Lucy Burton's tahini and milk chocolate cookies

Postal Bakes: 3 sweet treats to send a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them

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Show a friend you care this Loneliness Awareness Week by whipping up a batch of these three sweet bakes that can be posted right through their letter box.

When you’re not feeling your best, there are few things better than a sweet pick-me-up, especially those of the homemade variety. And while we would love to live down the street from our best friends so that we can always pop in for a cup of tea and some baked goods, the truth is that we have friends spread across different towns, cities and countries, meaning it’s not always quite so easy to check in IRL.  

A friendly WhatsApp message or voice note is always appreciated when calls are impossible to fit in among busy schedules, but we all know that with everything going on in our own lives, it can be hard to keep in touch with even our nearest and dearest. And if there’s one thing we learned during multiple lockdowns, it’s how much we need human connection. Whether you live alone, with a partner or with friends – in a big city or in a rural village – loneliness can affect us all.  

Which is why Lucy Burton’s debut cookbook is exactly what we all need to show someone we’re thinking of them.

At the start of the 2020 when Covid-19 struck, Lucy, a successful PR director, transformed her side hustle making bespoke wedding cakes into a pandemic-friendly baking business – sending homemade bakes across the country with heartfelt, handwritten messages. And though the lockdowns are thankfully behind us, Lucy is now letting us in on her mail-ready recipes with her cookbook, Postal Bakes.  

Postal Bakes: over 60 cakes, cookies and treats to send by mail by Lucy Burton
Postal Bakes: over 60 cakes, cookies and treats to send by mail by Lucy Burton

Filled with 60 recipes for cakes, cookies and other sweet bakes, everything can be conveniently packed into boxes and popped in the postbox to let someone know that you’re thinking about them. Whether it’s an older relative or a mate you haven’t seen in a while, we all appreciate it when someone shows they care – which is why we’re sharing three recipes from the book for you to make this Loneliness Awareness Week (13-17 June) to help combat #ThatLonelyFeeling. 

No matter your culinary abilities, most of us can successfully whip up a batch of cookies. And Lucy’s recipe takes the classic chocolate chip to new heights with the addition of creamy tahini to give a distinctive sesame flavour. We recommend baking a double batch and storing half in the freezer for a rainy day.

And for lovers of white chocolate, Lucy’s white chocolate, ginger and sour cherry biscuit cake can do no wrong. The no-bake recipe simply combines fiery ginger biscuits, white chocolate and freeze-dried sour cherries for a grown-up take on a traditional fridge cake.

Finally, whether your hot drink of choice is tea or coffee, Lucy’s rye and apricot biscotti will be a welcome addition to the ritual. Transforming your afternoon cuppa to something altogether more enjoyable, the hardy biscuits keep well and are ideal for popping in the post. Because who wouldn’t want a batch landing on their doormat? As Lucy states in the book’s intro, “there are so many times in life where work, study, relationships, travel, illness or simply busy diaries separate us from those that we love – and that is what this book is about.” 

  • Tahini and milk chocolate cookies

    Lucy Burton's tahini and milk chocolate cookies
    Lucy Burton's tahini and milk chocolate cookies

    Lucy says: “These are my go-to cookies when I need to make something quickly. A classic choc chip cookie recipe at its core, it’s enriched with a generous dollop of creamy tahini, a sesame seed paste that brings a delicious flavour and unctuous texture to baking. These are also great to make ahead and freeze to bake from frozen at a later date.”

    Ingredients

    • 100g butter
    • 150g dark brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • 100g plain flour
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
    • 125g tahini 
    • 100 milk chocolate
    • Flaky sea salt
    • Sesame seeds, optional

    Method

    Line the tin with paper (base only), and heat the oven to 180°C. 

    Cream together the softened butter and sugar. Once fluffy, beat in the egg and vanilla. Scape down the sides of the bowl and beat again until well combined.

    Separately, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and fine sea salt. Add to the wet mixture, and mix to combine. Stir through the tahini. 

    Finely chop 60g of the chocolate, then stir through the cookie dough. Use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon measuring spoon to spoon the mixture onto the baking trays, ensuring they are well spread out (you will need to bake the cookies in several batches as they won’t all fit on one tray). Sprinkle with a little flakey sea salt, then bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes - the cookies are ready when well spread, and the edges have browned but the centre is just cooked. Repeat until all of the dough is baked.

