Southern Comfort Dinner

I’ll say it now- I’m not a big fan of cheese dishes. Now that’s out of the way I will admit to having cravings for them on occasion. Specifically one dish- Mac and Cheese. The stalwart comfort food that’s good enough to dissuade even a turophobe like me. One evening I took a fancy to make mac and cheese. Along with fried chicken. Along with Southern buttermilk biscuits!
Pairing the cheesy pasta dish with fried chicken and how could I not be on board? Whilst doing my research on fried chicken I came across “Comeback Sauce”. Originating in Mississippi this dipping sauce is a spicy condiment guaranteed to have you licking your fingers and indeed “coming back” for more.
When put together all of this dishes are for me the ultimate comfort food dinner and well worth the effort. After posting about it on my social media I was surprised by the interest in it and after much feedback from you- here it is! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

4 Cheese & Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced bacon
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 4 cups dried macaroni elbow pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 ground white pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup Velveeta processed cheese product
  • 2 cups freshly shredded Gouda (smoked can be used)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded sharp red cheddar
  • 1 cup fresh shredded Jarlesburg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesean
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease/ butter a large casserole dish ( I used 11″x 11″x 2 1/2″)
  2. In a frying pan or skillet fry the chopped bacon until lightly brown. Add the maple syrup and continue to fry until crispy. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate and allow to cool. (When cool the bacon may stick together. Break up to smaller pieces if needed)
  3. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and return to pasta pot to keep warm. Lightly toss in olive oil to prevent clumping
  4. Combine the shredded cheeses and set aside until needed
  5. In a separate small bowl stir together the Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs and melted butter. Set aside until needed
  6. Prepare the cheese sauce base. In a large pot melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir to coat in butter. Cook over a medium heat until golden.
  7. Gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly with a small whisk to prevent lumps
  8. Once all the milk has been added cook the sauce over a medium heat until bubbling. Cook for 2 minutes, again stirring constantly, until thickened
  9. Add in salt and pepper, and stir to mix
  10. Reduce heat to low, add in the Velvetta and stir to melt
  11. Once the Velveeta has melted, add in the shredded cheese mix in stages stirring between until each addition is melted. Once all the cheeses have been added continue to stir until smooth. Remove from the heat
  12. Add the prepared macaroni pasta and crispy bacon pieces and stir well to combine ensuring all the pasta is covered in the cheese sauce. Transfer to your prepared casserole dish
  13. Sprinkle the top of the pasta mix with the breadcrumb mix
  14. Bake in the prepared oven for between 20-25mins or until the crumbs are golden.

Southern Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl and stir to well combined
  2. Add the cubed butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form
  3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Pour the buttermilk on top. Stir everything together until just about combined– don’t overwork the dough. The dough will look like very crumbly
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently mould it into a rough looking rectangle using your hands. Next fold one side into the centre, then the other side. Turn the dough so it’s long horizontally. Gently flatten. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough so it’s long horizontally once more. Gently flatten. Repeat the folding one more time
  5. Gently roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles. Re-roll any scraps until you have 9-12 biscuits
  6. Arrange close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure they’re touching
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top.
  8. Remove from the oven and, if desired, brush with melted butter. Enjoy warm. When cool, cover tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

Buttermilk fried chicken

Ingredients

  • 12-16 chicken breast fillets
  • Canola oil for frying

Marinade

  • 4 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Flour seasoning

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Method

  1. Whisk together the buttermilk and dry ingredients and place in a shallow casserole dish
  2. Place the chicken pieces into the marinade and gently stir to coat. The pieces should at least be semi-covered in the liquid
  3. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge
  4. In another shallow dish or plate mix together the seasoned flour ingredients
  5. Remove the chicken pieces from the fridge, remove from buttermilk (do not remove any excess marinade) and dredge one at a time in the flour mixture. Press the mixture into the chicken whilst dredging. Again do not remove or shake off any excess. Leave the coated pieces to rest on a plate to one side whilst you heat your oil.
  6. Pour canola oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot or pan, so that oil only comes halfway up the pot. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F (180 C). Add 4 pieces of chicken to the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Fry chicken for 4 minutes per side, adjusting the heat so it hovers between 280 F (145 C) and 300 F (150 C)
  7. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain (and check for doneness by opening chicken or using a probe thermometer to read 175 F). Cover with foil to keep warm and continue frying other chicken pieces *if oil temperature drops due to frying process, simple reheat to original temperature
  8. Keep chicken pieces warm until ready to serve

