Conversation at home can become quite surreal sometimes. Take yesterday, for example. My three children (aged 9, 6 and 5 years … which reminds me that I really should get around to updating my About page – they would all seriously object to being described as ‘small’ now) were sitting around the kitchen table, drawing pictures whilst waiting for their dinner to appear magically before them.
M: Is that a spaceship?
L: (no response)
M: Please tell me that’s a spaceship because it looks like one.
L: It’s a fried egg.
L: No. It’s a spaceship.
T: It looks like a fried egg.
M: Flying saucers look like fried eggs. That’s a spaceship.
I’m enormously unqualified on the subject of space travel and was therefore unable to contribute anything particularly insightful to their discussion. Instead, I mumbled something about chocolate and biscuits and rockets and stars and cookie cutters. There was a brief silence while the three of them stared at me and came to a mutual, unspoken conclusion that their Mum was going crazy again, and then they bent their heads once more over L’s picture and continued debating the various attributes of fried eggs and flying saucers.
Although I have to admit that I may at times have a fairly tenuous grip on reality, on this occasion I wasn’t spouting nonsense. You see, my post on Jubilee Nutella Cookies was featured recently in a review of favourite blogs by the online gift shop, Dotcomgiftshop. I was then invited by the very friendly Dotcomgiftshop team to review some of their products and present them to … well … you lot, really. Normally I’d say thanks but no thanks (hrumph corporate hrumph blogs hrumph advertising), but I took a look at their website and was swayed by the quirky appeal of their product ranges. Candy-striped fizzy pop cups and retro popcorn holders, vintage party ice cream tubs with wooden spoons – just like the ones the ice cream ladies sold from trays hanging around their necks in the interval between the trailers and the main feature in old picture houses. And Charlie & Lola hot water bottles (I can always be swayed by anything Charlie & Lola).
Sorry, I’m getting side-tracked. What was I going on about again? Oh yes, fried eggs. No, that was my children. Chocolate and biscuits and rockets and stars and cookie cutters – that was it.
Well, the Dotcomgiftshop team kindly sent me a Spaceboy Children’s Baking Set to try out at home – which is why I thought that the mention of chocolate and biscuits and rockets and stars and cookie cutters might be something not entirely unrelated to my children’s apparent interest in space travel. Once they’d caught on to the idea, they thought so too.
The baking set contains a spaceboy-themed collection of cupcake cases, rocket and star cookie cutters, a small wooden spoon and rolling pin, a child-sized metal whisk and a gingham pinny (which has very useful ties rather than a loop to go around the neck – which avoids the need to thread a too-big loop through an excess of waist ties just to stop the whole thing slipping downwards). T was also delighted to find a booklet for keeping a record of his recipes. We wrote up the first recipe in his book together this afternoon – Blast Off Biscuits.
I love this biscuit dough. It’s so smooth and velvety but holds its shape beautifully when baked. I can’t remember where the original recipe came from so many years ago, but when T wrote on his Mother’s Day card that he loves me because I make chocolate biscuits, these are the chocolate biscuits he was talking about. Biscuit love.
And so my little helper and I set off on the ultimate spaceboy baking trip.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …
Blast Off Biscuits (as written by us in T’s little spaceboy recipe book)
7 oz butter
6 oz golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz plain flour
2 oz cocoa powder
Cream the butter and sugar.
Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Mix in the flour and cocoa.
Make a ball.
Wrap in clingfilm.
Chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Line a baking tray with parchment.
Roll out the dough.
Use a rocket and a star cutter to cut out the biscuits.
Lift them onto the tray.
Bake for 6 to 10 minutes.
Leave to cool on the tray.