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Monday, 19 March 2012

Baking for Beginners: Rye'n'Raisin'n'Chocolate'n'Ginger Cookies


Confession: I had my first Dan Lepard failure last week. His rye and raisin cookies turned into rye crispbreads with burnt raisiny bits. Obviously I still ate them because biscuits are for the mouth, not the bin, no matter what state they're in. But I had no idea what I'd done wrong - I followed the recipe to the letter. Sob.

I was left with a kilo of rye flour, no inclination to try that recipe again (not when there are so many foolproof recipes in Short and Sweet), and no real idea what to do with it. So I tried making cookies again, but with extra ingredients and a little plain flour to offset the rye - and I'm thoroughly pleased with the results. The egg white adds chewiness, which helps counteract the drying effect of the bran in rye flour.

Rye flour is slightly sweet and nutty and used more often in savoury baking, but it adds a delicious extra flavour to these cookies. It works beautifully with the ginger and cardamom, while the chocolate helps to conceal its slate-grey colour. I got a bag of rye flour in Waitrose; try a large supermarket or add to your online grocery order.

Rye'n'raisin'n'chocolate'n'ginger cookies (makes about 24)

You will need:
  • 250g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 150g rye flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 100g raisins
  • 60g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg white and beat in.
  3. Sift together the rye flour, plain flour, baking powder, ginger and cardamom. Warning: it will look like fag ash. Do not let this put you off. Fold it into the creamed butter mixture.
  4. Fold in the raisins and chocolate.
  5. Scoop up golf ball sized lumps of cookie mixture and dollop them onto the tray, evenly spaced with room to spread. You'll probably need to bake them in batches.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are firm. Leave to firm up for five minutes on the tray, then carefully place on a baking tray to cool.

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