White Choc Macadamia Cookies

On the last episode of Frugal Feeds, I left you guys with my family recipe for The Best Apple Pie in the World and nobody really indicated that they found the recipe useful or anything (you’re missing out, guys, seriously) so I dropped the recipes pretty much altogether, thinking maybe I have the wrong demographic for them here. But now I’m kind of trying this new thing where I don’t care what people find cool or not-if it piques my personal interest-and I need somewhere to keep my favorite recipes, so too bad, here’s another one!

Let me preface this by saying that I love Subway cookies. Not that shallow kind of superficial love where you think a particular nail polish colour looks really good on you, but that deep kind of meaningful love that gives you the cajones to shamelessly ask a Subway employee on the late night bus carrying several bags worth of end-of-day cookies whether he’d be willing to part with one of them. I’m not kidding, this actually happened.

Unfortunately, I don’t go to Subway every day, so my access to these cookies are limited. That’s why I did a bit of snooping around the Internet, tweaked recipes here and there, added stuff and removed stuff, and finally came up with the best recipe for my knockoff version of Subway’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.

Ingredients (Makes 24 big cookies):

  • 250g of butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • 2½ cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 200g white chocolate (tastes better with proper chocolate rather than cooking choc chips)
  • 200g macadamia nuts (look around between Woolworths and Aldi, these things are expensive!)

Preheat your oven to 160°C.

1. Grab a big bowl and use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, vanilla, sugars, and eggs until creamy. Sift in the flour and baking powder combination and mix that in well too (I usually do this with a spoon because one false move and your whole kitchen will be dusted with flour and you’re having to explain to your housemates why you have white eyebrows and the dog has a white toupee).

2. Roughly chop up your chocolate and macadamias. This CAN be done with a food processor but I like it done by hand because you have less choc nut powder and more chunks, which is what you want. You want your pieces to be about the size of peanuts and half-peanuts.

3. Mix your chocolate/nuts into your cookie dough, folding it in until it’s well-combined.

4. Line some baking trays with grease-proof paper and set out your cookies by hand in a vaguely circular shape, leaving a couple of centimetres between each cookie to adjust for the melting. I did these ones by hand but my mother (who is a genius), showed me an easier way involving making a thick log of cookie dough, wrapping it up in cling wrap like a sausage, popping it in the freezer for about an hour, and then cutting slices to put on the pan. Genius.

5. Bake each set for approximately 15 minutes, give or take a couple of minutes depending on your oven. You’re going to want your cookies to still be blonde, in other words, because as soon as they get that golden colouring, they’ll lose their “gooey” factor. Pull the paper off with the cookies on top, rest them on a wire cooling tray somewhere, reapply paper, and repeat the process until you’re out of cookie dough.

6. Eat. But not too much, because you’ll feel violently sick after the 8th cookie.. trust me on this one..

Frugal Feeds: Apple Pie

Welcome to the second edition of Frugal Feeds–it’s like Cooking for Dummies but 35% less patronizing. This post is brought to you today by popular demand of my lovely readers who apparently have a hankering for some good old fashioned apple pie. After my flaunting my father’s apple pie on my Instagram account (check it out if you have time, it’s like a cute mini version of Carbon Chic!), I’ve had a few requests to “dish out” the recipe, so here it is.

All ingredients can be bought from your local supermarket. I bought most of these things from Aldi because they’re cheaper and my local store has a current special on Granny Smith apples ($1.50 a kilo!), but any store will do, really.

My dad has been trying to teach me this recipe for ages, but since he’s a baker by profession and I’m a professional screw up when it comes to the simplest of recipes, I’ve adapted his version into something a little bit more precise. He calls it his “1, 2, 3” recipe. One part butter, two parts sugar, and three parts flour. Follow that sort of structure and you shouldn’t go wrong, but here are the estimated measurements for the shortbread:

  • 3½ cups of flour
  • 1½ cups of sugar
  • 150g of butter
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ cup of milk

The sugar I’m using today is my own “special blend”–half a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown sugar because I’ve apparently run out of white sugar. Ha, ha.. I don’t think it matters what sugar you use–the last time I used only white sugar, the recipe turned out pretty much the same, although my shortbread was a bit drier than it is today. I compensated by adding a bit more flour to my recipe for today (that’s a bit more on top of the 3½ cups needed for the recipe) so the shortbread would come together properly.

As for the butter, I have absolutely nuked this stuff in the microwave; I’m an impatient person so I didn’t feel like waiting, although what the sensible chef should be doing instead is melting at 10 second intervals and stirring inbetween to stop the butter from separating.  I, uhm, don’t actually notice a difference from using separated butter in the recipe versus using good butter, but Google tells me that apparently your dessert will turn out more greasy if you do it my way, so maybe patience is a virtue when it comes to things like these. Anyways, carrying on–!

