Cooking for Teens: Easy Starter Recipes, From Homemade Tim Tams to Quick Brownies | Australian food and drink

Since I was a child cooking has always had an appeal, and baking and cooking have played a huge role in my life. Excuse the bad pun but, for some reason, cooking kindles an intense flame in me.

It’s the creativity of turning basic ingredients into something exciting. It’s the way food brings people together. It’s the colors. It’s the smells. Cooking takes me to an alternate reality where anything is possible, and I am more myself.

Cakes with chocolate chips

The classic chocolate chip cookie. Photography: Penguin Random House

My chocolate chip cookies can also become your signature!

Makes 10

230 g unsalted butter, softened, cubed
165g brown sugar, firmly packed
110g caster sugar
2 eggs from free-range hens
375 g plain flour
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
350 g of good quality dark chocolate chips (50-60% cocoa solids)
1 tablespoon of sea salt flakes, to garnish the cookies (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar, and mix for two minutes or until light and fluffy.

Use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs and mix on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy (and no longer seems to separate). Add the regular flour, cornstarch and baking soda and mix on the lowest speed until all the flour is barely incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix on the lowest speed until the chocolate chips are evenly incorporated into the dough.

Use your hands to mix the dough – it should now be quite sticky – to make sure the chocolate chips are evenly distributed. Divide the dough evenly into 10 balls. Make sure to keep it loose, as the cookies should be light and airy. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet (do not press them), leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie to spread out. Top each cookie with a pinch of sea salt (optional) and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. These cookies are best the day you bake them, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container for up to two days.

Take-out brownies

When I first started making sweet treats, these brownies were in demand everywhere I went. They’re great to make if you’re short on time, because they’re so simple – just throw everything in a bowl and toss, and 30 minutes later you have the best gooey, chocolatey brownies ever.

Small plates of brownies on a table
“These brownies have been in demand everywhere I’ve been”: these gooey, chocolatey treats are quick and easy. Photography: Penguin Random House

Makes 12

4 eggs from free-range hens, room temperature, whipped
240 g unsalted butter, molten
75g of cocoa powder, Thames
440g caster sugar
150g plain flour, Thames
85g dark chocolate chips (50-60% cocoa solids)
icing sugar, serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C and line a baking sheet (preferably 18 x 25 cm or similar) with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the rest of the brownie ingredients except the icing sugar and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Make sure you don’t over mix the batter, as this will cause hard, dry brownies – and we want the opposite!

Pour the brownie mixture into your baking sheet, using your spoon to spread it evenly and press in the corners to make sure the entire tray is covered, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until let the environment tremble. (You can check by pressing a fork – or your finger – against it.)

Remove from oven and let cool completely, then sprinkle with icing sugar to serve if you like a little extra sweetness.

Tim Tams homemade

Homemade Tim Tams on a yellow plate
A house version of the Australian classic. Photography: Penguin Random House

Which favorite cookie isn’t a Tim Tam? Here is my take on this classic.

Makes 12

For the rusks
230 g unsalted butter, ambient temperature
150g brown sugar
110g caster sugar
2 eggs from free-range hens, ambient temperature
485g plain flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 teaspoons of baking soda
25g cocoa powder

For the chocolate buttercream
90g unsalted butter, ambient temperature
250g icing sugar, Thames
30g cocoa powder, Thames
1 tablespoon of malted milk powder
80 ml whole milk

For the chocolate filling
200g dark chocolate (50-60% cocoa solids)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar for three minutes, then add the eggs and mix another five minutes until the mixture is smooth, pale. and sparkling. Add the regular flour, cornstarch, baking soda and cocoa powder, and mix until just combined.

Roll out the dough into a disc (this will make it easier to spread later), wrap in a kitchen towel and refrigerate for at least an hour or ideally overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it out into a sheet 5 mm thick. Remove the paper and cut the dough into four 8 cm rectangles, and place it on your baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely.

To make the chocolate buttercream, combine the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle for two minutes or until smooth. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and malted milk powder and mix on medium speed for three minutes or until smooth and fluffy.

With the blender running on low speed, slowly pour in the milk and continue to mix for two minutes or until the mixture is well combined, scraping the sides as needed. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm nozzle.

Made by Morgan cookbook cover
Hipworth’s Made by Morgan: 60 Epic Recipes Now Available Via Penguin

To make the chocolate filling, combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a double boiler and stir continuously until smooth. (You can also melt the mixture in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth.)

To assemble, lay the buttercream filling on top of a cookie and place another cookie on top to create a “sandwich.” On a wire rack, place the chocolate filling on top and sides and let stand.

About Ethel Nester

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