Comeback Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2/3 Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth and well combined
  2. Keep refrigerated until serving
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#Recipe #Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Following up on my previous post with three delicious ways to use this season’s favourite, the pumpkin, here a couple of other recipes in the form of the humble “cookie”. Snickerdoodles are everyone’s favourite. The addition of pumpkin elevates them to another level of seasonal Fall goodness.  Autumn in a cookie! With the oatmeal cookies you a a much more rustic baked treat. These are a handful (literally!) and you’ll be all the better for it! The combination of soft-baked oats, pumpkin and Autumnal spices just begs for a tall glass of milk!

The recipes are ideal for baking with the little ones, however as always leave the oven work to the grown-ups. Get them rolling, scooping, drizzling and in no time at all you’ll have some very happy little tummies.

I hope you have fun baking and wish you and your families a very happy Halloween full of spooky, fun-filled goodness!

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Cookie Dough

Makes 36

  • 3 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (make sure it’s 100%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Sugar Crust Coating

  • 1/4 cup fine (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  • In a bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice. Mix until well combined
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment), cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl
  • Mix in egg yolk, followed by pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
  • On a low speed,  add in dry ingredients (I usually do it a couple of heaped tablespoons at a time) then mix until combined.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in cling warp and chill in the refrigerator for 30- 60 minutes
  • After the chilling time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie baking sheets with baking parchment
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • Scoop dough out 2 tablespoons at a time and shape into a ball
  • Roll the dough ball in cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat then transfer to prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.
  • Bake in preheated oven 14-16 minutes
  • Remove and leave cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks  unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée (make sure it’s 100%)

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons Ice-wine syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie baking sheets with baking parchment paper
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg and mix until well combined
  3. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until lightened in color and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium until incorporated
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour/oats mixture and mix until incorporated. Add half of the pumpkin puree and mix until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour/oats mixture and pumpkin puree
  6. Using a 1/4 cup, drop scoops per baking sheet (approximately 6-8) spacing them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Reserve the remaining dough until needed
  7. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and continue baking until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges, about 12 minutes more
  8. When baked remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough (you can use the same parchment paper). Leave all the cookies to cool completely before glazing

 

For the glaze:

  1. Place all of the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth
  2. Place all of the cooled cookies on the baking parchment. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies in a pattern of your liking
  3. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes

#Recipe #Pumpkin Three-ways

Let’s get one thing outta the way. I kinda love October…in a BIG way! New food becomes seasonal, leaves turn amazing colours and  the temperatures become a little bit more bearable. Oh and there’s Halloween! If you’re a Halloween-hater or nay-sayer then I’m afraid we can’t be friends. It just ain’t gonna happen. It’s become my family’s steadfast tradition at this point – December belongs to reindeer, candy canes and Father Christmas; October is ghosts, vampires and all things nocturnally unspeakable! The Season of The Witch reduces me to giddy school-kid levels of excitement and anticipation. The opening staccato of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme giving me bats in my tummy (you see what I did there?) In the space of a couple of days I’ll transform our house from a 2.4 family dwelling in to a suburban Gothic haven.

However enough about that- you’d didn’t come here to read of my penchant for ghouls, ghosts and creatures of the night. It’s impossible for me to think of October and Halloween without thinking of pumpkin. Image can be a powerful thing and as soon as the calendar turns to October 1st, scenes of those orange orbs of rustic goodness flood my brain- pumpkin patches; Jack O’Lanterns; pumpkin pies. So it only seems fitting to present to you some recipes as an homage to the humble Cucurbita Pepo. As always I try to give you something a little different not so much in the Pumpkin Pie variety of recipes! All of these recipes use canned pumpkin. I have enough labour what with all the carving and excavating of pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns  so I try to avoid it in other areas. When using canned pumpkin be sure to use those which are 100% pure pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Madeleines (2)

Brown Butter & Tonka Bean Pumpkin Madeleines with

Chai Caramel Dipping Sauce

Madeleines
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 1 Tonka bean, grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups cooking cream (35%)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chai spice mixture

Pumpkin Madeleines (1)

To make the madeleines

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 12-shell madeleine pans with baking spray or cake release. (Or brush with melted butter and coat with flour, tapping out the excess flour)
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is a brown color, It will now start to have a “nutty” smell. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool (You’ll notice small brown/black particles. Don’t worry these are all part of brown butter!)
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, mixed spice and tonka bean. Mix to combine and set aside until needed.
  4. In a stand mixer bowl add the eggs and sugar and with the whisk attachment mix on medium-high until the mixture is light in color, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until combined.
  5. After removing the bowl from the mixer, fold in the flour mixture gently by hand. Once the flour is completely added, gently pour in the cooled melted butter and fold it into the mixture until completely incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure no pockets of unmixed ingredients
  6. Pour the madeleine batter into a large piping bag (fitted with plain circular nozzle, or snip the end of the bag off)
  7. Fill the prepared trays with batter in each mould to 3/4 depth
  8. Bake the madeleines for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and golden
  9. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack

*Keep in an airtight container for up to for 2-3 days. The madeleines can also be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated in the microwave or in a 350F oven before serving.

To make the dipping caramel

  1. In a heavy-based saucepan combine the brown sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat and allow the sugar mixture to deepen in color, approximately 240F (Soft Crack on sugar thermometer)

*excercise care in these next few steps!

  1. Remove the saucepan with the melted sugar from the heat and add in the salted butter. Whisk briskly and carefully so that it melts and becomes incorporated into the sugar mixture. It may hiss and spit so please take care!
  2. Next add the cream in a steady stream and stir to fully incorporate. Again take care at this point.
  3. Stir in the chai spice mixture
  4. Pour into the small ramekins or mini-milk bottles to serve with the pumpkin madeleines

*The final caramel sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. I find it’s best if removed from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to allow it the return to full “saucy goodness”. If you prefer it warmed, heat in a microwavable container in 10-15 second bursts until it at desired temperature

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Pumpkin Bread (1)

Cinnamon Cheesecake stuffed Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Loaf
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground gloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Cinnamon Cheesecake Filling
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (caster) sugar
  • 4oz Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Bread (2)

To make the cheesecake filling

  1. In a bowl beat together the filling ingredients until fully combined and smooth
  2. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside until needed

To make the pumpkin loaf

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
  3. In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
  4. In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
  5. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep  the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals
  7. Remove the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips
  8. Pour the mixture equally between the two prepared tins to 1/2 level
  9. Pipe a stripe of cheesecake mixture from the piping bag into each tine. Ensure that the cheesecake mixture doesn’t touch the sides of the loaf tin
  10. Once all the cheesecake mixture has been used, use the remaining pumpkin batter to fill up the loaf tins. Level the tops of the mixture
  11. Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
  12. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tins until fully cooled. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed

*These loaves get better over time- after a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture.

Pumpkin Bread (6)


Pumpkin Cookies (3)

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons ice-wine syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Cookies (4)

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside until needed
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 10 mins)
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, ice-wine syrup, pumpkin puree and continue to mix until well combined
  4. Add the flour mixture a heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined, with your mixer set to low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Remove the fully mixed cookie dough from the bowl, divide into two and wrap in cling-wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or preferably overnight
  6. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F, line two cookie trays with baking parchment, and dust a work surface with confectioners (icing) sugar)
  7. Remove one of the batches of dough from the fridge and on the dusted work surface, roll to a thickness of 4-6mm. Cut out shapes using dusted cutter cutters. Lift the cookies with a spatula or palette knife and place on the lined cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. I find it works best baking them a tray at a time, so that whilst one tray is in the oven you can cut and place the cookies for the second tray
  9. When baked remove the tray from the oven and let cool for 1 or 2 minutes before again using a spatula or palette knife transfer the baked cookies to racks to cool. Be aware that the baked cookies will be soft but they will firm up upon cooling

*The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.

Pumpkin Cookies (2)

There you have it- three wonderfully, tasty ways to use the season’s stalwart staple…and not a pumpkin spice latte in sight. Enjoy!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thankgiving and a sookily fun and safe Halloween from here in The Kitchen.

Recipe Alert…Peanut Butter Oattie cookies

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My Peanut Butter Oattie cookies are packed full of oats giving them a soft, chewy texture with whole peanuts adding pleasing crunchiness. Make sure you use salted peanuts as they add wonderful pockets of tangy saltiness contrasting the sweet oats.

Sweet, salty, chewy and incredibly moresish- you need to try these beauties! They’re proving incredibly  popular in my household at the moment- I’ve already lost count of the times I’ve been asked to make them. A fantastic treat to have in stock when the kids bundle home from school- a hard days “Rock; Paper; Scissors” having depleted their energy levels! Partnered with a glass of cold milk it’s indeed a marriage made in heaven. But it’s not just my children who can be found pilfering the cookie jar when these are about. My husband’s preference for the savory means he’s oftened to be found checking emails with cookie in hand!

I call them cookies as opposed to biscuits as a personal preference. For me biscuits represent something more uniform and structured- exact bites of crumbly sweetness. The cookie on the other hand is something more rustic. A ballsier rebel of the Baking World conforming less to the rules of appearence and plunging headfirst into the realm of flavours. Cookies don’t care how you think they look- they prefer to let their flavours make an impression. These cookies are not your small, danity bite size treats. They are large handfuls of tastiness- not meant to be nibbled on but greedily chomped at. Partnered with a glass of cold milk your satifaction is sure to be sealed with dripping, grinning milky moustache.

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Peanut Butter Oattie Cookies

Makes between 24-30 (depending on size)

175g Unsalted butter

225g Crunchy peanut butter

4 tablespoons Maple syrup

150g Caster sugar

150g Light brown sugar

2 large Eggs

1 tablespoon Vanilla extract

225g Plain flour

2 teaspoons Bicarb of soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

250g Jumbo porridge oats

100g Salted peanuts

 

Method

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and both of the sugars. Set to beat on medium speed. Beat for about 10 mins.
  • Whilst the butter mixing is beating you can get on the the other parts of the recipe. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • In a separate large bowl combine the flour, bicarb of soda, and salt.
  • Add the porridge oats and peanuts and mix throughly.
  • To the butter mixture add 1 egg and beat to evenly incorporate. Add the remaining egg and once again beat to evenly incorporate.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and slowly add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until just incorporated. Add in the remainder of the dry ingredients and once again mix until just combined. The batter will be quite stiff and lumpy. Don’t worry- this is exactly what you want.
  • Using two dessert spoons or an icecream scoop, place plarge balls (slightly larger than golf-ball shapes) onto the lined baking trays. Leave apx 2 inches between each cookie ball as they will spread whilst cooking they will spread. (I’m never too fussed about having them an even size as I think having them varying shapes and textures adds to their charm and  tastiness).
  • Place the cookie trays into the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until they spread and are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the baked cookies to rest on the trays for about 8-10mins. They will still be a bit soft at this point so remove from the trays with a fish-slice or flat spatula and leave to cool fully on wire racks. During cooling they will frim up some more giving a soft cookie texture.
  • Once fully cooled, remove from the rack and enjoy.

 

In the meantime,

“Remember Mom’s the word- that’s Mr. Mom’s!”