The Violet Bakery Cookbook is definitely one of the more exciting new baking titles to have graced my shelves in recent times. As in, not just that I want to make everything in it but that I have already read each section in its entirety, many, many times...
The Violet Bakery is a small, East London-based bakery run by food writer, stylist and consultant, Claire Ptak. What began its days as a cupcake stall on Broadway Market has blossomed into a gorgeous, seasonally focussed bakery that tempts with all manner of sweet and savoury treats. I still remember the ginger molasses cake from those early market days (on what was my first ever visit to London), and while that was certainly top-five on the "must bake" list life was such that I needed a cookie, and so I went with these oatmeal beauties instead.
Throughout the book Claire shares a number of useful observations regarding flavour (like using salt to enhance sweetness, rather than adding more sugar), and the important point that she makes in relation to this particular recipe is: always make your own candied peel. Personally I believe that sentiment should apply at all times, as there really is nothing else that compares to the texture or flavour of a homemade batch, and a little bit of effort now will go a long, long way. While Claire suggests using sultana and orange, I decided to pair some leftover candied lemon peel with currants, resulting in what was essentially Earl Grey tea in a biscuit. Rather well suited to a cosy afternoon indoors, don't you think?
OATMEAL & CANDIED LEMON COOKIES (Adapted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak)
- 250 g butter, softened
- 200 g light brown sugar
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g plain flour
- 60 g wholemeal flour
- 150 g rolled oats
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 g currants
- 50 g candied lemon peel, diced
Cream the butter and sugars, until combined, then add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, bicarb soda, cinnamon, salt and oats. Add to the butter mixture, along with the dried fruit and candied peel, and mix to combine.
Roll tablespoon-sized portions into balls, place on a baking tray lined with parchment, cover with cling film and freeze for at least 1 hour* before baking.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and arrange the cookies on a lined baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them to spread. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before baking at 180°C for around 18 minutes, until the edges are crisp and golden, but the centre is still soft and is slightly undercooked. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 18 cookies.
** Cookies can be frozen for up to a month. I found that freezing them for at least 12-24 hours (i.e. overnight) resulted in a better shape.