When I first saw the Caked Crusaders post for Syrup Crunch Biscuits, I was keen to make these most tempting sounding treats. I was planning on baking some to take away with us on holiday, but I stupidly didn’t bookmark the post and then couldn’t remember where I’d seen it. I’d even bought cornflakes specially, not something we normally have in the house; I had to fend off CT, who is rather partial to a bowl of them. As it happened the apple cake we took with us was plenty, so it’s just as well I didn’t find the recipe. Thankfully Baking Addict had also decided she liked the look of these biscuits and thus reminded me where I’d first seen them.
Last month, Vanessa Kimbell came up with an inspiring thought – to practice random bakes of kindness. I so liked this idea when I first read it. Nearly two years ago now, I baked for the good burghers of Liskeard and was well rewarded with the delight expressed through their words and smiles, but sadly I haven’t really done anything similar since. So, I had an idea. The staff at Liskeard Railway Station, who I see so much of through my daily commute to work have a very hard time of it. They are the ones often on the receiving end of all the manifestations of travellers’ frustrations when the trains are delayed or cancelled or the ticket queues are too long; they don’t have an easy time of it. So, brightening up their day a little seemed like a nice thing to do.
Not having much time to spare, needing something portable and harbouring a big bag of cooking apples I thought these Apple Oatmeal Cookies would fit the bill nicely – especially when some chocolate was added to the mix. This is what I did:
- Creamed 4oz unsalted butter with 5.5 oz cardamom sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 1 duck egg.
- Mixed in 3oz wholemeal flour, 5 oz oats and 1/2 tsp baking powder.
- Peeled, cored and finely chopped in 1 cooking apple and mixed that in together with 2oz 40% milk chocolate drops.
- Placed teaspoonfuls well apart on two trays – one using my new silicone mat and another lined with baking paper.
- Baked at 180C for 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan and although these biscuits were undoubtedly delicious, they were in no fit state to be given away. When I opened the oven, I gasped in horror. All the cookies from the tray on the bottom shelf had run together and looked a terrible mess. Oh well, I thought, at least the top tray (on my new silicone mat) looks good. They may have looked good, but they were horrendously stuck to the silicone mat and the bottoms of the biscuits came away from the tops. Don’t be fooled by the pictures. Disaster. Mission aborted.
I called on the emergency services in the form of CT to help with the clean up operation. I have to say, crumbs, they were really delicious.
As I’d run out of time, I did a mini bake of kindness with these Rock Cakes, but the staff at Liskeard station had to wait for theirs.
Rock cakes used to be my main go to recipe when I had to bake something in a hurry or just wanted something to fill the cake tin. I haven’t made them in years, I don’t know why, they are so easy and really quite delicious. I also grew up with them. My mother used to make them with dates which I particularly liked. But at the moment I have lots of cooking apples that a friend has given me and I need to concentrate on using them up. Regular visitors may start to get bored with the ensuing number of apple cakes I may well be baking!
Anyway, this is what I did this time around:
- Put 8oz flour (1/2 spelt, 1/2 white) into a large mixing bowl together with 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon.
- Rubbed 4oz unsalted butter into the flour.
- Stirred in 3oz demerara sugar.
- Added 2oz sultanas and 2oz 40% milk chocolate drops.
- Peeled, cored and finely (ish) chopped 1 cooking apple and stirred that in to the dry ingredients.
- Made a well in the centre, broke in 2 duck eggs and stirred until all combined.
- Spooned 12 large lumps onto a lined baking tray and baked for 20 minutes at 180C until lightly browned.
- Moved to a wire rack to cool.
These were just as good as I’d remembered them, firm on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside. This was the first time I’d ever used chocolate in rock cakes and as I’d guessed, it worked really well. The sweet bits of sultanas and chocolate made an excellent contrast to the sharp and flavoursome apple pieces. They were destined for friends where we were going for supper. However, I managed to snaffle one for myself, save one for CT and rush down the road to my local bookshop with two of them on a saucer, where they were gratefully received. We are lucky enough to have an independent bookshop in our small town. It is a marvellous place which somehow manages to keep going whilst many shops are closing around it. They always give excellent service and are friendly and knowledgeable. They may be small, but CT hasn’t found a book yet that they haven’t been able to order for him and he orders some rather obscure items. Surprisingly, for such humble cakes, these had rave reviews from all who ate them.
Cheekily, I’m linking this to Vanessa Kimbell’s lovely idea to Practice Random Acts of Baking. Vanessa, I had a much more random and kinder plan that this in mind, but the bakes were a disaster and I had to abort – I will relate all at a later date.
I am just about to leave on a week’s holiday – hoorah! It is two years since I had a proper holiday and it feels very much needed. We are not going far, we’re off to the Lizard and I can’t wait!