Saturday, 13 February 2010

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Generally speaking, I'm not the greatest fan of some of America's contributions to our diet, like MacDonalds and Coca Cola, but there are many notable exceptions, and one such is the American Cookie. The British baked item of choice for enjoying with a cup of tea has traditionally been a rather harder more solid type of thing, I'm thinking Chocolate Hobnobs, Ginger Nuts, Shortbread, and so on, whereas the American effort is more  likely to be in the form of the chewy, slightly soft Cookie; chocolate chip, oatmeal and raisin etc. I love them - they really are quite addictive. So fond have I become of this style of biscuit, or cookie, that I find my old Gingernuts are now transformed out of all recognition. In fact they can no longer really be called Gingernuts, more of a Gingerbend, or possibly Gingerdroop, - 
I'm still using the recipe I've always used but I just bake them slightly less and I find in this way I am able to consume even more of them  than I did before.

I'm not sure that this is a good thing.

However, there is a slight problem with this style of baked goods if you live in the UK, in that if you leave a tin of biscuits, say Jammy Dodgers or something, out with the lid off, they do go a bit soft and lose their crispness, (rather in the style of an old British Rail cafe, stale hard sandwiches and stale soft biscuits) And so if you offer your freshly baked bendable cookie to an unsuspecting visitor they might just think that you're trying to fob them off with some elderly specimens that have been hanging around the larder for a bit too long, so be sure to announce in ringing tones as you're pouring the tea,
              "Do try one of my American style cookies, and yes, they are supposed to be like that."

I've tried quite a few different recipes and I now stick to my old gingernut recipe for the basic idea, and just change the ingredients for say, chocolate chip, or other variations. I don't really like unneccessary complication, and I find this simple method gives reliable results. But do take care not to overbake them or you'll get crisp biscuits instead of chewy cookies.

Ginger Bendies (or Gingernuts if you bake them long enough)

This is Delia's recipe, it's very quick and easy, I've been using it for years, but as I say, I now underbake them and get a softer chewier result.


2 oz/50g butter
4oz/100g Self raising flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2oz/50g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Golden syrup

The easiest way to do this is definately in the Kitchenaid/Kenwood. Just put the first five ingredients into the bowl and use the paddle on a medium/slow speed to breadcrumb stage. Then with the motor still running add the golden syrup (use hot spoon to measure it out more easily) and mix briefly until a rough dough forms. (Obviously you can easily do this by hand as I did for many years - just rub the fat into the flour to breadcrumb stage, add other ingredients and form into a dough.)

Form into walnut sized balls on a baking sheet and press down lightly like this

and bake for 10 minutes on the bottom shelf of the Aga with the plain cold shelf above, gas 4 Electric 175C. Take them out before you think they are ready, they will be puffy and palely golden, and will start to collapse as soon as you take them out, but don't worry that's all part of the plan. If you want crispy gingernuts, leave them a minute or two longer. Allow to firm up for a minute, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2ounces/50g  butter
4oz/100g Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
2oz/50g Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence, or seeds of half a vanilla pod
6oz/150g chopped up chocolate**
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
Using the same method as above, put the first four ingredients in the mixer bowl and use the paddle on medium /slow speed to breadcrumb stage. Then with the motor still running add the remaining ingredients and mix briefly until a rough dough forms.

Form into golfball sized blobs on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom rung of the Aga roasting oven with the plain cold sheet just above. For gas about 4, electric 175C /350F  for 10 minutes. Take them out before you think they are done. This will ensure that you get the chewyness, as opposed the crunchiness that we are looking for. They will be puffy, and palely golden, and will start to collapse as soon as you take them out. Don't worry, that's how they should be.
 Leave a few minutes to firm up then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

**You may think this is rather a lot of chocolate for a dozen cookies, in fact rather more chocolate chip than cookie, but in my book, if you're having a treat, you don't want to be fishing around wondering where the next bit of chocolate is do you?


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