After a summer of visiting friends and family in England, where every social gathering involved cakes, wine, barbeques or three-course meals, my jeans are now refusing to zip up.
Of course, I could have refused the gateaux, drunk Perrier instead of cider and eaten salad instead of chips. But I didn’t. The final straw was being called a Weeble. Now I like Weebles as much as the next woman, but I don’t really want to look like one.
Consequently I’m back on the diet. No cakes, cookies or desserts. And, (just like when Bagpuss goes to sleep, all his friends go to sleep) when I’m on a diet, my family is also deprived of delicious home-baked treats.
But, after much nagging, yesterday I rustled up a batch of Vanilla Sundae Cookies and some Marbled Cheesecake Brownies. Which I’m not even looking at. In fact I refuse to be in the same room as them. But I’ve been told they taste pretty scrumptious so if you’re a skinny Minnie or you fancy a treat, dig in.
Vanilla Sundae Cookies
200g butter, cubed 325g plain flour
100g caster sugar 3 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks 100g chocolate chunks
50g meringues, broken into chunks
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Rub the butter into the flour to make crumbs, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, yolks, chocolate and merginue chunks. Bring together to form a dough.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm.
Using biscuit cutters, cut biscuits out of the dough and carefully place onto the baking tray. Chill for 30 mins.
Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
Just for fun, I iced mine with a ice-cream design (I’m easily amused). Yummy…
Cheesecake Marbled Brownies
200g plain chocolate 200g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar 3 eggs
125g plain flour
Cream Cheese Mix:
400g cream cheese 1 tsp vanilla extract
125g caster sugar 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a 20cm x 30cm deep baking tin with greaseproof paper.
To make the brownie mix, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth then cool slightly.
To make the cream cheese mix, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla extract, caster sugar and eggs until smooth and creamy.
In another bowl whisk together the caster sugar and eggs. Add the melted chocolate and butter mix and stir until combined. Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture.
Pour 3/4 of the chocolate mix into the prepared tin and level with a palette knife. Spoon over the cream cheese mix. Add the remaining chocolate mixture in dollops and tap the tin sharply on the work surface to level the mixtures. Using a skewer, marble the mixtures together.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until just set in the middle. Cool in the tin before cutting into squares.
I gave a tin of these to an Italian friend, who returned the tin later that day as she had eaten the lot – see, they’re irresistible!