Saturday, 19 June 2010


Cookies with a sordid past

Several years ago Mr B made me some cookies that are fairly popular in Sweden called "Chokladsnitt" ("chocolate cuts") and were very yummy.

Mr B made these quite often and I normally brought them into work because it's difficult to justify two people eating an entire batch of cookies in one sitting.

When I first moved to London I was working with Her Majesty's Courts Service as Court Secretary in the now defunct* Marylebone Magistrate's Court (where Bob Marley was fined for possession of cannabis in 1977).

One of my responsibilities was with and to the Justices of the Peace. Three Justices of the Peace can sit together and hear certain types of cases here in England.

Every one of the JPs I worked with was monied to some level or another. There were even a couple of Ladies (titled, noble women, no exaggeration). One of these woman was so posh that when I spoke to her she'd look straight through me and not respond. At all. I didn't exist in her world, it seems.

She was not my favourite.

My favourite JP was a gentleman who, while not titled, had more money than god. He, unsurprisingly as we got along so well, was refreshingly down to earth.

The first time this wonderful man had Chokladsnitt he seriously proclaimed that "they simply -must- contain marijuana!" (imagine this said with a Queen's English accent) because nothing -legal- could taste that good.

Needless to say, they were a big hit and often requested.

Shortly thereafter, however, I was diagnosed with an egg-sensitivity. Total bummer as the Chokladsnitt normally contain at least one egg in most recipes (normally two if you add the pearl sugar).

It was quickly decided that we -must- discover a substitution for eggs. (I was intolerant to milk, too, but dairy-free margarine is reasonably easy to find, thank goodness.)

Eggs in recipes can be replaced by lots of things and it very much depends on the purpose of the eggs in the recipe.

For the Chokladsnitt the egg acts as a binding-agent. A few Google searches recommended using jam in place of eggs and when Mr B and I decided that we preferred cherries with chocolate...

A new star was born!

These modified Chokladsnitt have (on many occasions and in different places around the world) been baked in conjunction with the "standard" ones and by -unanimous- vote have come out as a resounding winner.

Mrs B bakes now presents Körsbär Chokladsnitt (I apologise, but because of the intricacies of the Swedish language I couldn't even -begin- to explain now to pronounce that!)

Let's call them Cherry-Chocolate Cuts or "Marijuana" Cookies (as they're known in our house).

The recipe is fast and fun. Great for a last minute treat and especially good when baking with children.

Cherry-Chocolate Cuts

500 ml (2 cups) plain flour
200 ml (just under one cup) sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanillin sugar (quick cheat: mix 1 drop of vanilla extract with a teaspoon of powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g (7 oz or 1/2 stick) dairy-free margarine
3 tablespoons cherry jam (we prefer Morello)

Pre-heat oven to 190° C (375° F)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, forming a dough.

Don't do what I did here... As you can see my mixture is still very dry, very grainy. Don't mess up and use only -half- the required amount of margarine. It -will- make a difference!

This is -much- better!

Divide the dough evenly. Mr B makes six even parts while I have a difficult time dividing into thirds so just keep "halving" the dough until I get 8 even parts.

Now roll the dough into snakes. I love it when I can play with my food!

Use your fingers to press the snakes and flatten them a bit. **

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes.

Cool completely and cut at a "jaunty" angle. (This is how they're traditionally cut in Sweden and I think it adds to their personality.)
Serve and enjoy! (Store in an airtight container/bag. These should last a good few days, given the chance!)

*Marylebone Magistrate's Court has been mostly demolished and rebuilt into a Super Court. I worked in it in 2005 when it still had strange staircases, a diving board, tiles from the old bath-house and a "haunted" cell area.

**Please don't mind the gloves, they're there for two reasons that are, really, one in the same. I have very very sensitive skin. Because of this and eczema and psoriasis -I- feel my hands have aged prematurely. This is a source of major embarrassment for me and you'll never find a picture of me that -I- have posted/shared that shows my hands because of it. Also, I am allergic to most foods when raw. I can handle some "simple" salad-type veggies normally, but even then I have to be careful when getting them on my hands.

Besides, it's just so much more hygienic wearing gloves in the kitchen.

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