A gorgeous marriage of chunky peanut butter and chocolate chunks – in a cookie!
Salty peanut butter…
Sweet, sweet chocolate….
Together in a can’t-eat-enough-of-them cookie!
These delectable morsels were my fourteen year old son’s creation. He fancied making peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies and, searching through our recipe books and using the ingredients we had available, he adapted Jo Pratt’s Peanut Butter and Jam Crumbly Cookies from her book Madhouse Cookbook (2013). This is the first time he’s adapted a recipe (recipes are only guidelines anyway, aren’t they?) to make something he fancied, and let me tell you – he did a fantastic job of it!
Have I mentioned that this September he starts the hospitality course at the local college? Proud mum. 🙂
Oh… and we had a grand adventure too.
Last weekend the children and I called this wigwam home. We joined some friends for a weekend camping adventure up north. When I say north, I don’t mean the top of England (aka: the middle of the UK), I mean north – take your mind gaze to the very tip top of the mainland of Scotland and then move it one hundred miles further north across the wide expanse of sea to Shetland. That is north.
In preparation for our camping trip the eldest made these gorgeous peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies. Some of them even made it on the camping trip (well, seven of them, which, considering how good they were – I had to taste test a few of them while they were still warm, their delicious peanut base studded with oozing molten dark chocolate. Mmmm….
The Braewick campsite is located in Eshaness, in the Northmavine peninsula on the north-west of Shetland, in the heart of some of Shetland’s most dramatic landscapes. It overlooks the famous ‘Da Drongs’ sea stacks. My friend had booked these wigwams a few months in advance and, as Shetland weather should have it, it was supposed to be pouring down for the two nights we were there.
Not to be stopped we packed our waterproofs and had a grand Goonies-style adventure anyway!
The Braewick campsite and cafe overlook Braewick beach, an easily accessible place for adventuring. We took advantage of a break in the rain and clouds to head down and see what we could see. On the south east corner of the fence surrounding the camp site there is a wooden style to cross over to access the path down to the beach. As luck should have it we were treated to gorgeous blue skies for our adventure! We could see the rain clouds dumping their contents north and south of us, but we had a strip of stunning blue overhead.
I’ve been to this beach once or twice before. The first time I was with Alan Fraser’s Shetland Geotours and I was keen to impress my adventuring companions with my geological knowledge of the area. When I visited the beach with this tour we parked up by the road and approached the beach from the left hand side of the loch, so I insisted our party of two adults and five children had to do the same.
CHALLENGE #1: A RAGING RIVER
Little did I know the beach was easily accessible from the camp site by the right hand side of the loch, but we had a great time trying to cross the over flowing burn to approach it from the left. Heavy rains had caused flooding and there were a few areas shallow enough for those of us sensible enough to have worn wellies to cross, but a few of us (ie: me!) didn’t have appropriate footwear. Much to the delight of the children we built an island out of clumps of grass and dirt which had been washed downstream during the flooding. Although the wellie-wearing children had already crossed they had to try out the grass island bridge too!
CHALLENGE #2: THE TIRRICKS
Any one who has ever visited a beach in Shetland during the summer months will know the terror the shriek of the tirricks (aka. Arctic terns) can instil into a body. If they do not want you on their patch of beach you will not go on their patch of beach!
These birds always signal the arrival of Spring to me. They spend their summer breeding months here and, come Autumn, migrate to the Antarctic to spend summer there. Come the following year they fly the thousands of miles north back to Shetland. Of all the animals in the world these ones are the most well-travelled. Carrying a stick with you while beach walking is always a good idea, just in case they decide to start dive bombing you. Alternatively, if you hear that tell-tale shriek, move away. (No humans were harmed in the taking of this photograph).
CHALLENGE #3: THE GIANT ROARING WAVES
Once we climbed over a mountain of boulders tossed up on shore by the wild sea we were faced with giant roaring waves. This is where my protective mama-instinct went into over-drive. I was worried that should one of the children get knocked down by the waves they’d get taken out to sea as the wave receded. The children, much to my panic, had great fun dodging these giant waves as they ebbed and flowed. Looking at the photograph now the waves don’t look giant and terrifying, but I can assure you, they were!
CHALLENGE #4: ROCK HOPPING
All rivers run to the sea, so the raging burn we crossed earlier needed to be crossed again so we could get to a more sheltered, sandy location on the west side of the beach. This time the water was flowing through the large beach boulders, making for a very fun rock-hopping crossing.
CHALLENGE #5: LAVA
Ok, this wasn’t as much of a challenge as it was geological awesomeness, but it’s not every day you get to touch lava (even if it is 360 Ma old and well cooled). Shetland used to be located near the equator in a volcanically active area. Eshaness is the flank of an ancient volcano. The name Eshaness, where Braewick beach is located, has it’s origins in the old Norse word eisa (intense fire, glowing embers) – the same root as the name Iceland.
Braewick beach is divided by the Melby fault with sedimentary and volcanic rocks at one end and granite at the other. We were at the volcanic end and at low tide you can see basalt lava with vesicles in it (amygdaloidal lava?). These vesicles were gas bubbles (lava farts!). My youngest was most fascinated by this.
CHALLENGE #6: TSUNAMI
8000 years ago a 4000 square km of submarine continental shelf slid off the coast of Norway creating a mega-tsunami which swept over Shetland and much of the UK coastline. Shetland would have experienced 20 metre high waves.
Evidence of tsunami deposits is clearly visible (according to Alan from Shetland Geotours – from what I recall of my tour!) here at Braewick beach with a layer of white rubble sandwiched between two layers of peat. I’m unsure if these tsunami deposits are due to the aforementioned Storegga slide or a more recent tsunami between 4500-5000 years ago, but I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. These layers sit on top of a layer of glacial till deposited during the last Ice Age. Fascinating stuff, no?
CHALLENGE #6: CLIFF SCRAMBLING
In places the cliffs at Braewick are made up of jumbled rocks from a mudflow (lahar), composed of pyroclastic material (bruck thrown out of the volcano) triggered possibly by the collapse of an unstable volcano cone. You can see these in the left hand side of the photo below (click the photo to open the full size panorama).
These cliffs make for some very fun (and slightly terrifying) scrambling opportunities.
Sometimes flash floods swept down the volcano to collect in ponds and lakes and along the beach you can find beautiful red and grey banded sandstones that formed at the bottom of such a lake.
It is a rather spectacular area to explore. We returned to the camp site after our adventure, cheeks red with wind, sun and adrenaline (after a quick play in the sand) to eat some peanut butter cookies.
A quick word about the camp site – it’s located next to the Braewick cafe and it’s very well equipped: toilets, showers, water, small kitchenette and laundry facilities (it even has wi-fi that works!!). There’s some mighty good eats to be had in the cafe (this is an upcoming Taste of Shetland post!) made with local produce.
No trip to this area is complete without a visit to the very furthest western point on the Shetland mainland – the dramatic volcanic cliffs of Eshaness.
But that’s another adventure story for another day…
It’s also a dramatic location to have a full fledged teenage wobbly. (Image of my stroppy 14 year old used with permission!) 🙂
- Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F and line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone baking mat
- Cream together butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add the peanut butter and egg yolk and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Sift in the flour to make a soft dough and then fold in the chocolate.
- Pinch off walnut sized bits of dough and roll into balls.
- Place the dough balls on the baking sheet and press down with the tines of a fork until slightly flattened.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SHETLAND GEOLOGY:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow Cookies by Franglais Kitchen
Peanut Butter Cookies by The Big Spud
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
Double Peanut Butter Cookies by Cook Sister
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