    Cool the cookies on the trays. Melt the remaining 40g chocolate, then drizzle over the cookies and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you are using them. Once the chocolate is set, lift the cookies off the tray with a palette knife. Store in an airtight tin. 

  • White chocolate, ginger and sour cherry biscuit cake

    Lucy Burton's white chocolate, ginger and sour cherry biscuit cake
    Lucy Burton's white chocolate, ginger and sour cherry biscuit cake

    Lucy says: “This recipe took a few attempts to get right, but I knew I was finally there when I found myself having to post the results to friends and family to stop me standing and eating it straight from the fridge.”

    Ingredients

    For the base:

    • 400g white chocolate
    • 75g ginger syrup (from the jar)
    • 100g unsalted butter
    • ½ tsp fine sea salt
    • 250g ginger biscuits
    • 150g stem ginger
    • 20g freeze dried sour cherries

    For the topping:

    • 400g good quality white chocolate
    • A couple of freeze dried sour cherries

    Method

    Line the baking tray with parchment, including the sides.

    Put the white chocolate, ginger syrup, butter and salt in a heat proof bowl. Set this over a pan of boiled water, off the heat, to melt. White chocolate catches easily and will go grainy if it gets too hot. Stir occasionally to help the process along, but not too often as this can also encourage the chocolate to catch. If you are struggling to melt it, you can put the pan on a low heat for a few minutes and then remove it again, using just the residual heat of the water to melt everything.

    Put the biscuits in a big mixing bowl, and use the end of rolling pin or wooden spoon to break them up. Do this gently, as you want to retain some bigger pieces of biscuit to ensure there is texture. Stop when you have a mixture of biscuit crumb and biscuit pieces.

    Finely chop the stem ginger. Add this to the bowl, along with the white chocolate mixture. Stir well until everything is well coated. Add the cherries and stir to mix through.

    Decant the mixture into the tin and use a spoon to push it into the corners, levelling as much as you can to create an even surface. Put in the fridge for two to three hours to set fully.

    For the topping, melt the white chocolate as you did for the base, then pour over the base mixture and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Top with a sprinkling of freeze dried sour cherries. Allow to set hard before slicing.

    Notes:

    I use freeze dried fruit, if you can’t find that you can use dried sour cherries in this recipe instead

    This is really rich, so I recommend slicing into 32 pieces.

    Substitutions: instead of the sour cherries, you could use raspberries, black currants, black berry or strawberries. Don’t use fresh fruit as it is too wet – if you don’t have freeze dried, you can use dried fruits in the base.

    Posting – wrap a slap tightly in cellophane, and then wrap in tissue to cushion it. This is quite sturdy so can be in a mixed box, or posted on its own in a well fitted jiffy bag or box. 

  • Rye and apricot biscotti

    Lucy Burton's rye and apricot biscotti
    Lucy Burton's rye and apricot biscotti

    Lucy says: “Biscotti are designed for dunking, but I love biscotti on their own just as much as I like them with my coffee. My recipe uses rye flour for a darker result and a deeper flavour.”

    Makes 40-50 biscotti

    Ingredients

    • 175g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • Zest of 2 oranges
    • 250g rye flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • 150g skin-on almonds
    • 200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
    • 150g dark or white chocolate, optional

    Method

    Line two baking trays with parchment, base only, and heat the oven to 180°C. Spread the almonds out on one of the trays, and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they have darkened slightly and are lightly fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

    Place the caster sugar and eggs into a large bowl, and whisk for four to five minutes until the mixture is very pale, and has doubled in volume. Stir through the orange zest.

    Separately, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Sieve this over the egg mixture, then gently fold through. Add the almonds and apricots, mix, then turn the mixture onto a floured surface and use your hands to bring the mixture into a dough.

    Split the dough into two, then roll each into an even cylinder measuring approximately 5x30cm. Transfer onto the lined baking trays, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough has risen, and cracks have formed on the surface.

    Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C. Use a sharp and heavy knife to carefully slice thin biscuits from the baked dough. Lay these out onto the trays, and return to the oven to bake for a further 10-15 minutes. The biscotti are baked when they are cooked through and firm at the centre.

    If you like, dip the biscotti in melted dark chocolate to finish. 

    Postal Bakes: over 60 cakes, cookies and treats to send by mail by Lucy Burton (£16.98, Welbeck Publishing) is out now

Photography: Nassima Rothacker 

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