For years and years, the only lip balm that I would use was that little tub of carmex. You surely know the one, that round pot with a bright yellow lid. I was convinced that it was the only lip balm that worked and I craved that tingle when you first applied it.
I was never really sold on the taste (and, let's be honest, you do end up tasting a fair amount) of carmex but my refusal to consider alternatives meant that I was missing out on a world of different flavours.
I was the same when it came to moisturisers. I've used the same one for about 15 years and eschewed all other options.
Now, however, I am completed obsessed with the spiced vanilla range of products from The Body Shop. I picked up a tub of the body butter on a whim (and because it was less than half price) and now my bathroom shelves are groaning under the weight of my collection. In my defence, it is a seasonal product so I had to stock up...
The key ingredients were pretty easy to determine - my cookie needed to involve vanilla and spice. A look at the ingredients of the body butter didn't help hugely but I could determine some notes of nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon. I wanted it to be more than that though, I wanted it to be the cookie equivalent of a warm fluffy towel when you get out of the bath.
So, I turned to brown butter. The deep nutty flavour of brown butter seems to be the closes that you can get to a hug in the culinary world. Combined with the toffee-notes of the brown sugar, you get a wonderful rich cookie. Memories stirred of a recipe that Jessica of The Novice Chef had posted. A quick twitter chat confirmed that the cookies were the texture I wanted, soft and crumbly rather than crisp or chewy, and I was off. I have converted the recipe into weights but for the original recipe in cups and to see Jessica's beautiful pictures, please visit her site.
Whilst I knew the cookies would be good because Jessica is a genius in the kitchen, I was pleasently surprised at how close they were to what I was hoping for. Through the scientific method of taking a bite of cookie and then sniffing myself, I determined that they didn't taste/smell exactly the same (which is, frankly, not bad thing) but they are a delicious approximation. Even if you don't have this weird addiction to The Body Shop that I do, they are still a cookie to be reckoned with.
Spiced Vanilla Cookies
Yield: Approx 18 cookies
Adapted from The Novice Chef
For the cookies
For the cookies
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 180g brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 175g all purpose/plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 30g brown sugar
- 30g caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of spice (I used cinnamon)
- Put the butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter is golden brown. When the butter is browned, take off the heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with non-stick paper or a silicone mat.
- Combine the dipping sugar and spice in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and continue to bit until just combined.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the mixture, folding in until just mixed.
- Roll the dough into balls approx 3cm across and roll into the sugar and spice mixture.
- Place on the baking tray making sure that there's at least 5cm between each ball and bake for 10 minutes until just golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool.