Monday, 13 January 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My daughter loves these chocolate chip cookies, so I am regularly called upon to bake a batch of them. The great thing about this recipe is that once you have made the dough, it can sit quite happily in the fridge wrapped tightly in cling-film for up to three days until you want to make the cookies.

I tend to bake one tray (6 largish sized cookies) at a time so that they can be eaten as fresh as possible. I like them when they are still slightly warm from the oven. They truly are a sweet, tasty, chocolaty treat. The uncooked dough may also be frozen and hen defrosted completely before baking. As strange as it may sound, and I can’t explain it, but although the cookies are lovely if baked on the day that the dough is made, they are EVEN tastier if the dough is allowed sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours… it just seems to create a better bake! As I said, I can’t explain why this is, but this has definitely been my experience.

Although you can purchase chocolate chips, I tend to buy bars of chocolate with between 50-55% cocoa solids and cut it into rough chunks as I prefer more sizeable chocolate chunks in my cookies. I sometimes add nuts; usually hazelnuts as I think that they go so well with chocolate, but you can leave these out or use a different nut. To be honest, my daughter doesn’t particular like nuts so if I am making a batch at her behest, I tend to leave them out. In this way the recipe is quite adaptable, so I would encourage you to experiment making your additions.

It is also nice to substitute in some white or milk chocolate chunks for the dark chocolate and in my experience children particularly like when a combination of chocolates is used.

Baked and cooled cookies can be stored in an air-tight tin for up to three days.


Ingredients:

225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla paste/extract
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g chocolate chips/chunks
A handful of whole, blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

Method:

1. Put the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held mixer, cream together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla past/extract and mix again well to fully incorporate.
2. Sieve the flour and the bicarbonate of soda together and using a wooden spoon, mix into the creamed mixture to form a dough. Next add the chocolate chips (and hazelnuts, if using) and mix well to distribute them throughout the dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a log about 30cms long. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate until required.
To bake the cookies:
4. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.
5. Remove the dough log from the fridge and cut into slices about 1½cms thick and place, well-spaced apart on the prepared baking trays. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 17-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end of the baking time as you do not want them to brown too much. They should be a golden brown colour and cooked through. They will still be quite soft but will firm up on cooling.
6. Leave on the baking trays for 5 minutes before then removing to wire racks to finish cooling.

Makes 18-20 large cookies.