I suppose What’s Cooking should consider itself lucky to have been my one and only Christmas cookbook as it’s meant I’ve spent a copious amount of time getting to know it. Allow me to tell you a little about the book that claims to be a step by step collection of baked dishes. It certainly is an eclectic mix of recipes. Chapters are divided into Puddings & Pastries, Breads & Side Dishes, Vegetarian Baking, and Cakes and Cookies. As an added bonus every single recipe has a picture of the final product as well as step by step photos. The chapter on Vegetarian Baking somewhat baffles me as I think it should perhaps be renamed Vegan Baking. Regardless, it has both sweet and savoury recipes that call for predominantly whole wheat flour as opposed to all purpose. I have yet to attempt any recipes from that chapter. I have, however, tried out the Chocolate Bread, Cheese and Onion Pies and Oat and Raisin Cookies.
The Chocolate Bread gave off a wonderful aroma while baking but had a very subtle chocolate flavour and only a faint hint of sweetness. I baked it with the intent of making Chocolate French Toast and it was certainly good as such. It would also work for PB & J or PB & Banana sandwiches.
The Cheese and Onion Pies were a surprise hit for me. After making them I decided I wanted to try a little nibble and that little nibble turned into me devouring a whole pie… This book seems to have an abundance of onion recipes, including: Celery and Onion Pies, Mini Cheese and Onion Tarts and Red Onion Tart Tatin to name a few.
My favourite recipe of the three that I tried though, were the Oat and Raisin cookies. They were soft and chewy, homey and just plain good!
Final verdict? This book contains an interesting mixture of sweet and savoury baked goods. Some of the recipes seem like an odd choice, but hey, I’m a little weird myself, so I guess that’s alright. I’m actually curious to try out some of the vegan recipes as those are something that I’m not at all familiar with, but it’s going to be awfully hard for me not to throw in a handful of bacon. The photos of every recipe are certainly a bonus and the Oat and Raisin cookies are going to become a regular in my kitchen.
Oat and Raisin Cookies, (Adapted slightly from What’s Cooking: Baking by Emma Patmore)
4 T butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup plump raisins
2 T sunflower seeds
Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the beaten egg gradually and beat until well combined.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the creamed mixture. Mix well
Add the oats, raisins, sunflower seeds and mix together thoroughly.
Place spoonfuls of the mixture well apart on the prepared cookie sheets and flatten them slightly with the back of a spoon.
Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.
Let the cookies coo slightly on the cookie sheets.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.
Makes 16-18 cookies.