Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday Walks powered by oat cookies

We are still talking about our amazingly long walk two days ago in the beautiful Wicklow mountains.  Amazing for us as parents in the sense that our two little boys aged five and nearly four walked all of ten miles up and down the mountain.  Admittedly it did take about five hours with many breaks but, even I, as their mother who believes that even their smallest achievements are amazing, think that this was pretty special.
The key to getting them to walk so far was to break up the walk with frequent pit stops for lunch and several other small breaks for snacks and a leg rest while all the time trying to distract them from the shortness of their legs and the actual length of the walk.  I did not hold out hope that they would manage even half way and had envisioned having to carry them back to the car, both weighing on average 20kg.  However they were amazingly resilient and we had a wonderful day.  I also put their energy down to these tasty little biscuits.

I packed some regulation ham sandwiches, a few tomatoes, apples, a packet of digestive biscuits (or 'digested' biscuits as the boys call them which never fails to disgust me) and a tin of these oat and lemon cookies.  Now I haven't made these since school broke up in June (they make excellent lunch box treats) and I suspect in a few weeks I will be making them again on a regular basis.  Anyway, they kept us alive on our walk among the stunning heather, the colours, smells and sounds of which are impossible to accurately capture.  So my advice is to go up there, its amazing.

Oat, hazelnut and lemon cookies

I will give you the basic recipe to which you can add and subtract as your store cupboard or taste buds allow.

For approx. 12 cookies (depending on the size), you will need:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 75g light brown sugar( I have previously used unrefined caster)
  • 1 egg
  • 150g porridge oats (I used Flahavans jumbo oats)
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • zest of a lemon finely grated
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts or if you like raisins/sultanas/chopped dates/dessicated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees(Gas mark 5)
  • Lightly grease 2 baking trays with butter.
  • Start by creaming together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy - I did this using my hand-held electric whisk. Add the egg and whisk until it is all combined.
  • By hand, stir in the oats, flour, baking powder, lemon zest, chopped hazelnuts and maple syrup.
  • If the mixture seems dry, then add another splash of maple syrup.  Although I have at this point added some chopped and flaked almonds, raisins, sultanas, dessicated coconut and then adding another beaten egg to combine everything together.  Do as you please.
  • Dip your finger tips in a little flour and pinch out a small amount of mixture.  Roll or press it into a small ball about the size of a cream-egg or a golf ball and place on the baking tray roughly 11/2"-2" apart (they will spread out during cooking).
  • Slightly flatten onto the baking tray and repeat leaving ample room for spreading.
  • If you run out of room on the baking tray, simple place the remainder of the mixture into the fridge and bake in batches.

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