You may have noticed I mentioned picnic baskets in my opening paragraph. The picnic is of course an integral part of any race day. Last time I went to the races, on my 21st birthday, I spent weeks planning provisions for the outing and eventually produced sandwiches in several flavours, fluffy buttercream cupcakes in three colours, strawberries and a croquembouche (although that stayed at home).
This time I didn't go overboard. I baked a camembert and chutney-filled brioche (for the recipe for that see my post from January 2013) and some peanut-butter and chocolate chip cookies.
If you know me or regularly read my blog you probably know that I love peanut butter. I fell in love with it while training for a 10km run and a couple of months ago purchased a 1kg bucket of the stuff.
So when I saw the recipe in my Hummingbird Bakery recipe book, it struck me as the perfect thing to make for a picnic. Easy to make and transport, tasty and full of two of my favourite ingredients - chocolate and peanut butter.
There they are, nestled between the prosecco and the still-warm brioche loaf and on top of the paper plates, wrapped in cellophane and decorated with curling ribbon.
This recipe makes 24 large cookies. You will need to either bake these in 4 batches or have a very large oven and 4 large lined baking sheets. Before I give you this recipe, a note of caution: the cookie dough looks more or less the same all the way through. Sorry about that.
You will need:
240g crunchy peanut butter (I consider smooth heresy)
225g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
half a tsp vanilla extract
340g plain flour
2 and a half tsp bicarbonate of soda
half a tsp of salt
75g roughly chopped dark chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Beat together the butters and sugars until light and fluffy.
2. Beat the eggs and vanilla extract into the mixture.
3. Mix in the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
4. Drop tablespoons of cookie dough on the baking sheet, spacing them as far apart as you can and flatten them with the back of a spoon slightly. Bake for about 10 minutes until light brown before cooling on a wire rack.
There, wasn't that easy? Don't get cocky though - be very careful at the baking stage as a minute can be the difference between pale, undercooked cookies and singed edges!