Wednesday, October 13, 2010

chocolate chip cookies

It's been a cold couple of days in Durban. I like the unpredictability of le printemps - Sunday was the perfect beach day, intense heat on Monday, then rain and cold: all in three days. Yesterday, the cold made me think of these chocolate chip cookies I used to make (for some reason, I can't find the link, but I initially found it from the bbc website years ago). It was the perfect weather to curl up with a good book, so I hadn't intended on doing anything in the kitchen - but that's why I love this recipe. It's incredibly simple; my nieces have made these with minimal supervision. In addition to it's entry-level-cook status, you don't have to bring out your electric mixer for these babies.

100g good dark chocolate or choc-chips
125g unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
75g (5 Tbsp) soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Chop the chocolate into little chunks and set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a small saucepan very gently until it has just melted. Meanwhile, put the two types of sugar into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter on top of the sugars and beat with a wooden spoon.
3. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well blended.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl and stir them in, then add the chopped chocolate.
5. Dot heaped pudding spoonfuls of the mixture over the lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space in between them--they really spread out while baking.
6. Wearing oven gloves, put the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 9-12 minutes, until the cookies are just turning golden brown. (If you have a glass door on your oven, watch the extraordinary transformation as these cookies bake--one moment you've got lumpy brown dough, the next, you have pale golden cookies, their shiny surface a network of cracks.)
7. Leave the cookies on the baking sheets to harden for a couple of minutes, then carefully lift up the baking parchment and transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
8. You can eat these cookies warm, but they are also good cold, and they store well in an airtight tin.

If I get bored of the recipe I like to add nuts - pecan nuts and hazelnuts are great additions to this cookie.

I love these chocolate chips from Pick 'n Pay. Sometimes you see them. Sometimes you don't. Baking stores sell choc-chips in bigger packages, I'm sure those are great too.

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