Even in Summertime, soggy mornings make me think of massive mugs of heavenly hot chocolate, teeming with a mountain of mini marshmallows on a cloud of whipped cream, dusted with chocolate shavings. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on even the sourest of faces, especially if there’s a chunky chocolate chip cookie to dunk in it. I must admit, I like my hot chocolate made the old-fashioned way – boiled milk, slowly poured over flakes of grated chocolate & whisked up until silky smooth with a delicate foamy froth. After one of these & a cookie, I can take on the world (albeit slowly!).
Over the weekend, I was invited to a beautiful ladies’ afternoon tea at one of my lovely friend’s homes & took some of these naughty chocolate chip delights as a little gift for her (fresh flowers are nice, but you can’t really eat them!). These are based on a blondie recipe & are really rich & indulgent, because they are full to the brim with so much chocolate, then swirled & drizzled with more chocolate (just to make sure there’s enough in them!). The chocolate chip & peanut butter version was a kind of happy mishap – I was experimenting with the recipe & added a splodge of smooth peanut butter into each scoop, encasing that nutty, buttery centre in the cookie dough. As they bake in the oven, the peanut butter starts to melt & infuse the cookies (& kitchen) with that nutty flavour & sweet scent. Of course, they are drizzled with melted chocolate too & a few chopped, salted peanuts sprinkled generously on top – the slight saltiness complements the chocolate so well! These are not for the faint-hearted, nor are they for everyday munching really – they should be a treat, or for those days when you’re just feeling a bit pants & want a “pick me up”. If I’m feeling particularly decadent, I’ll make some with plain chocolate chunks & shards of stem ginger (my favourite), or chopped dried apricots with white chocolate pieces. The choices are as endless as your imagination! The best bit? They are really easy & take minutes to make.
What you need:
100g vanilla or caster sugar (I make my own vanilla sugar, so it’s naturally flavoured)
125g light Muscovado sugar
150g melted butter
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
300g plain flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (the proper stuff, not “essence”)
Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
200g milk chocolate & 100g plain chocolate, chopped into chunks (I chuck mine in the fridge for an hour, then whizz them up in the food processor)
200g milk chocolate (for melting)
What to do:
Pre-heat the oven to 170*C. Prepare a couple of baking sheets by lining them with greaseproof paper (no washing up tins later!).
Gently melt the butter & set aside to cool slightly.
In one bowl, sift the flour & bicarb.
In another bowl, mix the Muscovado & the vanilla sugars. Muscovado is a bit moist, almost like damp sand in texture, so break up any lumps with a whisk or fork.
Pour the melted butter, egg & egg yolk into the sugars, along with the vanilla extract. Whisk together until just combined & you get a creamy, caramel coloured liquid.
Slowly add the sifted flour & bicarb to the caramel liquid, stirring well until it is all incorporated & turns into a lovely firm cookie dough.
Add the chocolate chips to the cookie dough, distributing evenly.
Get yourself a medium sized metal ice-cream scoop (one with a spring loaded handle is best), then scoop dollops of cookie dough up & drop them onto the greaseproof lined baking tray. Leave a good couple of inches between them all – they will grow! If you want to save some for another day, you can always freeze a few scoops at this stage & just defrost them when you fancy a treat.
Bake in the centre of the oven for between 16-18 minutes, then gently transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack. If you put the tin next to the cooling rack, you can actually pull the greaseproof paper onto the rack & then move the cookies directly onto the rack after. They will be soft until they cool, so be careful as they are more delicate than they look.
Once cooled, put another sheet (or the same one) of greaseproof paper underneath the cooling rack. Then melt the chocolate & drizzle over the cookies, making whatever pretty patterns you like & even adding more chocolate chips or chopped nuts on top. That’s it!
You might want to leave them to set before indulging, or you’ll get into a chocolately gooey mess! Diamonds may be nice but chocolate is everyone’s best friend (especially when you share). A x