I’ve been depriving Lounge readers in the most heinous way and it’s time to make amends.
As part of the whole taking stock and moving forward process required at the turn of the year, I was looking back at the recipes I’ve done over the last year or so and to my astonishment discovered that only one of them is remotely in the chocolate category. Even then the Chocolate and Cherry Muffins were egg-free, so they hardly count as full-blown chocy wantonness.Inexcusable, I know, and I can’t really account for it except to acknowledge that my baking with fruit tendencies have got way out of hand. By way of an apology, and in the spirit of a fresh start, my New Year’s resolution is to step away from the cape gooseberries and lavish you with chocolate.
We’re going to limber up with everyone’s favourite, choc chip cookies. Like many bakers I’ve had my share of choc chip disappointment—too hard, too dry, too sweet. Trial and error brought me to this recipe, a simple one but so good it has been pinned to my fridge for years now. It’s what we make in our house when sweet/chocolate cravings have to be staunched quickly. They take about 5 minutes to make, 10 to bake before reaching biscuit perfection: crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle. Warm from the oven and savoured with a glass of cold milk, you’ll be in choc-chip heaven. Nothing you buy will ever come close.
The recipe, of course, is merely a template to be adapted at will. For emergencies, I keep a pack of chocolate chips to hand but it’s best to use a good-quality chocolate (anything with more than 70% cocoa content). My current passion is a milk chocolate bar (which ordinarily would be against the rules) containing chunks of almond brittle. Chewy, crispy, buttery, caramelized, nutty and above all CHOCOLATEY perfection. So good.
Here’s to a choc-tastic 2012!
A word about size: It isn’t everything. In the choc chip cookie stakes, less is definitely more. No one needs a 12-inch cookie—I guarantee you’ll be bored to death of it by the fifth bite, so don’t be tempted.
Choc chip cookies
Makes about 16-20
125g salted butter
75g Demerara sugar
75g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g flour (maida)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g chocolate (chips or a bar of good-quality chocolate chopped into small chunks)
You will need a large, greased baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Begin by melting the butter in a small pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and two types of sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat again.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Finally stir in the chocolate.
At this point, you could chill the cookie dough until ready to bake the cookies. Usually though, I’m responding to an urgent chocolate/cookie need so I make them straightaway. Spoon dessert-sized spoonfuls on to the baking tray. A little irregularity is no bad thing with home-made cookies but if you’re a neat freak, roll the dough into balls somewhere between the size of a walnut and a golf ball. Make sure they’re spaced well apart because the cookies spread a lot during baking.
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes. If you like a crispy edge and chewy centre, take the tray out when the edges are lightly browned. If you like a crispier cookie, leave them in for a few more minutes. But watch them carefully, they burn quickly.
Note: I use a large stand-alone electric oven for most of my baking. For this recipe, I switched on both top and bottom elements and the cookies baked in about 7 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.