Today was the day of the dreaded birthday party with a bunch of 7-year-olds. You cannot know how beautifully it went, how sweet and polite and charming the children were (no exceptions!), how we all enjoyed the trip to the zoo, how they clapped at the sea lion show, and how they played on the see-saws…
You cannot know, because between the beginning of the outing and the end, four hours later, I had completely and utterly lost my voice. My throat feels like I swallowed a cactus. My tastebuds are numb. My voice actually hurts, so to the relief of my husband and large parts of France, I am temporarily speechless.
Savour the moment. It won’t last.
Today the party, tomorrow, the little guy is bringing cake to school and the grand-parents (My in-laws. Mad people.) are coming for dinner, so I spent all morning baking. For today’s pic-nic goûter at the zoo, I made a quick chocolate slice. For tomorrow’s family dinner, it’s a Lemon Meringue Pie on special request from the birthday boy with the question “Do I like meringue? I can’t remember.”.
For school, I thought I’d take a different tack, mainly for practical reasons. I’m a teacher myself, so I have seen too many kids show up with a tart or a strawberry sponge, realizing with a goofy grin and a shrug that they brought neither a knife to cut it with, a roll of kitchen paper to avoid the mess or suddenly understanding why a two-tier pastry with fruit and cream is perhaps not the easiest thing to cut into 30 equal pieces and eat with ones fingers.
So I made cookies. With nuts. My nieces are dangerously allergic to several foods (milk, eggs, nuts…), so I always check with the teacher if there are things I need to avoid. This year, we got the all-clear, so it was chocolate-hazelnut cookies for all.
Here’s what you need:
150g butter (unsalted)
100g white sugar
100g brown sugar
1 sachet of vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
100g hazelnuts, chopped
150g chocolate (dark or milk), chopped
To make the dough:
- Combine the sugars with the softened butter with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon.
- Add the egg and mix well.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt before adding it to the mixture, too.
- Roughly chop the hazelnuts and the chocolate and stir them into the dough with a wooden spoon.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours (or overnight)
You can simply spoon dollops of dough onto a baking tray, but I usually place a length of cling film on the counter, line up some cookie dough, close up the cling film and roll it into a tightly packed “sausage” (one batch makes 2 rolls). Then I put the rolls into the fridge. That way, I just cut the cold dough into equal slices to end up with approximately round, approximately equal cookies. Leave enough space between the rounds of dough – the cookies spread out a bit in the oven. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes. Wait a couple of minutes before transferring the cookies from the baking tray onto a wire rack to cool – the cookies are soft at first and would fall apart. Quick, easy and gorgeous. Needless to say, the little fella didn’t bring any home. C is for cookie. That’s good enough for me. 🙂