When I was a kid I used to love friday nights.
After sharing dinner with my family my dad would present to my three siblings and I our weekly 'treat'. The crowd favourite was the infamous Buzz Bar, a little, chewy, honey flavoured marshmallow bee covered in a thin layer of chocolate. We would go nuts for it. I can remember so looking forward to that once a week ritual - and the pleasant fuzzy sugar high after it.
I'm lucky - because of my parents deliberate emphasis on "treat" foods throughout my childhood, I've always grown up being a very healthy eater. Mum would feed us raw carrots and cauliflower as an afternoon snack and all of our baked delights were homemade. Cocopops were reserved for when we would stay with our grandparents and McDonalds was consumed only at those weird in-restaurant birthday parties. The beauty of a backyard veggie patch meant I got to see how a cherry tomato looked before it was packaged up in a plastic punnet. Most importantly, my mum had to feed four kids. We weren't allowed to be fussy and if we were to even squeak out a culinary whinge, it wouldn't have been heard over anyone else anyways.
We have this one particular family video Dad took one Sunday of us all pottering around the house. It's funny how telling it is of our now future selves.
Michael is zooming around, annoying everyone on his bmx and playing with lizards.
Chris is falling off his bmx and crying and watching the Land Before Time for the hundredth time.
Amanda is tottering around in mums high heels, necklaces draped around her neck, demanding dad film her.
And I'm about 3 years old, in the kitchen standing on a stool so I can reach the bench top, concentrating so hard on rolling out some biscuit dough, off in my own little world.
Which is why it isn't suprising to know that I spent this arvo making homemade dark chocolate and sour cherry biscuits. If I'm going to indulge, I figure there is so much more enjoyment to be had in taking the time and care to make it myself. To know exactly what's going into it and to know that when I eat healthy and clean all week it's amazing how much more I can appreciate the sweet weekly ritual. Just like when I was a kid.
Dark Choc and Sour Cherry Biscuits
From the 'Bourke Street Bakery' cookbook - possibly the best baking book I have ever read
240g dark chocolate (fair trade)
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 a teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter, softened
240g soft brown sugar
1/2 a cup dried sour cherries (or any other dried fruit/nut you'd prefer - but sour cherries really work here)
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well to combine.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into the bowl in three separate batches, whisking each time to incorporate everything evenly. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or in a stainless steel bowl over simmering water (I use the microwave but be careful - don't use a glass bowl as I find this tends to heat up too quickly and burn the chocolate easily - I always melt chocolate in a ceramic bowl in the microwave and find this is best for an even melt and is so much more less likely to burn).
Pour the melted chocolate into the mixture and stir together with a spoon. The mix will be quite sticky and thick. Chuck in the sour cherries (or other dried fruit) and mix again to combine. Place the mixture in a fridge to cool down for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whack the oven on to 165 degrees Celsius to start pre heating.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Grab a large tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball and place on the tray. Repeat until all the mixture is used up (should make about 12 large biscuits). Don't squish the balls down - they will expand as they cook. Place in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool and harden. Then enjoy the fruits of your labour- because these cookies are so rich they are really good with an icy cold glass of milk. Classic, unbeatable combo.