Tuesday 24 July 2012

WSC Chocolate thumbprints and a stew

A challenge from Choclette and inspiration from Kari led us into the supermarket on the way home one evening last week.  We were seeking blackcurrant jam for thumbprint biscuits (or cookies).  I had already been to the supermarket earlier that day but I was too busy child-wrangling to remember the thing I had gone to buy.  I had expected one of the fancier labels to make blackcurrant jam.  All I could find was homebrand and plain old Cottees.

We came home with a jar of Cottees blackcurrant jam to freshly shelled walnuts and some walnut babies that we had made earlier in the afternoon.  (I didn't have any beads like the template I was following so we used playdough which worked ok unless a wee thumb was pressed into it.)

It was late by the time we started baking.  Fortunately I had fed Sylvia as much dinner as possible.  The mixture was so good that I considered eating it instead of making my own dinner.  Sylvia loved it so much that she went and found a spoon.  I think she intended to eat her body weight in the mixture.  I had to put a stop to that.  Though I was tempted to do the same thing myself!  We told each other many times that it was sooooooooo delicious.

I love seeing where people get ideas.  Kari's recipe had evolved from two very different recipes.  I chose to make my biscuits a bit like the richer recipe she used by adding in some ground walnuts and chocolate.  I was also delighted to find an opportunity to use some walnut oil.  As Kari said, it was as good as brownies.  But more portable.  Think of a cross between a brownie and a jammy dodger.

The biscuits were also an ideal opportunity to create a blackcurrant recipe for We Should Cocoa.  Sylvia wanted apricot jam so I used apricot in half the bikkies and blackcurrant in the other half.  I used far less jam than Kari but I followed her lead in baking the biscuits, pressing a thumb (or in my case a half teaspoon measure because the biscuits were so hot), adding jam and returning to the oven for a few minutes.  The jam straight out of the oven seemed so liquid that I was sure it would never set.  Yet it did gel more once the biscuits cooled.  The only other time I have made thumbprint biscuits on my blog, I added the jam before baking, which seems more straightforward.  I wish I had the time and energy to experiment and tell you which way I recommend.

After tasting some mixture and one or two cooked biscuits (for research, of course) I really did need something savoury.  I intended to bake a Casserole of Lentils Rice and Sausage in the oven like Kalyn's but I ran out of puff and once it was cooked on the stovetop, I served it up.  My expectations were low.  E loved it and so did I.  I think it could do with more experiments but it was very good as it came.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Pumpkin cake for Dolly's tea party
Two years ago: Lentil quinoa balls and fun links
Three years ago: Morning Rush Muffins
Four years ago: Vegetarian Cassoulet
Five years ago: Mushroom Yoghurt Pie with Spinach Crust

Chocolate walnut thumbprint biscuits

Adapted from Bite Sized Thoughts and Kitchen Daily
Makes about 24 biscuits

70g dark chocolate
1/3 cup walnut oil (or neutral oil)
1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk)
2/3 cup (scant) brown sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/4 cup plain white flour
1 tsp baking powder
Jam (I think I used about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 180 C and line two oven trays. Finely grind walnuts. Break chocolate into small chunks in a microwave proof mixing bowl and gently melt in the microwave. Mix in remaining ingredients, except jam. Try not to eat the bowlful before you get it in the oven (it is that good). Roll mixture into balls about the size of a walnut. *Make a dent in each with your thumb and drop in about 1/4 tsp jam (I found this enough but add more if desired). Bake for about 12 minutes or until cooked on the outside. Cool on the trays and store in an airtight container.

* I cooked mine for 10 minutes and then made a depression with a half tsp measure because the biscuits were hot and then added jam and returned to the oven for 2-4 minutes. However, as discussed above, I think I would like to try putting the jam in before baking.

Rice, sausage and lentil stew
Inspired by Kalyn's Kitchen
serves about 4-6

2-3 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, grated
6 vegetarian sausages, chopped
350g passata
1/2 tsp wild garlic salt
1 clove garlic
2 cups cooked rice
400g tin lentils, rinsed and drained
shake of smoked paprika
(Note: I think sultanas might be interesting in here but didn't think of this til later)

Gently cook onion in olive oil over a large frypan until very soft and caramelised. While you are cooking onion, grate carrots and add to onions as they cook. Now add in chopped sausages and keep cooking (I did wonder about cooking these sausages first but didn't have time). When onions and carrots are well cooked, add in remaining ingredients. Check seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes to warm through and thicken the sauce.

On the stereo:
Music to watch girls go by: Various Artists


  1. Both the biscuits and the stew sound delicious! I love finding inspiration from other bloggers.

    1. Thanks Joanne - one of the reasons I keep blogging is I love the inspiration

  2. The biscuits look so cute. I've never made thumbprint biscuits before, might have to give them a try one day. I know two people at my house who would love them!

    1. Thanks Mel - thumbprint biscuits are fun - am sure they would be a hit

  3. I also like reading about how people come up with their ideas! And a combo between a brownie and a jammy dodger? How fabulous!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - blogging is great for giving a background story to people's recipes

  4. cute walnut babies! and wow those thumbprints look outrageously delicious! cooking together is so fun:)

    1. thanks GF happy tummy - it was a fun recipe to make together - though the thumbprints were made when the bikkies were too hot for sylvia to help - though imagine what the thumbprints would look like if she had helped

  5. Oh, I am so thrilled you made these! And that you liked them - a cross between brownies and jammie dodgers is spot on as a description. I would happily have eaten my body weight in the mixture too, so well done on exercising restraint not only for yourself but for Sylvia. I love the idea of adding coconut and walnut, and your reduced jam use was probably wise given that Mr Bite thought I used too much.

    I think we would enjoy that stew too, possibly with the sultanas, and I am very enamored with those walnut babies.

    1. Thanks Kari - so nice of you to bring these bikkies into our home - the coconut added just the sort of texture I love and the walnuts were added because we always seem to have walnuts lately - though not often in their shells but I now am excited at the thought of doing craft with the shells

  6. Johanna I'm rather pleased to hear someone else considers eating raw biscuit mixture as a meal. Sometimes you just can't fight the delicousness.

    1. thanks brydie - I don't often consider eating biscuit dough as a meal but this one really had me in its grip

  7. did someone say chocolate thumbprints? OMG..

  8. These sound delicious - you sold me by describing them as a mixture of brownie and jammy dodger. My favourite cake and favourite biscuit combined, how could I resist that? Thanks for entering these into WSC

  9. Those thumbprints sound great - I love the way you've combined recipes to get something so good.


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