So this might be inappropriate for all those hardy souls giving up chocolate for Lent,* but for the rest of us who aren’t, what could be more appropriate on hump-day than a recipe for giant sea-salt dark chocolate cookies. Though giving up chocolate is not something I’ve chosen to do, I do think that there is something to be said for limiting consumption to really good stuff. I am as bad as the next girl for a sneaky KitKat (or three) or eating spoonfuls of Nutella from the jar, but there are so many advantages to eating more intentionally – not just in the sense that it is healthier, but really just because the more you are a aware of what you are eating, the more you enjoy it. Making your own cookies (especially these ones!) exemplifies this philosophy – so much more satisfying then ripping open a pack of Oreos and scoffing 4 in one go, these may be quick to make, but involve the complete sensory experience. The salt flakes accentuate the sweetness of the cookie, and moreover the depth of the chocolate. In line with above, don’t skimp on the ingredients – rather make a half batch with real butter and real chocolate than 2 with margarine and pretend dark-chocolate-that-contains-only-25%-cocoa-solids lame stuff. For realz.
Makes 14-18 cookies
100g caster sugar
120 g dark muscovado sugar
115 g butter, cubed
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
175 g plain white flour
1 tsp sea salt (I used Achill Sea salt)
100 g good quality dark chocolate, grated.
100 g good quality dark chocolate, cut into chunks.
1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Locate 2-3 large baking sheets (I only had two, so I cooked in batches – you will literally only get about 5 per sheet, they spread out enormously).
2. Cream the butter and sugars together until relatively light and fluffy. Mix in the egg.
3. Stir together the flour and baking powder, then mix them into the batter. Add the grated chocolate (which will sort of blend into the batter), and the bigger chocolate chunks (which will stay whole throughout the cooking process). Mix until all the ingredients are smoothly combined, and the chocolate is pretty evenly distributed.
4. Scoop about 11/2 tbsp of mixture into a rough ball shape. Flatten out very slightly, and sprinkle with a good shower of sea-salt flakes. Make sure you leave enough space – honestly, 4 per sheet may be loads, and it is quite disheartening after all your effort to have a giant cookie lake-slab instead of nice round cookies.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown but not really dark – it is nicer to have them chewy then totally biscuity. Full disclosure, in the pictures above, mine are mostly too done (some might say slightly burnt…). They will still taste nice, but not as nice, so do watch them.
6. No matter how much you want to pull them off the tray immediately, RESIST. In cookie-making, there are a few fundamental rules (see using real ingredients, and leaving enough space above), but one of the most important tips is do NOT try to move the cookies before they have been out of the oven for at least 10-15 minutes. Not only will they continue to cook on the tray, but they will firm up, magically unstick themselves from the bottom of the tray, and generally become something that you could hold in your hand, rather than a mass of buttery dough that crumbles at one touch. You have been warned (I speak from the sad experience of ruining too many batches by greedily chivying them off the tray too early).
*You could substitute the chocolate for dried cranberries and your pick of chopped nuts (I’d go with walnuts or hazelnuts), adding about 1tsp of vanilla extract to the batter with the egg – still delicious. For more cookie fun, see http://daisychainfeasts.com/2014/05/12/make-cookies-not-war/ and http://daisychainfeasts.com/2014/12/22/run-run-fast-as-you-can-you-cant-catch-me-im-the-gingerbread-man/ and also here http://daisychainfeasts.com/2014/07/29/who-stole-the-cookie-from-the-cookie-jar/. I am totally running out of cookie-related idioms – will have to call the next post ‘Cookie recipe’. Enjoy xo