It just so happens that Janice of Farmergirl Kitchen has the very same book as mine - My Learn to Cook Book: a children's book for the kitchen by Ursula Sedgwick with fabulous and much loved illustrations by Martin Mayhew. We both still have our original copies, although mine resides at my mother's and we were both given our books as a present from a Great Aunt. Mine was given as a Christmas present when I was eight and I immediately set to and cooked my way through the entire book. I don't think there is a recipe there I didn't attempt, some with more success than others. You can tell which recipes I used a lot by the copious staining on some pages. The page for Zoo Biscuits is almost completely blue from the food dye I used to paint the biscuits. Some recipes such as the Chocolate Mousse I carried on using well into my adulthood. Some recipes are frankly, a little bizarre. The fruit fried sandwich, which is two slices of bread sandwiched together with bramble jelly and grated apple and then fried in butter is not something I find immediately appealing. On the other hand, I've just made some bramble jelly and I have a house full of apples ..........
Crispy Crackolates from the book for the first time in many a long year. This time, I decided to have a go at the Chocolate Drops - more commonly recognised nowadays as choc chip cookies. Although the book gives fairly explicit instructions most of the time, it does let you down on occasion. I had no clue as to how many biscuits the mix was meant to make. As I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't want to have to prepare more than one baking tray, I heaped mine up into 12 mounds which made for crispy edges and a chewy middle. Sixteen would have made a better and flatter size, but you live and learn or at least that's what you are meant to do. I used wholemeal spelt flour and Willie's Venezuelan 72% chocolate drops for added wow factor and because I'd just managed to get some on special offer.
- Creamed 2 oz unsalted butter together with 2 oz caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in a medium sized egg and a ¼ tsp vanilla extract until combined.
- Sifted in 3 oz wholemeal spelt flour and a pinch of sea salt, then stirred until just combined.
- Stirred in 2 oz dark 72% chocolate drops, which I'd previously cut into pieces as they were quite large.
- Spooned heaped teaspoonfuls onto a line baking tray to make 12 mounds - now realise 16 smaller mounds would have been much better.
- Baked at 180°C for 12 minutes until brown around the edges and golden on top.
Would love to hear your first cookbook memories.