I have not been very organised with Christmas baking this year. Usually my Mum makes Christmas cake and I make mincemeat and the Christmas puddings (primarily because I think mincemeat and Christmas puddings need more excessive amounts of cherries and nuts in them than bought versions ever supply!). However, so far this year, I’ve made nothing Christmassy. But what I have made are some far-too-more-ish cookies (though that could just be greed talking), which are based on an idea I’ve had for quite a while. My original idea was to put chopped soft caramels into the cookies which used the same or a similar biscuit (sorry – cookie for those in the States!) batter as is used for chocolate chip cookies. But, when it came to making them, I could not find soft caramels anywhere. So, I decided to use chocolate éclairs (the sweet kind not the pastry kind), which is not a bad thing at all as it introduces an element of chocolate to these cookies… If you do make them with soft caramels instead of chocolate éclairs, I’d love to hear how it works out (and where you got the caramels from!). All the cup measurements below are based on 1 cup being equal to a 250 ml mug.
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups self-raising flour
1 1/2- 1 1/3 cups chocolate éclairs
What to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 (190º C or 375º F). Grease a couple of baking trays and set aside (or you can be lazy like me and just line them with baking parchment instead…).
2. Cream together the margarine (or butter, depending on which you use), brown sugar and vanilla essence using an electric beater.
3. Beat the egg into the creamed margarine/butter, sugar and vanilla essence with an electric beater.
4. Put the chocolate éclairs into a freezer bag and smash them into little pieces with a rolling pin (I initially tried chopping them with a knife but found the smashing method far more effective).
5. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl over the margarine/butter, sugar, vanilla and egg mixture and then tip the smashed chocolate éclairs in to the bowl. Fold the flour, salt and chocolate éclairs into the margarine/butter, sugar, vanilla and egg mixture using a spatula.
6. Gently roll the mixture, about a teaspoonful at a time, into little balls and place them well apart (at least an inch) on the greased baking trays. The dough may be a bit sticky as you roll it, so expect dirty hands!
7. Bake the cookies in the middle of the pre-heated oven until golden-brown for about 15-20 minutes. When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a minute or two on the baking tray to give the melted sugar a bit of time to harden before removing from the tray and cooling on a cooling rack.
8. These seem to absorb moisture quite easily so store in an airtight container (if you don’t consume them straight away) as soon as they are cool.