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Monday, 3 December 2012

the not-so tough cookie

This post could be considered a bit of a follow-on from last week's chocolate prattlings- but no rants this time, just recipes. Or one, at least- my gruff, manly chocolate cookie recipe. Cookies might not be the most gastronomically exciting foodstuff, but there's something quite comforting about baking a batch every once in a while. These ones have a 'hero' ingredient- Green and Blacks Mayan Chocolate. It can be substituted for any other interesting variety of chocolate you might prefer (it works well with the chilli-infused stuff too) but the orange zest and spices in this particular bar are fairly distinctive, and fittingly festive to boot.

As you might have picked up from last week's post (which had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, I'm sure), I'm brazenly snobbish when it comes to chocolate. Now I know Green and Black's can hardly be considered 'artisan' anymore, but it's bloody nice, and a reasonable price for its calibre. Some purists would argue that its dark varieties aren't, strictly speaking, 'dark', since they list milk solids amongst the ingredients. However, after a bit of nosing, I gather this is for allergy reasons and nothing else; they do not use milk solids in the recipe, if you cared. Plus, they're Fair Trade, which is nice.

So, without further ado, my recipe for...

Vaguely Festive Chocolate Cookies:

What You Need:

  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa, sifted
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • A grating of nutmeg- enough that you can taste it, not so much that you start hallucinating.
  • 125g butter (see below...)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or use salted butter), at room temeperature if possible.
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 25g muscavado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (NOT essence. Horrible stuff)
  • 1 free-range egg- cold from the fridge.
  • 200g Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate, chipped.

What You Do:

1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees if you're using a fan oven. Crank it up to 170 degrees if you're not. Pop an inch (no more) of water into a pan, and place on a low heat. Break up your dark chocolate, and melt it in a snug-fitting bowl over the barely simmering water. If the bowl gets too hot, or the water touches the bottom, your chocolate will suddenly transform into a grainy mess that you'll be forced to eat while you try again.

2.Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and, if you're using it, the salt, into a large bowl and mix well.

3.In another bowl (or electric mixer, if you have one), beat the butter until it pales. Add the two sugars, and continue to beat for a few minutes until fluffy. Try not to forget about your melting chocolate in the mean time, and once it's smooth and glossy pour this in and stir through.

4. Beat in the vanilla extract, and crack in the egg. Mix in your dry ingredients.

5. Finally, stir in your Mayan chocolate chips. This is also a good time to start eating your batter.

6. Scoop out enough mix to create a cookie-ball in a size that strikes you as appropriate- this recipe makes 12 decent-sized biscuits, depending on how much of the batter you've managed to consume by this point. Place them on a lined baking sheet, about 2-3" apart. Any closer and you'll end up with a cookie sheet, which I suppose is no disaster. But if you're going for the traditional cookie form, then strategic spacing is advisable. DO NOT PAT DOWN! You might have to do a couple of batches, depending on the size of your baking tray.

7. Bake in the middle of your oven for about 18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle, not wet with batter. They might still seem very soft, but don't panic. Leave them to firm up on the baking tray for five minutes or so, and then transfer them to a wire rack.

I like my cookies still warm, served with a bit of creme fraiche and orange zest. If they last long enough to merit it worthy, stick them in an  airtight container and they should last a couple of days.

Happy cookie-munching.

mrs hunt x

1 comment:

  1. Henry G & Simon G made these tonight in Nettlebed...Scrumptious and smell just like Xmas..