I think I may qualify to be re-Christened as the Cookie Monster soon. I’ve certainly consumed enough cookies in my time. Whilst at university I had no qualms about scoffing an entire pack of Tesco’s Finest Chocolate Chip Cookies in one sitting – those big ones with the giant chunks of chocolate; crispy on the inside and chewy in the middle. I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it.
Since moving to London I have transferred my cookie obsession to Ben’s Cookies – freshly baked, outrageously good cookies in a plethora of flavours.
Unfortunately I have never had much luck when it comes to baking my own. Despite aiming for a Ben’s style thick, gorgeous cookie, I always end up with a crispy flat result that could barely be called a biscuit let alone a cookie. You would probably have mistaken them for brandy snaps.
But never liking to fail I decided to trawl the internet last week on the hunt for that perfect cookie recipe. Somewhat unsurprisingly (and luckily), somebody had already been on this very same hunt, doing all the hard work and testing for me.
That person is Felicity Cloake in her Guardian series of “How to Cook the Perfect…”. I won’t repeat her findings and the science behind the perfect cookie here (for those of you who are keen enough, click here for her article), except to say that she has provided me with cookie heaven.
The best thing about the recipe (other than the resulting cookies obviously) is that you can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 72 hours, which means freshly baked cookies for 3 days running – if you can hold back, that is.
I did alter her recipe slightly by using melted butter rather than room temperature butter. According to Alton Brown (US TV chef for my fellow Brits), this is the key to a chewy cookie. And who can resist a chewy cookie I ask? This also means not having to take the butter out of the fridge in advance, which I never seem to remember. Added to which, using melted butter means the beating together part of the recipe is infinitely easier and quicker and, as you may have noticed by now, I always love a short cut!
After all my previous disappointments on the cookie baking front, I still didn’t have high hopes for this batch. But o ye of little faith. As Felicity promised: perfection. They were incredible. Crispy on the outside, soft and slightly chewy in the middle, interspersed with chunks of slightly melty dark chocolate.
In the interests of cookie baking science, I baked them after resting the dough for 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours. They were incredible each time, though I think at their peak between 6-24 hours. Pretty lucky really, as who wants to wait 72hrs after getting a cookie craving before tucking it?!
The bad news is that they are seriously easy to whip up, which does not bode well for my waistline, especially with Christmas rapidly approaching! But if you have a cookie craving, this is definitely the recipe for you.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Based on Felicity Cloak’s recipe in the Guardian
120g salted butter, melted
75g light brown soft sugar
75g golden granulated sguar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
240g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
170g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1. Using a wooden spoon beat together the sugars and melted butter, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat together until well combined.
2. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and add the chocolate, stirring together until just combined. Form the dough into 15 rounds, about the size of a golf ball and put in a bowl or on a tray.
3. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to a maximum of 72 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°c/160°c fan. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and space your cookie dough balls out on them, allowing a little room for them to grow.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden but not browned. I found the older the dough got, the less time they needed – about 12 minutes for the 72 hour batch (the photo at the top of the page is from this batch and I left them in for a couple minutes too long so they were browner than they should ideally be).
6. Leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They’re most delicious when still slightly warm from the oven but still taste good the next day too…if you can leave them that long!