We all get peckish from time to time. I know I do and I also know that when this happens it is tempting to go out and buy some biscuits
And eat the whole packet, of course, which is probably about 2.5 million calories (gosh, I like that number but in my bank account not in my food).
I’m also surrounded by the men in my family: John likes a snack and our youngest son has reached the age when he needs serious feeding.
What are the options?
Option one: buy snack bars, cookies or biscuits
Tempting on so many levels.
For my family this is not a good option because:
- It is expensive. Frugal snacks these are not. Any Kelloggs snack bars are £1.99 ($3.26) for six; now, in our house six snack bars will last about a day. And there is absolutely no way I’ll pay £50 ($82) per month on snack bars. Biscuits are even more expensive.
- It is unhealthy. I won’t get into the relative health benefits of cookies and fruit/veg. It is enough to look at the ingredients of the readymade snack bars or cookies to know that they contain a lot of stuff that is not really edible; and loads of sugar.
- We go off the ready stuff quickly. Yes, there are still some bars in the cupboard left over from the last short-lived fancy of my son.
Oh, yes; you can get these products cheaper. The cheaper they are, the longer the list of ingredients and the higher the number of ingredients I’ve never heard about (not in food anyway).
Option two: make your own cookies
If you want frugal snacks, make them yourself.
Over the last three-four years, I’ve developed some competence in the kitchen but a domestic Goddess I’m not.
Still, when my son begged me to make the cookies his Grandma used to make for him I decided to have a go.
This is how I discovered The Red Notebook of Cooking Treasure (see the picture above).
This is the notebook where my mum wrote her recipes; it was one of her treasures. It is my inheritance.
She was a good cook; and I reckon that when it comes to frugality, it is unlikely that we can win against a woman who lived through the after War years and communism.
Only problem is that her recipes are a bit ‘approximate’ and whenever I asked her how much flour to put in something or how do I know it’s ready, her answer was:
‘You just feel it.’
Where tacit cooking is concerned she was to the left of Jamie Oliver!
Nevertheless I decided to make ‘honey cookies’ or ‘medenki’.
They were delicious and after I give you the recipe and the technique I’ll also cost them for you.
Are you ready to play?
- 4 Tbsp (60g) of honey (about 20p)
- 200 g caster sugar (23 p)
- 2 eggs (40 p)
- 200 ml vegetable oil (25 p)
- Vanilla essence (negligible)
- Cinnamon (negligible)
- approx. 300 g plain flour (9 p)
Place the honey, caster sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix until the sugar has melted.
The mixing can be done in a food processor but I prefer to use a hand held mixer- somehow have a better feeling of control.
Once the mixture is smooth and the sugar melted do ‘one Nigella Lawson’: put your finger in the mixture and lick it. Delicious! (Don’t forget that this can be done only once and you should wash your hand after.)
Change the hooks of the mixer (if you are using a hand held one) and start adding the flour. I gave you an approximate amount because this is one of the things in my mother’s recipe left open. The aim is to end up with ‘soft dough’.
This means that when you place it on a well floured surface it doesn’t stay in a ball but drips a bit.
Flour your hands well (this is very sticky dough as well), flour the surface and take part of the dough. Squash in by hand (use flour so it doesn’t stick to anything). When it is about 5 mm take a small glass and start cutting the cookies.
This is what it looks like at this stage:
This dough is sticky; so I use silicone sheets to flatten it on and to cover the baking tray.
Bake at 170 C (fan oven) for about 25 minute or until the cookies are light brown. How well you cook them is a personal choice; I, for instance, like them slightly burnt.
And this is what I ended up with:
These ingredients make about 50 honey cookies at the cost of £1.17 ($1.91).
Compare this with paying £1.99 ($3.26) for six Kelloggs snack bars. No brainer!
And you know exactly what is in them.
Have to say, that the honey cookies didn’t last long either; we’ll make them again and this time my son is going to help.
Have a go at making honey cookies and let me know how did it go? Do you make any frugal snacks? Do share!
On a different matter, during the last two weeks The Money Principle has been included in the following personal finance carnivals:
Thanks to all who mentioned us and included our posts.