Father's Day is a mere week and a bit away now, and I'm seeing almost as many tempting Father's Day offers, promotions and giveaways as I am flags of St George fluttering on cars in readiness for the Fifa World Cup!
So what to do and what to get for the best?! Well, the pre-requisites are a card and something rather scrummy to eat (*hint - breakfast in bed always tends to go down well). In all my years of giving Father's Day gifts, both as a daughter and as a mother making sure the day is special for the kids' dad, the most treasured and favourite pressies have been the homemade ones.
Homemade cards are almost impossible to throw away and anything homemade to eat gets devoured and is generally followed up rather quickly with, "Are there/is there any more....?" So imagine our delight when we were sent two boxes of Green's 'Cookies With Love' to test out.
Before we unleashed Tamsin and her four-year-old daughter and Lynley and her five- year-old son, on the Cookies With Love boxes, we did explain that there were a only a few simple steps and less than 10 minutes of baking involved. Tamsin is a self-confessed kitchen 'monster' and her rather culinary talented husband can oft' be heard begging her NOT to cook; Lynley was very excited about the prospect of cookies but not quite as excited as her little boy was!
So we waited with bated breath and crossed our fingers for the results...
Tamsin and her daughter LOVED the bright green box that Cookies with Love comes packaged in, "...the fact that the cookies had adorable pink and red writing and decorations on them appealed to us enormously," said Tamsin, "This, I said to myself, is going to be fun. My daughter adores making cookies so we went straight into the kitchen."
And with that the husband/father was banished from his beloved kitchen and sent to read the newspaper in a cafe.
"I don't tend to read instructions before I start something, a massive failing of mine!" reveals Lynley, "I was about to tear into the box when I noticed the words on the top of the pack directing me to 'open from the back'." (PHEW! Just in time then), "the back of the box is perforated - pull this out and you've now got the recipe on a card in one hand, and the contents of the box in the other."
Well, so far so good! The other very good thing about these Green's cookies (as with all their products), which we all agreed was a big plus, is all the ingredients are natural and don't contain any artificial colours.
"We whipped out the packets, poured the contents of the cookie mix into the bowl and added the butter," Tamsin continues (adding the butter to the flour mixture is one of the very SIMPLE steps involved), "I didn’t bother unearthing the scales from the back of the Tupperware cupboard; I'm a baker-extraordinaire with a unique style so I guessed at how much butter was 50grams and shoved it in!"
Over at Lynley's house things seemed to be progressing a little more according to plan, "I was a bit surprised to be asked to mix the softened butter up with the cookie mix using a fork and it was definitely not something my five year old helper could do. Luckily the instructions do say not to worry if the dough seems a bit dry after you put in the water..."
"This is when I realised we had a problem," said Tamsin, "The instructions said the dough would by dry at this stage but our dough was gooey, and made a satisfying 'splat' noise as it fell off the spoon back into the bowl. Surely I couldn’t have got 50grams THAT wrong? Surely? Oh, it says 10grams. Oh..."
Tamsin read on - the next part of this SIMPLE Father's Day cookie-making process was to roll out the supposed-to-be-a-little-bit-dry dough. Well, they clearly weren't going to be rolling anything, so back to Lynley...
"We nearly came unstuck as I remembered why I don't normally make cookies...I don't have a rolling pin, but luckily a suitably shaped Sherry bottle made do instead," said Lynley.
Now you see why we were all waiting with bated breath at PlayPennies HQ!
Tamsin and her daughter refused to be beaten, "We never got to use the amazing (and included) heart-shaped cookie cutter, we never got to roll and get floury and have fun but, by god, we put that blob of batter in the oven and cooked it."
Lynley, now the Green's 'Cookies with Love' 'class swot' managed to conjure up six perfect heart-shaped cookies.
Our Carry-On-Cookie-Baking quartet managed to produce one delicious blob and six heart-shaped cookies which were lovingly decorated by Lynley and her son. I asked her whether the vanilla-flavoured cookies were yummy, "YES!" was the instant response, "The icing is gorgeous! I mean, seriously, how do that get it that strawberry-ish?!"
Lynley also said she'd definitely buy them to make again, I wonder if she'll buy a rolling pin whilst she's at it.
And what of Tamsin, her daughter and their dough-blob?
"Even though we had failed to follow the extremely simple instructions, the included ingredients were divine. And now we have a cookie cutter to play with another time too."
All's well that ends well then, maybe this can just be a practice run for the real Father's Day on 20 June.
If you feel up to the 'challenge' and want to see if you've got what it takes to do a better job than Tam' and Lynley - which, let's face it, isn't going to be difficult - then Green's Cookies with Love are available in the supermarkets and are v e r y reasonably priced at £1.99.
They're also running a little competition with a prize for the 'best cookie', so if you do give them a bash for Father's Day then take a quick photo and upload it to their website
If you do take some photos of your Father's Day cookies, we'd love to see them too!
(P.S. These are actually the final results from Lynley and her son's baking endeavours, we think they turned out rather well)