Wholemeal cookies taste really good and they are healthier. Don’t kid yourself though there’s still butter and sugar in there but chocolate is an antioxidant so that makes up for it - sort of!! These were part of a picnic we took the lakes at El Chorro yesterday.
Half an hour away at Malaga Airport, millions of tourists arrive every year and get on a coach to Marbella or Fuengirola to spend a week or two on the Costa del Sol and fly home again completely unaware that this exists. Whether this is a great oversight by the Andalucian Tourist Board or whether they are purposefully keeping it a secret I don’t know. I wouldn’t blame them. At this time of year it is all but deserted except at the weekends when a few Malaguenos bring a picnic or some meat to barbeque.
It does get busier in the summer when we all escape the heat of the city or towns to swim in these freshwater lakes. There are campsites, picnic areas, public barbeques, canoeing, pedalos, and fantastic walks. It is great for kids and adults alike there’s something for everyone. Whether you like to do a lot or very little, you can find your perfect spot here……
The colours are amazing. The bright turquoise of the lakes contrasting with the dusky pink terracotta soil and green patchwork landscape take your breath away every time you come. You never quite believe it’s real.
The geology is stunning too. The Washer Up tells me this is sandstone (he studied Geology at university). Is it just me or does this (above) remind you of the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona? You know the curved balconies?
The thing is they are not actually lakes. They are man-made reservoirs. Franco flooded the whole area, including some villages, to create the water reservoirs for Malaga. How something so beautiful can be man-made doesn’t make sense to me. Especially made by that man. It must have been the best thing he ever did…..
Anyway we found our picnic table with a view (above) and sat down to make our egg salad sandwiches…
If you want to know how to make a perfectly soft-boiled egg see my instructions here…..
Then we shared a cookie before going for walk around the lake and finding a sheltered sunny spot to read the paper. Does a Sunday get any better than that? I don’t think so, the cookies are pretty near perfect too….
Wholemeal Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Cookies
makes 18 - 24, vegetarian. Adapted from a Culinate recipe
- 380 gr wholemeal flour (I used self-raising because that was all I had and 1 tsp baking powder)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 225 gr cold unsalted butter, chopped
- 140 gr brown sugar
- 200 gr caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 125 gr plain chocolate (70%) roughly chopped into 1 cm chunks
- 100 gr hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 175 C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sieve the flour, baking powders and salt into a large bowl. In another large bowl or food processor on low whisk/mix together the butter & sugars until blended, about 2 minutes. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl to get it all combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each one is combined. Mix in the vanilla, then slowly add the flour mixture until just combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides again.
Add 3/4 of the chopped chocolate & hazelnuts to the mix saving the rest for the tops. Mix until evenly distributed. Take a heaped tablespoon of the batter and put it onto the lined baking sheet, pressing it down slightly. Leave about a 3 inch gap between each cookie, they spread like mad. You should only have about 6 cookies per sheet or they will all blend into each other. Sprinkle a little of the leftover chocolate & hazelnuts on top of each cookie and press in lightly. Put one sheet in the top third of the oven and the other in the bottom third. Bake for 10 minutes then swap the baking sheets around (top to bottom etc) and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cookies are a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the oven & leave to cool on a rack on the baking paper. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
These cookies are deliciously special enough to serve as a dessert, warm and chewy, straight out of the oven with a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream melting on top. Or leave to cool, store in an airtight container and they will firm up to a more crunchy everyday cookie.
Share them with friends or do like the Andalucian Tourist Board and make them your best kept secret……