Coming home after a vacation is bittersweet. On the one hand, home is home. On the other, as the emails start to pile up and the to-dos get compiled, it’s hard not to have that crushing feeling of “oh, crap. Real life is back.” Not to mention that after spending 5 days in the company of friends, with the air filled with laughter and comraderie, walking into a cold, dark apartment comes with it’s pang of sadness.
In which case comfort food is the ticket, and I’ve got just the thing.
Cookies! But not just any. Hob Nobs. Homemade ones. PEANUT BUTTER ones.
Have I ever told you my story of when I first fell in love with all things McVities? I can pinpoint it- summer of 2005. I arrived in Scotland, my first stop in a summer spent overseas, studying (i.e. “studying”) and backpacking, where I met Treacle, who was legit studying there. We’d go to the store and she’d grab rolls of these strange cookies. Digestives. Hob Nobs. What weird names, right?
But oh my GOD were they the best. And I became obsessed, and henceforth always had a roll with me at all times as we made our way from London to Budapest and back. And on that trip, when I knew I would have to wait years to get more, I stockpiled seven (7!) rolls in my carry-on as I boarded my flight home.
Only to get searched at customs. They let me through, but #embarrased.
Flash forward to today, my love for the aforementioned still running long and deep. However, they’re not SUCH a novelty since I can buy them, albeit at an exorbitant markup, at many a local grocer. I’m glad for it, but a little part of that makes me sad because the “special foods” that were once just a novelty to be enjoyed on vacation- the Cadburys, the Kinders, the Ritter Sports and the McVities- are no longer as special.
I guess the good thing is that I don’t have to embarrass myself at customs anymore.
I’ve had a few recipes for these scattered throughout my recipe book marked “to make” for a while now, and I figured it was time to follow through. The recipe that I’m using today comes from Top with Cinnamon, though the method comes from LondonBakes at Food 52. I added my own twist by adding a peanut butter drizzle to each cookie. Why? Because whenever I buy them, I slather PB on it anyway. Best to just make consumption a one-step process. You know, efficiency.
I ended up using peanut butter chips rather than regular peanut butter because I wasn’t confident that the PB would set, even if I added some coconut oil and no one wants cookies to stick together. The chips set perfectly, making these nice and stackable, staying true to the originals.
- 9 TB unsalted butter, at room temp
- ⅓ cup plus 1 TB light brown sugar
- 2 TB golden syrup (you can probably use honey)
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 4 TB wheat germ
- 1 cup minus 2 TB whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 125 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 TB butter
- To drizzle
- 3/4 cup peanut butter chips
- 1/2 TB butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachments, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until pale and smooth. Add the syrup and beat to combine. Stir in the oats and wheatgerm followed by the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- Gather the dough together with your hands to bring it together, being careful not to over-handle it.
- Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. If the dough becomes too warm and sticky, pop it in the fridge to firm up.
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut out your cookies, and place them on the baking tray.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until just golden brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Spoon a little bit of chocolate onto the top of each biscuit and use a palette knife, butter knife or the back of a spoon to spread it over the surface. Set them aside to harden.
- Meanwhile, using the same method, melt together the peanut butter chips and remaining butter. Place into a sandwich bag and cut the tip of one corner off, or a piping bag. Drizzle peanut butter over the chocolate-coated biscuits in a desired pattern. Leave to set again.
- Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Written during a spontaneous watch of The Half-Blood Prince.