Click “more” to read on (the following parts are a bit image-heavy):

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Frugal Feeds: Chicken/Veggies

This post is the first of its kind on Carbon Chic! I don’t know if it’ll be the last, it depends on the interest, I suppose. I also just wanted to be able to share the sort of things that I’ve been cooking and eating recently.

I’m a very fussy eater and it’s become quite a burden on my life. It always plagued me how hard I made it for my social life.. and my dating life. Before I go to a restaurant, I always have to check online to see what their menu is and if I can eat anything on it–If there was fancy garnishes or weird sauces, forget about it! Onions? Chilli? Seafood (that’s not out of  a fish and chip shop)? Blerghhhhh. It complicates my life a lot, so I’m hoping to expand my palate by cooking for myself and experimenting with flavors until I can open myself up to something more complex.

Today, I’m going to show fellow fussy eaters (and just lovers of food in general) how to make my mother’s classic chicken and vegetables. Since I’m a novice cook, I’m going to make this super easy for you, too. Whether you’ve cooked one meal, a hundred meals, or burned boiling water before, you’ll know how to make this.

Get your ingredients and equipment prepared. You’ll need a large knife, a peeler and a chopping board. You’ll also need some plastic tongs, but I forgot to include them in this picture here, so just pretend they’re there, next to the carrot. For the first stage of this recipe, you’ll need a carrot, two potatoes, an onion (doesn’t matter what variety, red, brown, anything goes), and a clove of garlic.

You’ll want to peel your carrot and potatoes first. Chop the carrots roughly 1cm thick and the potatoes in rough pieces no bigger than a matchbox or they won’t cook, but not small enough that they fall apart in the pan. Just slice the onions into six or seven circles–it doesn’t really matter. Onions are icky as well so we won’t be eating them. (Unless you like onions, I guess.) Finely chop the garlic or use a garlic crusher or whatever.

We’re going to combine everything in a bowl and separate the onion rings. Now we take out two very important elements to this dish–olive oil and Vegeta. I don’t think it matters what variety of olive oil you use, whether it’s normal, virgin, or extra virgin (or super slutty). Put your large pan on the oven and turn it onto medium heat and add enough oil just to coat the bottom, but not enough so that the vegetables will be broiling in it when you add them, then go back to your bowl and add a dash of olive oil and sprinkle some Vegeta over the vegetables. You kind of have to do this by eye, there’s no exact measurement. Mix the ingredients around by hand or just use the bowl to toss the vegetables around if you’re good at that sort of thing. Add some more Vegeta if you think you need it, toss some more, and then toss into the pan.

Shuffle some stuff around with your tongs, make sure that there’s only one layer of vegetables sitting in the pan and all the potatoes and carrots have contact with the bottom of the pan. I move the onions to the top at this stage because I’ve found they always stick to the pan afterwards if I cook them underneath. At this stage, you’ll want to sprinkle your garlic above everything, put a closed lid on top of the vegetables, and turn the heat down to low. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

While that cooks, you’re going to want to prepare the rest of your vegetables and your chicken. Cut a breast piece lengthwise in two pieces and add some Vegeta on top for flavor. Slice up a few pieces of broccoli and 4 mushrooms. I know a lot of people don’t like mushrooms, but you haven’t tried them the way I make them. I didn’t like mushrooms either, but I’ve found a way to tolerate them quite well and actually enjoy eating them now.

Anyways, when your timer goes off, lift the lid and place your two chicken pieces in the middle of the pan, seasoning side down. Turn some of the potato and carrots if you feel so inclined, and add your broccoli wherever. Put the lid back on and put your timer on for 7 more minutes.

At the 7 minute mark, lift the lid, turn the chicken, turn up the heat a little bit to get a bit of a golden burny colour on your vegetables and a light sear on your chicken, and put the lid back on. At this stage, you’ll want to start making your mushrooms in a small, separate pan. Add some olive oil to the pan and set the stove to medium heat. If you’re not particularly health-conscious, a bit of butter tastes way better than olive oil for cooking mushrooms. As soon as the pan gets hot, throw your mushrooms on and sprinkle Vegeta over them. Just mix them around while you’re waiting for your timer to go off. When it does, everything should be ready! I sometimes turn up the heat at this stage while I’m unloading everything onto my plate because I like the little crispy bits on my potatoes (so I lift them out last), but it’s not necessary, they’re cooked through.

Voila! Dinner for one, for less than you’d pay for a Happy Meal. There’s quite a lot of potatoes here because, as Michael puts it, I eat like a horse, but if you can’t eat this much, you can easily lower the quantities of food.

I hope you enjoyed this rather unusual Carbon Chic post today, and I hope it inspires other fussy eaters  as well! As for my other readers, don’t worry, we’ll be going back to the fashion-related posts in a snap.