The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

You Say Cookies, I Say Eat

That’s the trouble with words. They mean different things to different people.

Time was when any self-respecting paddy would not have thought to call the items in the picture below anything other than biscuits or biccies.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal, chocolate chip and redcurrant whatsits

But the fact is that we’re pretty comfortable with the term cookie these days, it being many years since “American-style Chocolate Chip Cookies” started to appear on Irish supermarket shelves.

Some Irish people might even use the terms biscuit and cookie interchangeably, though I think there is a perception that cookies are a bit fancier than your average biscuit. I mean to say, nobody that I know of ever elevated plain ol’ Marietta biscuits to cookie status, while I, personally, have great difficulty in separating the word cookie from the phrase chocolate chip. Where one goes, the other inevitably follows.

marietta biscuits

Plain old Marietta biscuits
(image from jacobfruitfield.com)

Still, while these words might be the little pegs on which we hang our cultural identity, what I call said baked goods, in the end, really matters less than the fact that they are just the thing to have with a nice cup of Irish tea.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies With Redcurrants

I made these last week as a little contribution to the Twookieparty, a twitter-based event where assorted Irish food bloggers got together in that virtual, Internet sense and baked their socks off.

Given that these involve chocolate chips and are based on an American recipe, they really do invite the term cookie. Crisp at the edge and chewy in the middle, they are adapted slightly from a recipe for Cherry Oatmeal Cookies in Cindy Mushet’s impressive tome, The Art And Soul Of Baking – part of the hefty swag from last year’s IFBC.

The original recipe calls for dried sour cherries, but, having a lot of redcurrants at my disposal just now, I dried some to use here instead. You could also use dried cranberries or any other dried fruit that has a bit of tartness to it.

I can guarantee that I will be making these again very soon.

You’ll need:
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • 0.25 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 90g porridge oats (rolled oats)
  • 100g dried redcurrants (see below) or substitute dried cranberries or dried sour cherries
  • 75g dark chocolate chips (or use a dark chocolate that you like, cut into 0.5cm chunks)
You’ll also need:
  • 2 large baking sheets – mine were 40cm x 30cm
The Steps:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line your baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them.
  • Beat together the butter and the granulated, demerara and dark muscovado sugars until smooth and blended.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl, then add the lot to the butter mixture and fold in gently, until just combined.
  • Stir in the oats, dried fruit and chocolate chips.
  • Scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets, leaving about 5cm between scoops.
  • Bake for 10-14 minutes, preferably baking one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet after about 5 minutes, until crisp at the edges and still a little pale in the centre.
The Variations:
  • Leave out the chocolate if you like (though why would you, really) or replace with white chocolate.
The Results:
  • Makes around 40 cookies or biscuits, as you prefer

Dried Redcurrants

Dried redcurrants

One of the joys of having a generous redcurrant harvest is that I could afford to experiment with slow-roasting as a means of drying some of my redcurrants out. They lose a lot of volume in the process, but there really is a nice concentrated tartness to the end result.

You’ll need:
  • redcurrants
You’ll also need:
  • One or more baking trays – enough to hold the redcurrants in a single layer
The Steps:
  • Preheat your oven to 110C
  • Wash the redcurrants and drain on kitchen paper
  • Spread the redcurrants in a single layer on your baking tray(s) and roast for about about an hour and a half or up to 2 hours, until darkened, shriveled but still a little bit juicy.
  • Scrape from the baking trays and use for baking or add some to your breakfast cereal.
The Results:
  • 500g fresh redcurrants will yield around 75g dried redcurrants

13 Comments

  1. Here in the U.S. my perception is that cookies are less fancy than biscuits. Especially if the biscuits have red currants in them. GREG

  2. Biscuits, cookies, call them whatever you like … just don’t call me late for tea! ;)

    They look fantastic, Spud, and I’m really envying you your harvest of dried currents. I’ll bet they’re scrumptious!

  3. Daily Spud

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

    sippitysup: just goes to show that we can speak the same language but have very different understandings of what was meant :)

    Diva: I’ll call you as soon as I have the kettle on, don’t worry! And the dried currants are fab – in fact it was a wonder the cookies/biscuits got made at all as the dough with the currants was very more-ish…

  4. Biscuits…cookies…I don’t care what they’re called. I’ll eat them up.

  5. Today hubby and I went blueberry and blackberry picking in a field- now I am making all sorts of things, maybe cookies are in our future- see biscuits to me are more like bread, but in many ways they all circle around each other in the flour kind of way…

  6. Daily Spud

    Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    jenn: I bet you would :D

    Chef E: it’s all baking and it’s all good! :)

  7. My mouth would be too stuffed with these biscookies to worry about which term to use. 8-D Crisp outside, chewy inside/sweet and tart: all great contrasting combinations in one tasty round!

  8. Oooh Cookies! They look amazing, DS! Next time you make them, which I hope is soon, double the salt. You know how I am–they will be even amazing-er.

    As an American, I’d be all about dipping these guys in some whole milk, but an evening cuppa with a splash of milk will do nicely, too:)

  9. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Tangled Noodle: you make an excellent point – when one’s mouth is stuffed, no one can make out what you call ’em anyway :D

    Jenni: I do plan on making these again *real* soon and I will double the salt, ma’am, as per your instructions!

  10. Your cookies look so tasty & very apart & special too!

    Waw!! dried redcurants: what a neat idea!

    My mom will love this recipe/ She so much loves redcurrants!

  11. Daily Spud

    Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Oh Sophie, if your Mom loves redcurrants then she should definitely try drying some – they are a really lovely addition to cookies & such

  12. Oh, I love the instructions to dry the redcurrants. I am definintely be doing it. How long do they last with quite a fresh taste ?

  13. Daily Spud

    Monday, August 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Valentina, I’d say that the dried redcurrants will last several weeks and maybe longer if they’re well dried out. I still have a few left in my fridge and after about 4 weeks they still seem ok.

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