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It's Time to Make Further Savings, So Let's Get Baking.
Having decided that November should be a 'use it up' month, rather than a 'main grocery shop' month, I have been busy using up whatever I can in an effort to reduce the stockpile of food in our house.
The main reason for doing this is to ensure that I stay within my £4,000 annual budget, as per the annual Frugaldom Challenge but in trying to do that, we always run out of something.
Milk is the main thing needed, along with the occasional chicken, but I have plenty of bacon and at least 3 pheasants in the freezer, so we won't starve. We're slowly working our way through the garden vegetables, rhubarb and apples that had all been blanched or stewed and then frozen and I have plenty of dried goods, like pasta, rice and pulses.
The loss of the hens has been a bit of a blow, as we'd become accustomed to always having eggs to fall back on when a quick meal was required. Today's meagre offerings amounted to one solitary egg, laid by one of the bantams that survived the mink attack! This is the first egg that has been laid since that day - 15th October - so I'm hoping it's a sign of more to come. If only the ducks would start laying soon.
But I digress.
Having friends visit for coffee most weeks means it can get a little embarrassing with no biscuits to offer, so today's household challenge was to rake about in the cupboards and see what could be turned into cookies in time for this weekend's visitations.
The following is my basic cookie recipe:
8 rounded tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons margarine (melted)
2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Having that solitary egg was a blessing, I can tell you!
To the above, I added:
6 tablespoons of sultanas
2 heaped tablespoons sesame seeds
Quarter teaspoon mixed spice
Quarter teaspoon cinnamon
Extra sprinkle of sugar
Mix everything together until it forms a soft dough that can be easily split and rolled into balls
This should be enough for 36 cookies. Roll each into a ball, flatten them between palms and then place them on a floured tray. I prefer to have the trays sprinkled with flour rather than greasing them - they're easier cleaned if you haven't any hot water.
Bake at 200C for around 15-18 minutes, depending on how thick you made them. At this point, I switch off the oven and leave the biscuits in there for about 5 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer onto wire cooling trays, where the biscuits will dry and crisp up a bit. (Always best to taste them while they're still hot, though, lest they all get scoffed before you get the chance to sit down with a cuppa.)
Cookies are so easy to make. You can add just about anything you like into the basic mix - chocolate chips (add a tablespoon of chocolate powder as well, if you want to make them double choc chip), dried fruit, nuts, porridge oats, berries, seeds, coconut, sweets, toffee chips, muesli, ginger, spice, cinnamon, fudge pieces, Smarties, M&Ms ...
If you want extra luxury, you can coat the cookies in chocolate.
If you want chunky cookies, roll larger pieces of the mix and just flatten them down a little.
If you want many, many frugal cookies, roll them thin and bake them for a shorter time, or else slow bake them at a lower temperature if you want wafer thin, crispy biscuits.
Right, that's the cookie baking taken care of for this weekend and it has saved me from spending any money buying biscuits from the shop. Result!
Let me know if you try these and what you added to yours.