Chocolate Almond Crunchies
Although you can buy high quality cookies, making them at home still has the edge, and because they are so easy, it's a very good place to start if you are a beginner in home baking. I've used "adult" chocolate in these, but for children, chocolate chips would do fine.
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup demerara (or raw) sugar
- 2 teaspoons golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
- 1/3 cup whole almonds, unblanched
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
You will need two baking sheets measuring 11 x 14 inches, lightly greased with peanut or another flavorless oil.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
First of all, using a sharp knife, chop the chocolate into small chunks about 1/4 inch square. Now put the butter, sugar, and syrup in a saucepan over the gentlest heat possible and let it all dissolve, about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the nuts into pieces about the size of the chocolate chunks. When the butter mixture has dissolved, take it off the heat. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt and add the oats and half the chocolate and nuts, giving all this a quick stir before pouring in the butter mixture. Now, using a wooden spoon, mix everything together, switching from a spoon to your hands to bring everything together to form a dough. If it seems a bit dry, add a few drops of cold water.
Now take half the dough and divide it into nine pieces the size of a large walnut; roll them into rounds using the flat of your hand. Place them on a countertop and press gently to flatten them out into rounds approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter; then scatter half the remaining chocolate and almonds on top of the cookies, pressing them down lightly. Once you have filled one baking sheet (allowing them room to spread out during baking), bake them on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes while you prepare the second sheet. When they're all cooked, let them cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. You could store the cookies in a sealed container, but I doubt you'll have any left!
For Apricot Pecan Crunchies, use 1/4 cup of dried apricots and 1/3 cup pecans, chopped, instead of the chocolate and almonds.
For Cherry & Almond Crunchies, use 1/2 cup of dried sour cherries and 1/3 cup sliced almonds.
For Raisin Hazelnut Crunchies, use 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/3 cup hazelnuts.