This year I signed up to take part in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for the first time. It started off in the USA but has now gone international. The idea is that you bake 36 cookies, all the same recipe and then send 12 off to 3 different people who are also food bloggers. In return you also get 3 parcels each containing 12 cookies from 3 bloggers. It’s a great way to discover new bloggers and more importantly find out how good other people’s baking is compared to yours!
I made some chestnut cookies from my copy of ‘Big, soft, chewy cookies’ to give away to my swap partners, it’s a good book, I managed to pick it up on Amazon for a few pounds a couple of years ago and I would recommend it as there’s a lot of great ideas in there. I was a bit brave with these as I had never made them before so I made a small batch first just to make sure they turned out OK and tasted good. I have now decided that these are my favourite cookies until I find anything better and I think they could become a regular bake in my house. The good news is that as these use tinned chestnut purée they can be made all year round, as long as you find the purée in the shops, it only seems to be on sale here in December so I may have to stock up on a couple of tins. I also used some of my homemade vanilla extract in this recipe, I found out to do make it from this post by Ros. I made 2 bottles and have given one to my Mum, it’s very easy to do and works out a lot cheaper than the little bottles you can buy. It’s also a never ending supply as all you need to do is top up the bottle with vodka as it gets used and maybe chuck in an extra vanilla pod now and again.
Ingredients – makes around 40 but easily halved, recipe adapted from ‘Big, soft, chewy cookies’ by Jill Van Cleeve
480g unsalted butter at room temperature
450g unsweetened chestnut purée
850g granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
560g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 190C. In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and chestnut purée together until smooth using an electric whisk then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Continue beating whilst gradually adding the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, you need to do this slowly otherwise the flour will go everywhere! Make sure all the flour is incorporated, you may find it easier to finish off the mixing with a wooden spoon. Use a dessert spoon to drop heaped spoonfuls onto non stick baking trays, leave a 5-6cm gap between each one as theese spread a lot in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.