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May 16, 2012
What’s my favourite chocolate cookie recipe so far? The recipe that came from a calendar of chocolate recipes and my then-housemate Claire baked, back in the day when I wasn’t very good at trying out new recipes. And, wow. Didn’t they smell gorgeous and taste incredible… with that wonderful chewiness that cookies should have, and a bit toffee-ish flavour (that’s the brown sugar talking)!! Lekker, lekker, lekker!
Without wanting to sound too much like a cookie monster, I decided to have a go baking them because I wanted to eat MORE! It turned out to be a really simple recipe (hurrah); a bit too simplified perhaps? I made quite a few basic mistakes when making these.
For instance, I discovered that cookies splay out in the oven, so if you don’t space them out enough, they can all meld into one big rectangular cookie, which you have to cut apart.
Next, I found out that if you don’t use baking paper, it’s hard to get the baked cookies off the baking sheet.
Then, there’s minutes in baking them so that they’re soft and chewy and them being rock hard. Err on the side of chewy caution, my friend and use a timer!
Finally, this is less of a mistake but a definite learning point. It was an eye-opener for me to realise how much sugar goes into making cookies. I kind of thought of them as a ‘healthy’ snack before then, but 500g of sugar doesn’t quite fit that category. Hmmm…. So, let’s say that you wanted to cut down the sugar a bit, then I’d try reducing the amount of white sugar you put in. I’ve not tried this yet, but I’d experiment with between using half or two thirds of white sugar. I’m not entirely certain how that will affect the chemistry and flavour. However, I would definitely not scrimp on the brown sugar because it’s the brown sugar that produces that more-ish nuttiness to the cookie’s flavour. That first time, I even asked Claire whether she’d put toffee in the cookies.
So, I’ve amended the method section so that you can build on my experience. Also, at the bottom of this post, I’ve listed some of different combinations that I’ve created by adapting this recipe.
This makes about 55 regular sized cookies (by regular, I mean 10-15 cm). Claire advised me later that she often halves the recipe so that there’s not an eruption of cookies. You can freeze them, if you have space in your freezer. I have rolled my spare cookie dough into ball shapes and frozen them in a ziploc bag. Later, all I’ll need to do is put the cookie dough balls out on some baking paper and sheet to defrost for an hour at room temperature, then pop them in the oven. A wonderful, ‘instant’ treat to have up your sleeve!Ingredients
- 250g soft dark brown sugar
- 250g white sugar
- 280g butter, softened
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 300g chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks (you can use dark, milk, white and in any combination)
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500g plain flour
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Prepare 2 baking sheets/trays with baking paper or greaseproof paper.
1. Mix butter with sugar until creamy and fluffy, with an electric mixer. If you don’t have one, then use a wooden spoon and beat hard!
2. Add the eggs, chocolate chips and vanilla essence and mix well. Add the bicarbonate of soda and salt to the flour and add to the other ingredients. Sitr to form a thick cookie dough.
3. Take ping-pong ball size amounts of the mixture, roll it into a ball and place spaced apart on the baking sheet/tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven. The cookies should be slightly golden brown. Let them rest for a few minutes and then gently place on a rack to cool.
I’ve adapted the recipe a few times and substituted the 300g chocolate for:
- 100g dried cranberries, 100g roughly chopped macadamia nuts & 100g roughly chopped white chocolate chunks
- zest of 2 lemons & 300g dark chocolate chunks
- 100g roughly chopped brazil nuts & 200g dark or milk chocolate chunks
Kids love the lemon and dark chocolate one – or at least the kids I’ve baked with when babysitting them.