C is for Cookie, for Chocolate, and for Comfort. Sometimes there is nothing more pleasing than a cookie (or two, or even three, or four, or more). Cookies are pretty straight forward to make, however I wanted to come up with a recipe for those cookies that you see on the likes of Instagram which look perfect. They have the slightly ridged outer sides and are completely flat but aren't too wide from spreading too much. It's not until you get into the breakdown of the cookie that you discover the ingredients really do affect the outcome. Not only do the quantities of an ingredient and ratio compared to another affect the shape but also the texture and chewiness. Recipes with just caster sugar result in harder cookies, light brown sugar make a softer cookie, more flour can prevent as much spread, it goes on and on. I would like to think I have developed a recipe which makes cookies for all. Not only do these cookies look and taste great, depending on how long you bake them, you can determine how gooey or chewy they are. As for the chocolate you include, it's up to you. I have recommended a mix of milk and dark chocolate drops. You can use one or the other. If bars of chocolate are on offer in the shops use those instead. Chop them up using a bread knife (stops it pinging everywhere) into small pieces. I will warn you one thing. These cookies do require a little waiting. So patience is essential. The making of them is fairly quick, although you do have to beat the butter and sugar for the time I've said (trust me). The chilling is what is key. That being said, you can prepare them the day before you want them or even make them in advance and freeze them! The baking is relatively quick, do pay attention to my tips for spotting if the cookies are to your liking!
Hands-on Time 15 minutes plus chilling (overnight)
Baking Time 13-15 minutes
250g Unsalted butter (softened)
225g Light brown sugar
150g Caster sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Eggs, large
400g Plain flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp Fine salt
400g Chocolate chips (recommend a 50/50 mix of dark and milk)
Freestanding mixer with paddle
Baking sheet (ideally aluminium)
Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of the mixer and beat on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes until you have a very light and fluffy mixture.
Add the vanilla and eggs and beat for a couple of seconds until combined.
Add the flour, bicarb, and salt, and again beat for a couple of seconds until combined. Scrape the sides down using a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
Finally add the chocolate chips and mix one last time. You shouldn’t need to run the mixer for more than 10 seconds. The key thing is not to over-mix.
Put the bowl into the fridge for at least an hour to firm up the dough. It is possible to do this in the freezer to speed things up but don’t forget about the dough!
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Remove the bowl and take a portion of the dough (approx 75g) and roll into a ball. Place onto the baking sheet and repeat until you have used up all of the dough. At this point if you want to bake the cookies at a later point you could put the dough balls, with the parchment, into a Tupperware box and freeze. Otherwise, cover the dough balls with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to get really firm, ideally overnight.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Slide the baking sheet out of the fridge and leave the dough balls on the shelf.
Once the oven has warmed up. Line the baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
Place approx 6/8 balls spaced about 10cm apart from each other onto the baking parchment.
Pop the tray into the oven on a middle shelf for the following times depending on how you like your cookies. I should stress you are making this judgement by look and not touch.
13 minutes - VERY SOFT - the very edges of the cookies will be golden and the centre a little doughy.
14 minutes - SOFT - more of the outside of the cookies will be golden and the centre will show a few cracks.
15 minutes - SLIGHTLY SOFT WITH A LITTLE CRUNCH - the cookies will be golden all over.
Once they are to your liking, remove the tray from the oven. Slide the parchment carefully, with the cookies, onto the worktop. Re-line with more paper and bake your next batch.
After the cookies have rested for a couple of minutes they should be firm enough for you to transfer onto a wire rack to fully cool. Don’t forget they will get firmer as they cool, as tempting as it is to immediately eat them straight from the oven. Like some things in life, patience pays off.