Adventures in UK baking

2013-09-06 06.16.42

Well, I officially live in Scotland.  That’s not something I ever thought I would say.  Every day it feels a little less like we are on vacation and a little more like we actually live here.  Although our house is still pretty empty.  We have one chair and an odd collection of mostly borrowed kitchen items.  Our stuff landed in the UK this past Friday though!  Now it just has to go through customs and make the relatively short drive up here.  Hopefully it will be less than two weeks now.

I’m getting used to my new kitchen and have been doing a lot of good cooking with my hodgepodge collection of kitchen things.  Things are smaller though.  The oven is more narrow that ones back in the states, and we only have space for an under the counter fridge.  These things I am getting used to.  I think we can make a smaller fridge work, and probably the oven too.  But my oven isn’t marked with the temperatures, not even in Celsius (not that I have any idea yet how those numbers relate to a temperature)!  Instead, it is marked 1-9.  1-9?!  What does this mean?  I mean, I’ve figured it out well enough to roast some vegetables.  But you can kinda estimate on that.  Do I want hot hot, medium hot, or a cooler oven for a longer roast.  Baking though, this is another issue.

After 2 weeks of good cooking I felt confident enough to try baking.  I thought I would stay with chocolate chip cookies, a recipe that I have had memorized since I was about 10.  Except they don’t sell chocolate chips in 12 oz bags.  No, they sell them in tiny 100 gram bags.  That equals about half a cup.  And the butter is not sold by the pound, but in 250 gram blocks.  So out came the kitchen scale (one of my first purchases) and I pulled up a conversion chart on google.  I thought I had it figured out.  I measured and I mixed and I got my cookies all spooned out (albeit on my smaller than usual baking sheet, holding a maximum of 12 small cookies).  Then came the guess about the number to set my oven at.  I had glanced at a site that said gas mark 4 was 350 degrees, so I nudged it just above 4 and hoped that would equal 375.  I checked out the cookies roughly 9 minutes later (they are supposed to cook for 12) and realized something was wrong, despite my efforts.  What I had made, rather than chocolate chip cookies, were chocolate chip crisps.  Thin, brown, and very crisp.  Now, don’t get me wrong, they are delicious.  Much more caramely than my usual cookies.  I think they would be divine for filled cookies, or ice cream sandwiches.  They are also good with tea or coffee.  They just aren’t my tried and true chocolate chip cookies.  So I will have to keep trying with this Scottish baking.

Does this sound like something that you need to eat?  Below is what I made.  Perhaps you’ve got some vanilla ice cream sitting in your glorious full sized freezer that needs to be used up.  I think this (accidentally) Scottish take on the chocolate chip cookie is just the thing you need.  ***Disclaimer – I’m not really sure why my cookies were so flat.  I’m guessing it’s either because the sugar is a bit coarser over here, or the butter has a higher fat content.  To attempt the same result, you might try either sugar in the raw or demera sugar, use a higher grade/higher fat butter, or just add a little more butter***

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crisps

4 oz butter, softened
75 g white sugar
165 g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
145 g flour
2 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
3 g (1/2 tsp) salt (Only if you used unsalted butter.  Omit salt if using salted butter)
200 g dark chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt if using.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and combine well.  Mix in the chocolate chips.  Scoop 1tsp balls (sounds small, but believe me) on to a baking sheet.  Cook in a 350 degree/gas mark 4 oven for 10-12 minutes.

2013-09-06 03.33.55

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2 thoughts on “Adventures in UK baking

  1. I notice you mixed oz and grams in your recipe, I wonder if that’s the reason they came out unexpectedly. Quite often a recipe in the UK will offer both measurements but they don’t directly translate because you’d end up with silly amounts in one or the other, like 3 3/8 oz. It also sounds like you could do with an oven thermometer to save you from guesswork! 🙂

    • I think the mix of measurements came mostly from my mix of tools. I was mostly converting from my US recipe using a food scale. I made another batch after I got my full range of measuring cups and spoons and they were much closer to my usual cookies. Might still make these though because they were delicious. Thanks for the advice!

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