It’s been quite a week in one way or another and in seemingly typical female fashion, chocolate has seemed an excellent remedy to life’s woes. I hate to be obvious and stereotypical, and actually, the reverse has proven true, as my other half is the one who has polished most of the test batches for these off with a surprising vigour. I actually has to re-make one of the first batches from scratch as he got to them all before I did. Do not let anyone tell you that chocolate based snacks are the sole preserve of the female of the species, as I have often found it to be quite the opposite.
And so to cookies. In researching this post, I have found that cookies are incredibly subjective; some people love the chewy ones, some people love a crunch and some like something in between. One recipe can fit all, as it really depends on how long you bake them for. I think my taste buds have changed a lot as I have grown older and one of the ways in which this has manifested itself is that I am not a great fan of overly sweet things any more. I actually hate myself a little bit for having Malibu and Pineapple as my favourite drink for a shaming few months as a late teenager. Moving on, I now find that a yearly foray into something as sweet as cinder toffee is enough for me.
As a consequence, these cookies are quite adult in flavour; they are not sickly sweet and are deeply rich with dark chocolate and cocoa. The muscovado sugar gives a lovely caramel note, rather than just straightforward sweetness. I prefer to use a bar of chocolate and roughly chop it, rather than using chips, as this means you get both tiny shards and bigger chunks of chocolate in every mouthful, rather than the regulation size of chips, but feel free to use whatever you like. If you do choose a bar, make sure it is at least 70% cocoa. This recipe uses plain chocolate but you can also add any of the amazing combinations that are everywhere now: sea salt, mint, orange and even chilli are all fabulous and add to the feeling that these cookies should stay a strictly adult pleasure!
Makes about 20 cookies
150g salted butter, softened
100g light brown muscovado sugar
60g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
30g good quality cocoa powder
225g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
150g plain chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Put the butter and sugars into a bowl and beat until creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg. Sieve the flour, cocoa bicarbonate of soda and salt over the mixture and mix in with a wooden spoon. Chop up your chocolate if using a bar- add to the mixture and stir well. The mixture will be very stiff.
Using a teaspoon, place small mounds of the mixture well apart on the baking trays as they will spread a lot when cooking. Bake in the oven for 10-12 mins if you want them squidgy in the middle or 12-15 minutes if you prefer them crunchy. They will feel soft when hot, but they harden up as they cool so do not overbake them.
Leave on the tray for a couple of minutes to firm up and then transfer to a cooling rack.