This book was not what I was expecting. Which was good. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful book. And a vegetarian one! But I expected pretentious dishes with ornate ingredients and lengthy laborious recipes. After all, this book promises a lot. Anna Jones, who cut her cooking teeth with the likes of Jamie Oliver, begins A Modern Way to Eat with the promise, the promise, I tell you, that the food in her tome will make you look good, feel good, be satisfied and yet still feel light. On top of all that, she claims her recipes are quick, easy, not pricy and impressive. This cookbook is every cookbook. She is every woman. OK the last too I added, but still.
I do hear Jones roar. But she roars quietly and peacefully with the knack for understated optimism that Brits seem to excel at. She believes that health and joy can go hand in hand. She is keen on simple and seasonal ingredients. She emphasizes the importance of good eggs. A simple thing to believe in, but it goes a long way.
In addition to the multitude of recipes, all of which have charmingly persuasive intros telling you when, where and with what she enjoys the dish, Jones includes a lot of handy dandy “pick one” charts designed to help you fly in the kitchen without…I dunno, call it the safety wings of a good recipe. By “pick one” charts I mean the lists of ingredients in columns. You pick one from column A, one from B, and so on. I adore these things because they inspire me to mix up my patterns. And they are convenient in helping me use up what’s left in the kitchen.
I had a hard time picking what recipe to share, as this was one of those cookbooks that inspired me to make everything. I was at last drawn to ice cream sandwiches. Is that the most modern of things to be making? Perhaps not. Or is it? It is a traditional recipe but made with whole foods. Plus it is the thing you want as the weather warms, and therefore seasonal. So I say, yeah. Let’s call these modern. The chocolate chip cookies contain a goodly amount of peanut butter and oats, which even earns them the distinction of being somewhat healthy. If you cannot procure muscovado sugar, just use brown sugar. And have fun! As Jones points out, they will make you want to cook “for all the right reasons.” So enjoy! I did.
Muscovado chocolate chip cookies (and ice cream sandwiches) adapted from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones
- 1 cup oats
- 2/3 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (I used wheat)
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 4 oz. chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 Tbsp. smooth peanut or almond butter (I used half Jif and half supermarket-brand natural)
- 2/3 cup light muscovado sugar (I used light brown)
- 2/3 cup dark muscovado sugar (I found it! I used it!)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 organic or free-range eggs, beaten (I use eggs I get from my CSA organic delivery service where I could visit the chicks to make sure they are happy if I wanted to, which I sorta do)
- ice cream, to your liking
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind the oats until they are a powder. I used my immersion blender attachment. Combine them in a bowl with the flour, baking powder and chopped chocolate.
Put butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla in another bowl and beat until nice and whipped and totally creamed. I actually used my own muscle power here rather than hauling out the mixer. Mix in the eggs, then add the flour/oat mixture and stir until well combined. Scoop by the teaspoon (ok so I used more like tablespoons) onto the baking sheet leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake 8-10 minutes until the edges start to brown. Allow to cool, then sandwich with ice cream! Parfait.