I heard that nobody can actually multitask. I’ve always said though, that what I do is really optimisation for task allocation. So I never wait for the kettle to boil; I always try to put on a load of washing while waiting. I’ve just put my porridge in the microwave; I’ve got time to paint my nails. While the bath is running, I could just start writing a novel etc. Of course, I often misjudge the time for each task and the kettle is boiled and reboiled, while the bath over runs and the novel doesn’t get written. Softening butter in the microwave is a task which really does require your full attention. If you come to a recipe that needs softened butter and you need to make it now because, well, you’re hungry, never fear. Weigh out the cold butter into the bowl in small pieces and then microwave for 5 seconds at a time (NO MORE!), checking each time, until it’s soft enough to use.
Peanut butter cookies
(makes about 16 cookies)
125g butter, softened
70g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract/squeeze of vanilla bean paste
50g crunchy peanut butter
175g plain flour
about 30g peanuts, roughly chopped, to decorate
Preheat oven to 160’C fan. Line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheets.
Cream together the butter and sugar and then beat in the egg, vanilla and peanut butter. Then mix in the flour until well combined. (Add a bit of flour if it’s too sticky). Divide into about 16 balls. I’m a bit precise about this so I split the mixture in half, then half again, then half again, etc. until I get 16. Pop the balls on the baking trays and flatten with your hand.
Press some of the chopped nuts onto each biscuit.
Bake for about 12 minutes until starting to go golden at the edges. Cool for a couple of minutes on the tray and then transfer onto a rack to finish cooling.
Tip: You could make a double batch of the mixture (just use a whole egg, instead of 2 yolks), and freeze half of it raw. You could even freeze them at the stage just before cooking, and cook them from frozen – just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.
Throwback: Chewy white chocolate cookies – one of my favourite Lorraine Pascale recipes!