden brown.

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish.  #Pie #ShepherdPie