I am so happy I am clicking my heels together in glee. Why? I am the proud owner of a brand spanking new kitchen – complete with a new, massive, electric oven and gas cooktop! Yippee! Whilst the rest of the house renovations are not yet complete – I still have plywood and a classy (ahem!) blue tarpaulin covering big holes in the kitchen walls where a door and windows will one day be – I feel so lucky for the fact that I have a fully functional, shiny new kitchen… With lots of luxurious storage space (I’ll post some pictures once the windows and door are done).
Needless to say, I have been spending a bit of time lately getting to know my new friends in the kitchen – the cooktop and oven. Already the cooktop has played host to an Indian feast, a selection of delicious stir-fries (it so much easier to get the ‘breath of the wok’ when working with a gas wok burner!), tasty fried rice, steamy soups, sizzling steaks and more. The oven has been off to a bit of a slower start. My last oven was small and had a broken seal that meant to retain any kind of decent heat we had to jam it closed with a chair! It meant that at times I was reluctant to use it – as dancing around an already small kitchen with a chair now plonked in the middle was a pain. Now I have no excuse to avoid flogging the oven.
However, in an attempt to get to know the personality of my new oven, I’ve managed to give it a workout with a couple of different dishes. First up, the oven has played host to a delightful, golden roast chook with all the trimmings (heavens above – it cooked in the usual amount of time – not needing an extra 30 minutes??!!) Next up were Lebanese spinach and feta triangles seasoned with baharat cooked by my hubby. This weekend just gone, I felt like baking. With a few hours of quiet in the house on Saturday morning, I turned up the music and got mixing (perhaps a little too vigorously as I managed to snap my wooden spoon in half, oops).
Not wanting to pop out to the store, I based my decision on what to cook based on what supplies I already had in the pantry. Fig and walnut cookies it was! Using a standard oat cookie dough, I improvised with ingredients I had on hand to come up with these slightly chewy, not too sweet, delicious cookies. This simple recipe can easily be adapted to suit ingredients you have on hand – I’m already thinking that the next ones I make might include dates, almonds and orange zest… or maybe dried cherries and dark chocolate… the possibilities are endless. Happy baking!
Fig and Walnut Oat Cookies
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes: Approx 24 medium sized cookies
125 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp greek yoghurt
1 cup self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
150 g dried figs, chopped and tough stem removed
180 g walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 170°C
2. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla together using electric mixer until pale and thick
3. Add egg and yoghurt and mix to combine
4. Fold through oats until barely combined
5. Sift flour over oat mixture and fold until almost combined
6. Add figs and walnuts and fold until all ingredients are combined (the mixture is quite stiff )
7. Line 3 large baking trays with baking paper (or if you only have two, just rotate them once the first batch is done)
8. Place dessert spoonful’s on the tray, allowing room for the dough to spread (e.g. about 3-4 cm between each ball of dough)
9. Bake in batches for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown
10. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely (but do enjoy one when still warm)
11. Store in an airtight container for 5-7 days (if they last that long!)