This is a scaled down and slightly saltier version of Dave Lebovitz’s cookies that I’ve been using for several years now. They have had the honour of being favourably and shamelessly featured on a Ferretbrain podcast, which was ostensibly about books but momentarily turned into live cookie-tasting and giggling over Mr. Pear’s voice and velvet jacket. Anyway, this recipe has always consistently given what I want from a cookie: a good size and depth, crisp outsides and fudge-like middles, lots of chocolate held together by a dough that is deeply scented with brown sugar and vanilla. I also find it less effortful to form the dough into a log and then slice it, but maybe that’s just me. You can follow the link to get the recipe for a larger batch, it’s just that creaming that amount of butter and sugar is agonising if you’ve got weak wrists and no electric mixer.
The cookie dough keeps in the fridge for about a week or the freezer for a month so you can basically have cookies on demand. This may or may not be a good thing. The dough must be well wrapped and kept away from strong smells. I’ve used dough that’s been chilled for about 12 hours and also at 24 hours, both were quite good. Bear in mind the flavours will deepen and the dough will get a little crumblier the longer it sits.
Because I was in an uncharacteristically generous mood, I took one cookie dough log out of the fridge and baked one batch for my friend’s birthday, giving her a whole stack wrapped in a twist of baking paper. A couple of days later I took the second long out of the fridge, baking them with Mary and sharing them with her and Mr. Pear as we all sat on the bed with our laptops having a LAN party. We’re all proper grown-ups, you know.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (via Serious Eats and Dave Lebovitz)
Makes 24 cookies.
The raw dough logs keep for 1 week in the fridge and up to a month when frozen.
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
125g soft unsalted butter, room temperature – should be easily spreadable but not melted!
100g light brown sugar
75g granulated or caster sugar (golden is nice)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
175g plain/dark chocolate chips or 200g plain or dark chocolate
(you can certainly use more chocolate, if you like, and add nuts/dried fruit/spices)
In a medium bowl, mix together the plain flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Put the soft butter, light brown sugar, and caster sugar in a large bowl and beat thoroughly until lighter in both colour and texture. This will take a good couple of minutes with an electric mixer and little longer by hand. When it’s ready it should have a somewhat mousse-like texture.
Beat in the vanilla extract and the egg. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly, then fold in all the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well to make sure there are no hidden pockets of flour. You should have a smooth, thick cookie dough.
Divide the dough in half; I weigh it to make sure it’s even. Place one half of the dough onto a lightly floured chopping board. With cool, floured hands, gently pat the dough into a log. It should be 23cm (9″) long and about 5 cm (2″) in diameter. Don’t worry too much about keeping it precise and even. Wrap the dough in clingfilm or foil and place in the fridge (or the freezer).
Chill the dough until firm, at least 1 – 2 hours in the fridge. I like to leave it in there overnight, but up to a week is fine.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Line 1 or 2 baking trays with paper depending on the size of the batch and the trays; each log yields about 12 cookies, all of which fit on my 35 cm x 26 cm (13.7″ x 10″) tray.
Take the cookie dough logs out of the fridge and cut them into 2 cm (0.75″) slices. You can make them a bit thicker if you want but you will get fewer cookies. Place them a couple of centimetres apart on the lined trays – they will spread quite a bit. If any slices look a bit small and thin, shave off dough from other slices and add it to the top. If you want round cookies then gently roll the slices into the shape you want.
Bake the cookies for no more than 10 minutes, turning the trays halfway through. Take them out at 8 – 9 minutes if you like chewy cookies; the cookies should be just set, with crisp-looking edges and soft middles. They will firm up upon cooling so let them sit on their trays for at least 10 minutes.