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Our hens have pretty much given up on laying at the moment.  I can’t really blame them though.  With all the wet and windy weather we’ve had, they’re probably using up most of their energy simple wading through the mud to get to food… egg production isn’t a priority right now.  So the arrival of a fresh egg in the kitchen has become something of an event.  An event to be celebrated.

Egg

This one was used to make a batch of chocolate cookies.  But chocolate cookies with a twist – a sprinkling of paprika in the mix to add extra flavour.  Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash has been hosting a new food blog challenge called The Spice Trail.  A different spice each month, and this time it’s paprika.

spice trail badge square

Now paprika isn’t a spice that I use very often… it’s one of those neglected jars that sits at the back of the shelf, overlooked in favour of the cumin, chilli flakes or nutmeg. But a challenge is a challenge, so I set about thinking of a new way to use paprika in my cooking.  And yes, I know it’s January and a time for healthy eating, but a wee treat now and then is always good, isn’t it?  So here we have dark chocolate and paprika cookies.

Cookies 2

Based on a cookie recipe from the BBC website, I’ve used dark rather than milk chocolate, added some cocoa powder (just in case there wasn’t quite enough chocolate in there already) and a teaspoon of paprika.  There are fewer chocolate chips than in the original too… I was thinking that none would be good but my daughter was horrified at this idea, so we compromised with a scattering of chips on the top of each cookie.

Cookie

Dark chocolate & paprika cookies

(Makes about 24 cookies)

75g dark chocolate

100g soft brown sugar

100g golden caster sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g plain flour

25g unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp paprika

a handful (or more) dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200oC, 400F, gas 6, and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.

Break the chocolate into chunks and melt in a bowl over a pan of hot water.

While the chocolate is melting, cream the sugars and butter together in a large bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat them into the mixture.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and paprika together.

Stir the melted chocolate through the sugar and butter mixture, then add the flour mix and fold that in so there is no dry flour left.  This makes quite a firm cookie dough.

Take a tablespoonful of the cookie dough and roll it into a ball.  Place the ball on a prepared baking sheet, flattening the top slightly.  Keep making cookies until you run out of dough.  Before baking, press a few chocolate chips into the top of each cookie.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  The cookies will still be soft when you take them out of the oven, but they firm up as they cool – although the inside stays satisfyingly soft.  Leave to cool on the tin for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.  The cookies don’t need to cool completely before you start eating them, but if you’re wanting to store them make sure they’re good and cold before putting them into an airtight container.

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