My sister sent me a quote she’d seen on Instagram last week and just put “This is so you!” and she was right, it was totally me.
“We’re picky and even a little bit fancy in a way that says I’m-not-even-trying-to-be-fancy-I-just-am.
Breakfast isn’t just a meal anymore and picking the right café is now more important than ever. Wasting such a crucial meal in an average run of the mill coffee shop? Not likely.”
I’m not sure when exactly food became such a large part of my life or when it started to dominate my thought processes, but I’m glad for different reasons that it has.
I’ve learnt to become a much better cook, willing to have a go at cooking pretty much anything from different cuisines around the world. My eyes have been opened to just how spoilt we are in the UK with all the amazing ingredients we have on offer and can source if they aren’t in the supermarket or local high street shop.
I’ll research places my husband and I are visiting both in the UK and abroad to find the best café in the area or restaurant to try out whilst we’re there. I’m forever on the hunt for the best coffee or pastry accompaniment to ‘said’ coffee… the top of the ‘best coffee’ list at the moment is from the ‘Grind Coffee’ Café on Lower Richmond Road in Putney. I can highly recommend the pancakes there too!
No meal should be wasted and where I just used to have a quick bowl of porridge, that porridge is now soaked in almond milk, topped with pomegranates and seeds and drizzled with agave nectar. Not trying to be fancy, but also realizing that let’s be honest, most people don’t make that much effort to start their day in that way!
So when I decided to bake some cookies for a Christmas charity bake sale at my husband’s office, I decided that as it was a Christmas bake sale, some shortbread cookies seemed appropriate. But clearly, run-of-the-mill shortbread cookies weren’t going to cut it when there are so many flavours you can add to the rich buttery cookie.
White chocolate is often neglected when up against its big brothers, milk and a dark chocolate but it’s just that little bit more decadent and perfect for a ‘not-trying-to-be-fancy shortbread cookie’. Match that with some chopped pistachios and orange zest and I think you’ve nailed a fantastic Christmas inspired flavor combination.
The cookies filled the kitchen with a delicious buttery baking smell that it took all of my will power not to eat the cookies fresh out the oven. The orange zest provides some cut through against the butter dough base, whilst the white chocolate delivers luxurious creaminess that you should always get to indulge in at this time of year. The pistachios added texture and crunch to the light crumbly cookie which can often be missing from standard shortbread recipes.
So simple to make.
Totally-not-fancy, but fancy none-the-less.
White chocolate, pistachio and orange shortbread cookies
A very slight twist on the recipe from Gather and Feast
Makes 16 cookies
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup rice flour
½ cup raw castor sugar
225g salted butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Zest of 2 oranges
½ tsp sea salt
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
100g good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped
Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
Add the flour, rice flour, vanilla, salt and fold together.
Add your pistachios and white chocolate, fold through your dough until it is evenly distributed.
You can either place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about 1cm though and use a cookie cutter. Place the cut out cookies onto a baking tray and place in the fridge to chill.
Or, as I did, gather all the dough together and shape it into a log wrapped in baking powder and put in the fridge to chill. You can then slice off discs of cookies as you want to bake them. They don’t look as pretty but still fancy.
Bake the cookies for about 25 minutes (until golden brown at the edges) at 160 degrees.
Leave the cookies to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely