Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

CoffeeVanillaCookies1So I had this random dream not too long ago. In the dream, my friend and I were going to see a movie. We took our seats in the cinema, and I told her to wait right there while I bought some snacks. I went down to the snack bar and had a look at my choices.

There was a small packet of popcorn (I don’t know why it came in a packet) that cost $11. This made me angrier than it should have – I was absolutely infuriated with the injustice! Eleven freaking dollars for a tiny packet of popcorn that’s not even hot or buttered! There was also a packet of some generic-brand lollies that was the same size as the popcorn packet, but this was only $3. Even though they looked really gross and unappetizing I bought that one because it was cheaper. And then a whole bunch of other really random and nonsensical things took place because, well, you know how dreams are.

But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, movie food is expensive! Even in my dreams I cannot escape from the totally outrageous prices. I think it’s because for some reason, most people can’t watch a movie without eating. For me it’s also commonly a case of, “If we eat dinner beforehand we’ll be late for the movie, therefore we will eat popcorn for dinner.” And then you see almost-full buckets of popcorn just left behind in the cinema. What a waste – of both money and popcorn!

Sure, you could just buy snacks at the grocery store beforehand (assuming you have time, you’re not lazy, and it’s still open) but here’s another option that lets you get creative and ensures that your house will smell delicious upon your return – bake a bunch of cookies at home and smuggle them into the cinema!

And that’s the story behind how these cookies came to be. It was one of those winter afternoons where I was longing to fill my house with the scent of freshly-baked cookies. Of course, I wanted to share them rather than have them sitting in my pantry and tempting me all weekend, so I toted them off to the cinema and saved approximately ten thousand dollars on movie snacks.

So now let’s talk about the cookies themselves! I wanted to use up a few little odds and ends in my pantry and make these cookies a bit “different” (in a good way, hopefully). The cookies themselves are flavoured with vanilla essence as well as some vanilla-infused instant coffee for a double hit of vanilla goodness. The sweetness of the vanilla balanced out the strong coffee flavor which was quite nice. Then it was time to think about mix-ins! I threw in a packet of white choc chips because normal choc-chip cookies are too mainstream (also because I didn’t have any milk/dark choc chips) and half a container of pistachios. Might as well get creative and put them to good use instead of letting them sit around and go to waste!

Also, because I’ve been really into Spelt flour lately, I used that in place of regular flour. I like to think that this made them a little bit healthier, and would justify the fact that a couple of those cookies, along with a handful of popcorn, was essentially my dinner that night. Not that I’d promote cookies as a healthy alternative to dinner on a regular basis. You’ve got to eat your vegetables, people!

Here’s the recipe. If you don’t have vanilla-flavoured instant coffee (I used Moccona brand) then just regular coffee will work just fine.

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Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla-infused instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp of salt
¾ cup white choc chips
¼ cup pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract, dissolved coffee and sugars with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Sift in the flours and salt and stir in the choc-chips and pistachios.

Drop heaped teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays, leaving ample space between each cookie (about 2-3cm) so they can spread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Leave to set on the trays for 5-10 minutes or until firm, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mocha Cookie Cheesecake Ice-cream

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Remember in my last post when I said I was off to make a cake? Well, I lied. While I can think of nothing more enticing than the scent of a sweet, spicy carrot cake or a pan of rich, indulgent chocolate brownies wafting from the oven on a chilly, overcast Winter’s afternoon, it just doesn’t have that same effect on a hot sunny Summer’s day in Australia. It was the kind of day more suited for a sweet frosty dessert.

I made New York Cheesecake ice-cream once, quite a while ago, and it was amazing. The delicious, tangy tartness of cream cheese was a nice change from the typical sugary sweetness of ice-cream. I was in the mood for something along those lines, but decided to jazz it up a bit by making a Mocha version! I added some coffee to the mixture, and instead of having a “biscuit base” like an actual cheesecake, this ice-cream has crushed Oreos mixed in, much like a Cookies ‘n’ Cream flavoured ice-cream would. I used the chocolate-cream filled ones for extra chocolatey goodness.

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Personally, I think the combination of ingredients turned out great! The Oreo cookies were a fine substitute for the cheesecake base, adding a subtle chocolatey crunch and balancing out the tartness of the cream cheese, and it had a nice coffee flavour without being overpowering or bitter. I think it would also work as an actual ice-cream cheesecake, with a chocolate biscuit base, either with or without the Oreos mixed in.

Also, these photographs were taken with the assistance and expertise of my boyfriend John. You can check out his facebook page and contact him at John Behind The Lens!

As this blog progresses, I’m hoping to learn more about food styling and photography so I can capture all the deliciousness on camera. So hopefully you can look forward to some great photographs in the future!

Mocha cookie cheesecake ice-cream:

(adapted from 500 Ice Creams)

250g double thick cream
240g cream cheese, softened slightly
80g caster sugar (you can adjust this depending on how sweet you want it)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
90g chocolate-cream filled Oreo cookies

1. Whip the cream. Then beat in the cream cheese, coffee, sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is nice and smooth. Pour the mixture into your ice-cream maker and let it churn.

2. When the ice-cream is almost frozen but still quite soft, grab your Oreos, and crush them up into crumbs (I find a potato masher works quite well for all my cookie-crushing needs). You can leave a few slightly larger chunks if you’d like, for a contrast of texture.

3. When ice-cream appears ready (mine took about 20 minutes altogether, but this will depend on your ice-cream maker), pour in the crushed Oreos and let it church until evenly combined. Pour the ice-cream into a freezable container and store in the freezer for a couple of hours, until firm. You may need to take the container out 10-15 minutes prior to serving to allow the ice-cream to soften.

Oh, and serve topped with one of your spare Oreos!