Cunning parenting tricks I learned from my mother #324: A constant supply of baked goods at home keeps your kids off the street.
Growing up, my mother's artful ploy to keep an eye on us was executed with the help of her baking prowess. Our house was renowned for its limitless supply of home made treats, enticing our friends into our warm kitchen and (unbeknownst to us) under her careful watch.
I seem to be emulating this model. With my oldest in the throes of (pre)adolescence and the facing 20 straight years of teenage trials and tribulations, I am looking for all the parenting help I can get. Four boys between the age of almost 12 and almost 18 months, I have to admit, can generate a fair amount of maternal angst, noise and chaos. To relieve my nervous energy, I furiously bake. Luckily, I now have a constant supply of consumers for said baked goods which eliminates any concerns about excess scraps hanging around the kitchen. It also gives me ample opportunity to eavesdrop. You know what they say about every cloud?
Half term holiday started this week with an abundance of leftover soured cream in the fridge (over purchased when making my current favourite icing). These chocolate drop cookies were a regular feature growing up, and a perfect use for those dairy dregs lurking around. They are like little chocolatey pillows - the cookie version of a moist chocolate birthday cake from your childhood, and were one of my mothers winning tricks to lure my friends around our kitchen table. They were particularly popular in the summer months when frozen on either side of a scoop of ice cream to make the perfect sandwich.
Soft chocolate drop cookies are equally high on the popularity list here. They take no time at all to make and require no pre-bake rest (incidentally, this is very irritating when I just want throw something together before a crowd walks through the door).
I need to add, that I have absolutely no idea how the recipe landed in our family collection. I remember sitting in my mother's kitchen carefully transcribing the ingredients into my first ever recipe notebook, but at the time I was not particularly fussed about the recipe's origin. She thinks it may have come from a parent when she was a student teacher in the early 70's ("but don't quote me"). So, if anyone recognises this (even with my slight alterations), please let me know!
Soft Chocolate Drop Cookies
170g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
60g (1/2 cup) cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
170g (6 oz) soft unsalted butter
200g (1 cup) caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
115g (1/2 cup) soured cream
Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line 2 cookie sheets with slipmats or parchment paper
Combine all dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and whist together to combine
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes)
Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between. Add vanilla and soured cream and beat again. Don't worry if the batter appears split at this stage it will come back together with the dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients slowly (otherwise your kitchen will be filled with a cloud of cocoa) and combine. Once it is all incorporated give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure there are no white streaks.
Drop the batter onto the cookie sheets with an old fashioned ice cream scoop with a spring. Or you can use 2 spoons. This makes around 24 cookies depending on how generous you are with your scoops.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. They will be soft but no longer wet on the top. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.