I’m talking prepared in the baked goods arena, and you will be pleased to learn that this tip is the perfect addition to my SaL series – that is, an activity in which you can be both Smug and Lazy – the dream combination for all things domestic .
I’m talking about using the freezer to its max potential. And I don’t mean keeping it stocked with mars ice creams (although any decent freezer also has its fair share of mars ice creams).
I’m talking about the next time your child’s school has a bake sale you’d forgotten about (every bake sale); or the next time someone pops round unexpectedly before your ocado order arrives / before you’ve had time to get to the store — let’s be clear, I am talking about looking like you are the ultimate in domestic preparedness!
Get freezing. I had no idea – and who kept this from me – I mean, I knew you could freeze cookie dough, for example, and I did do that every now and then, and I felt pretty smug about it. But that still involved realising 12-24hours in advance of needing the cookies, removing the dough from the freezer to thaw, then shaping and baking. Not ticking the lazy criterion in the way I’d like.
This is a new level of ease. You make a big batch of, say, cookie dough or – gasp – scone dough – and you roll it and you shape it and then instead of baking straight away, you bloody flash freeze it.
For the uninitiated, that means making them, shaping them on a baking tray, covering in cling wrap and freezing. Once they’re solid, you can take them off the tray and pop them in a freezer bag. Then, when you need them (or more likely, when you run out of hob nobs OR just fancy a nice freshly baked cookie!) you pop one, or three, on a tray and bake – just for a minute or so longer than you would have done otherwise.
This was a total revelation for me and I have made it my mission to always have a bag of something in the freezer. It has worked with all the recipes I’ve tried so far but for now I will share the best chocolate chip chewy American style cookie recipe I’ve come across. If you want to serve these to children you can by all means, as I do, just cut the sugar content and chocolate chips down and throw some chia seeds/tahini/ground flax seed in to assuage your guilt. As long as they are in a cookie shape and contain some melted chocolate chips then your children will happily wolf them down. If you are planning on serving them to adults though, or to have on hand in the event of one of those days then I wholeheartedly recommend not altering the sugar levels. Perfect with a cup of tea. Your future self thanks you.
This was originally from a recipe from the BBC good food site although I have made it so many times it is written in my recipe book with extra pencil at the top that says, manically, ‘1/3 batch!!!’ – because the recipe makes so many cookies you cannot imagine ever getting through them. Clearly this was before my freezing revelation took hold, as now of course I routinely make the whole lot for the freezer – or maybe a half-batch if I am feeling a bit stingy)
350g plain flour (unsifted)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g caster sugar
175g soft brown sugar
1-2tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
350g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks – or 350g chocolate chips if you are feeling lazier
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5 (OR NOT IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON FREEZING THEM ALL!)
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl – flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs.
Gradually beat in the flour mix.
Stir in the chocolate.
Shape into spoonful blobs on a tray. Freeze or bake, depending on what kind of day it is.The original recipe – and perfect photo – can be found here.
Coming next: the perfect SaL scones to keep in the freezer