Click on an image to get the full recipe and a little bit of background information.
While reading Olive of Groves, you may suddenly develop a longing for choc-chip bickies. Or perhaps there are friendly rats living beneath your bed and you know that choc-chip bickies are their favourite treat.
Here you will find my own special recipe, perfected over the baking of thousands of bickies. Bake away and don't forget to share with a friend ... or a visiting author.
Makes approximately 70 small bickies or one large bickie, suitable to feed an elephant, a woolly mammoth or a hungry teenager.
250g butter - softened at room temperature. (Unless you live in an igloo, in which case it should be softened at body temperature by sticking it up your jumper for 10-15 minutes.)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon salt
2½ cups plain flour. (You may need up to 3 cups of flour ... 4 cups if you spill a cup on the floor. If you find yourself needing more than 5 cups of flour, give up. Open a packet of chips or a block of chocolate instead.)
3 cups chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Cream butter with both kinds of sugar.
3. Beat in vanilla, salt and eggs, one at a time.
4. Beat in flour and baking powder. Mixture should be as moist as possible without sticking to your finger when poked.
5. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Spoon dollops of the desired size onto lined baking trays. Leave approximately 5 cm between each dollop to allow bickies to spread as they bake.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and still a little bit soft.
8. Cool on tray for five minutes before lifting off with an egg slide and cooling on a baking rack.
9. Feed to the talking rats that live under your bed.
A heaped teaspoon of dough will form a regular-sized bickie, but it can be fun to play around with bickie sizes. The limit is your imagination ... and the size of your biggest baking tray!
Hmmmm. Which one would you choose?
You should never offer your baking to someone without tasting it first ... just to make sure that it's your best work, of course.
A Recipe in the Testing
Perfecting a choc-chip bickie recipe is a complex and scientific process.
While reading Olive of Groves and the Great Slurp of Time, you may want to nibble on blueberry muffins. Here is my own special recipe.
Once you have baked and eaten a blueberry muffin, you may also feel a strange desire to use the now-empty muffin paper as a hat. If so, make sure to lick as many muffin crumbs out of the paper first, then turn it upside down and sit it on your head at a jaunty angle. And be sure to take a photo and send it to me!
80 g butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups SR flour
½ cup milk
2 cups blueberries - fresh or frozen
1. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla until creamy.
2. Beat in flour and milk.
3. Stir in blueberries - just until distributed evenly through the mixture. Too much stirring will cause your muffins to go completely purple. If you like purple muffins, knock yourself out. Stir like crazy until all cream-coloured batter turns to an inky purple.
4. Spoon batter into muffin papers, reaching three quarters of the way up the sides.
5. Bake at 180C for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through.
Hmmm. I might have been a little too enthusiastic with the stirring once I added my blueberries. This mixture looks quite purple. Less stirring means more cream-coloured batter.
Warning - Blueberries stain!
Make sure you wear an apron and use an old copy of your recipe. Fingers and tongue can turn blue, too!
Gingerbread Men and Mice
In Olive of Groves and the Great Slurp of Time, Olive takes a trip with Basil Heffehuffenheimer to his home in the Black Forest in 1857. His mother bakes, among other things, gingerbread men.
In The Girl Who Brought Mischief (When Mischief Came to Town for American readers), Grandmother bakes gingerbread men for Inge Maria. When it is Inge Maria's turn to bake, she makes gingerbread mice and three-legged gingerbread turkeys.
You can use this recipe to try your own gingerbread men, mice, three-legged turkeys or other crazy creatures. Let loose! Have fun!
250g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¾ cup golden syrup
4 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
Extra plain flour for dusting board
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Beat in golden syrup and egg.
4. Stir in flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarb soda. Add a little more flour if necessary, until dough is soft to touch but no longer sticky.
5. Turn dough onto floured board and knead lightly until smooth.
6. Press dough into two balls. Wrap in cling-wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
7. Place dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick.
8. Use shaped cutters or the tip of a knife to cut out gingerbread men, mice or three-legged turkeys. Place on paper-lined baking trays 4cm apart.
9. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Cool for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.
Rolling the dough flat.
Cookie cutters make shaping easy.
Sugar pearls vs currants.
These sugar pearls melted upon baking and made my gingerbread men look like zombies. If you don't want to scare little kiddies or your grandmother, try using currants for the decorations.
Beware the zombie gingerbread men.
This recipe variation is for anyone who has a disturbing interest in zombies. I’d prefer to make gingerbread bunnies, houses, Eiffel Towers … anything other than zombies. But these happened quite by accident and, I must confess, they really did look marvellous - in a dodgy, freaky sort of way.
How it’s done:
Before baking, press sugar pearls into the raw gingerbread men - eyes and mouth are best, but some buttons can look good, too. These decorations will melt upon baking and look like they have rotted away. Charming!