Do you remember the joy of a school fete? I do.
Not my own school actually (we had an ‘arts festival’ – not quite as good really for reasons that shall soon become apparent), but I remember with particular fondness the school fetes of my cousin’s primary school. Every year we would go along one Saturday morning and see the school and churchyard transformed. Stalls would be set up in the grass and line the concrete paths, a miniature Ferris Wheel would spin around those under four feet, and items of all natures would be for sale: the second hand book stall, which I always came away from with a heavier bag and lighter purse; student artwork that had been completed over the semester; and, my favourite of all – the homemade sweets and baked goods.
(This is where it becomes apparent why my school fete/ arts festival wasn’t as good – there were never any baked goods. What?!)
There upon the wooden trestle tables festooned with plastic tablecloths would be the offerings of the parents and grandparents of the pupils: buttery shortbread rounds their tops patterned with forks, splodge-shaped jam drops with sweet raspberry jam, sugary caramel fudge, pink and white coconut ice, ANZAC biscuits, patty cakes with pink butter icing decorated with lollies, and always, always, chocolate slice – my favourite.
I would search among all the other treats, wrapped in plastic packets, or little cardboard boxes, to find the chocolate slice. Sometimes with coconut, sometimes without. Always with a thin cocoa glaze. And always, always, my favourite.
Many years have passed since the last school fete of my cousin’s primary days, and many years have passed since I have eaten chocolate slice (too many other treats to spoon/fork/hand-shovel into my mouth).
To be honest, when I made these biscuits I didn’t even have chocolate slice in mind. I had four egg yolks to use up and a yen for something with a chocolate content. But, when I took the first bite of this puffy, lightly-spiced, cocoa and hazelnut treat I was transported back to those fetes – back to the damp schoolyard lawn on a Saturday morning clutching a plastic bag burgeoning with books in one hand and a crumbling piece of chocolate slice in the other. They are a little dry, a little cake-like inside, and infinitely better with a tea/coffee/milk.
Chocolate Cardamom Fete Cookies (gluten free)
Makes 9 large cookies, or 18 smaller ones. I suppose it depends how greedy you are feeling really. I made this using four egg yolks I had left over from a batch of seven-minute frosting, but it also works with whole eggs. Oh yeah, and these are gluten free!
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 75 grams brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup no fat natural yoghurt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 80 grams hazelnut meal
- 80 grams buckwheat flour
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, olive oil, sugar and vanilla essence until smooth and thickened slightly.
- Add yoghurt and incorporate well.
- Weigh hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, and cocoa powder into a small bowl then measure in ground cardamom and baking powder. Use a clean whisk to beat together until no lumps remain.
- Add dry ingredients to the egg and yoghurt mixture and beat well.
- Use an ice-cream scoop or tablespoon to measure out mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet. Leave some room between scoops as they will spread slightly during cooking.
- Place tray in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Rotate tray 180 degrees halfway through cooking time.
- Remove cookies from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
- Once completely cooled mix up glaze and spoon on top of the cookies and allow it to dribble enticingly down the side. This is about childhood sweets, not perfection, after all.
Glaze: Beat together 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of milk.
Tell me, dear reader what were school fetes like at your school?
More importantly, what was your favourite homemade treat?