Sunday, 23 October 2011

Baking with Julie: Spiced fruit cookies

As long time readers of my blog may know, one of my favourite ways to spend my leisure time is to bake and on my day off on Thursday, I was delighted to get the time to do just that. Inspired by the falling leaves and cooler temperatures of the last couple of weeks, I was feeling decidedly autumnal, so when it came to choosing a recipe,it seemed only natural to plump for one of my autumn favourites; these spiced fruit cookies that feature in The Australian Women's Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking. I've tried and failed to find a link to this book online, but if you're based in the UK, it's available from WH Smith and it comes highly recommended!

Spiced Fruit Cookies (or Crunchy Muesli Cookies if you prefer the book's name for them!)

Source: Slightly adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.


  • 90g rolled oats
  • 150g plain flour (I used self raising instead)
  • 220g caster sugar ( I used granulated sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon ( I always use mixed spice; it's just a personal preference)
  • 35g dried cranberries (I replaced these with 40g of glacé cherries, finely chopped )
  • 55g finely chopped dried apricots (I replaced these with 50g raisins)
  • 70g slivered almonds (Didn't use or substitute anything in their place)
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (Omitted as I used self raising flour)
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (I preheated mine to 160/ Gas Mark 3 as I find that extra 10 degrees really does make a difference!) and grease and line baking trays.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit and nuts (if using) in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter with the golden syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat; add the bicarbonate of soda (if using) and boiling water. Stir the warm butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
  4. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls, place on trays 5cm/2 inches apart and flatten with hand. Bake for about 20 minutes (I baked mine for nearer to 30), then cool cookies on trays before transferring to wire racks.
  5. Eat and enjoy!!
Makes: 36 (I usually make 22-24 as I generally make mine them than the suggested size).

So there you have it: a really tasty and easy recipe that makes you think of autumn with every bite (it does with me, anyway!) If you're interested in more recipes, stay tuned as I'm planning to bake on at least one of my days off every week and I'm definitely going to share the results with you all.

'Til next time...

PS: I can only apologise for the lack of photos in this post. I was fully intending to take them as I went along, but forgot. I then decided to take a picture of the finished product but by the time I got round to it, they'd all been eaten!! At least I know the recipe works, I suppose!

Friday, 21 October 2011

10 new job has taught me.

I'm back! Even if it has taken me 6 weeks longer than I promised (but I'm going to choose to ignore that!). Seriously, this new job has taken over my life in a way that I really hadn't considered before I started it; I've even had dreams about it for goodness' sake!! But in the midst of all this craziness, I've been learning. Not just about the policies, systems and procedures that come as part and parcel of my role, but also about what working full time is really like (I've not done it for ages, don't judge!) and even more about myself as an individual. And as a little gentle intro into blogging again, I'd thought I'd share a few of these discoveries with you. Some are serious, others a little more tongue in cheek, but valid all the same.

  1. It seems that whatever job I take on, I will always be a worrier. I'm always going to get stressed and think that I'm terrible at what I'm doing. I have my fingers crossed that this will subside with time, and take at least a little comfort from the fact that the customers I'm dealing with can't see me panicking!
  2. It is possible to be completely exhausted by doing seemingly no more than sitting staring at a screen all day. And in the same vein, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to be falling asleep before 9:00 PM.
  3. A full time job can render a person seemingly incapable of blogging and checking emails for a very long time. Well, in my case anyway!
  4. Payday is the best day of the month, bar none. And if it should happen to fall on your last day of work before some time off, then all the better!!
  5. Never have your lunch outside on a beautifully warm and sunny day; you won't want to go back inside to work. Ever.
  6. The days you get off work are so much more precious when you don't have that many off them.
  7. The people who work in call centres are so much more diverse than I ever would have thought. From teenagers fresh out of college to middle aged men and women seeking a career change plus young graduates in the fields of architecture, American studies and law, to name just 3. A random mix of people, with one thing in common.
  8. My wardrobe is even larger than I would have given it credit for. Over the last (almost) 7 weeks, I have been able to wear something different practically every day. Despite this, however, shopping is definitely still the first thing on my mind come payday.
  9. And whilst we're on the subject of clothes; picking an outfit for a "normal" work day: generally pretty straightforward. Selecting something to wear for "dress down" day: so much harder!!
  10. The job of the communications manager seems to be nothing more than sitting around and sending emails. This may or may not be one of the reasons why I want her post for myself!!  ;-)
And there it is. Keep your eyes peeled for another blog post soon (ish!) It may be 2 days, it could be 2 months (but hopefully not the latter!!)
'Til next time...