My Current Favourite Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are few things as satisfiying as homemade cookies- particularly the good ones: Saucer sized, thick and chewy and crammed with as many chocolate chips as possible. And over the years I have tried a ton of different cookie recipes- and for a basic chocolate chip cookie, these are my current favourite! They have a delightful craggy appearance and are delicious either fresh from the oven, or a few days later and retain their texture and chew even after a few days- if they last that long.

This recipe was originally from America’s Test Kitchen – to be precise “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook (15th Anniversary Addition)” an excellent (gigantic) cookbook- even if my version is now several years out of date! However I have made a couple of changes, and give the weights in grams rather than the original cups and ounces.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 18 Cookies)

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 170g Butter, Melted and Cooled
  • 200g Light Brown Sugar
  • 100g Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Coffee Extract (Optional but super good- if you don’t have it replace with more Vanilla)
  • 250g Chocolate Chips (I use a mix of white, dark and milk chunks)

To begin with preheat your oven to 170 C (I have a fan oven and therefore dropped it to 160 C) and line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugars at a medium speed until smooth. Add the whole egg, egg yolk and the extracts and mix until fully combined, scraping down the bowl and beater as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Finally stir in the chocolate chips (I usually do this by hand.)

At this point I chill the dough for around an hour, although if you are in a rush you can skip this step. I find it helps the cookies to keep their shape in the oven, and not spread too thin so recommend when you have the time!

Divide the dough into 18 pieces and roll them into balls. One at a time, pull the dough balls in half, and stick the two smooth sides together- so that the 2 ripped uneven sides form the top of the cookie- be careful not to smooth out that fantastic craggy surface (You can see why you want it in the picture below!)

Place the cookies on the prepared trays, ensuring to space them around 2 ½ inches apart. Bake the cookies until they are a light golden brown, and the edges are starting to harden- whilst still retaining that soft, puffy texture. This will take between 15-18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking trays (if you can’t resist them, feel free to pinch one once they are firm enough to move!).

Finally enjoy!

 

White Chocolate and Raspberry Bundt Cake

It’s my partner’s birthday this week, and I was looking for a good cake to make him. A couple of factors made me decide on this one- number one that I wanted to make a Bundt, as I had only used my Bundt tin once- making it a pretty expensive purchase that I hadn’t yet justified! Number two that British Raspberries were half price in my local supermarket, and I wanted a cake that would take advantage of that- Particularly after we scanned too many, and ended up with five punnets of raspberries!

I would personally usually choose a cake that contained chocolate, caramel, peanut butter or coffee- or some amazing combination of them all, but the BF isn’t as keen. He’ll happily eat them when I make them- who would refuse homemade cake – but I wanted to make something more to his taste for his Birthday!  As he was a fan of the last white chocolate and raspberry cake I made, I figured something similar would be good- but I wanted something a bit more special…

I spent quite a while looking for a base recipe to use for the Bundt cake- I had a bit of a struggle, as I could only find American recipes using cups (which really isn’t my favourite method of measuring, although I’ll cope for an otherwise good recipe) and using cake mix as the base (as I already have a cupboard overflowing with baking ingredients, I couldn’t justify this.)

Eventually I stumbled upon a recipe from hugoandelsa.com which had what I was looking for- a simple recipe with lots of raspberries (almost 2 punnets!), creme fraiche to keep it moist (although I used sour cream as I’m more familiar with baking with it) and ground almonds- which I am always a fan of in baking.

It worked perfectly for what I wanted, and I had a great stress free baking experience- and a happy family who got to devour delicious cake.

To finish it off, and really gild the lily I added a lightly whipped white chocolate ganache and freeze dried raspberries, resulting in what, to me, is a super pretty cake.

See the recipe below if you fancy giving it a go!

 White Chocolate and Raspberry Bundt Cake

For the Cake:

  • 225g softened butter
  • 200g caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 240g sour cream
  • 85 g white chocolate chips
  • 250g raspberries

For the optional (but highly recommended) Ganache/Decoration:

  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 125ml double cream
  • freeze dried raspberries, to sprinkle over the top (optional but oh so pretty!)

To begin with preheat your oven to 180 C – (I have a fan oven, and therefore dropped it to 170 C) and grease/flour a 9 cup bundt tin well, You really don’t want it to stick!  (I have the Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Tin and love the way it looks).

Using a stand mixer, cream together butter (I’d recommend cutting it into smaller pieces to make it quicker), vanilla and sugar on a high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Whilst it is mixing (unless you are using a hand mixer and therefore more involved!) sift your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for now!

Add the eggs one at a time to the butter / sugar mixture, beating for 20 seconds after each egg to ensure they combine.

Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the sour cream – I add the dry ingredients and then mix slightly by hand to ensure flour doesn’t fly everywhere – and then mix on high for 20 seconds, ensuring to scrape down the sides and bottom to make sure that the batter is thoroughly mixed.

Finally fold in the white chocolate chips and raspberries by hand- trying to make sure to not overly squash the raspberries!

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top and then bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre (Mine took 55 mins).

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

If you don’t want to frost the cake, you are done! Yay – Enjoy!

However if you would like to decorate the cake, proceed with the below white chocolate ganache, it’s super simple, and super tasty.

In a bowl set above lightly simmering water, combine your white chocolate and 50ml of the double cream. Stir, until the chocolate has melted into the cream and you have a smooth and glossy ganache. Leave the ganache to cool to room temperature, and then add the rest (75ml) of cream. Put in the fridge to chill until cold.

Once cold, I lightly whipped my ganache by hand, to give it a stiffer texture- like very lightly whipped cream (just about able to hold its shape when dropped off a spoon). This was to allow it to be piped on the cake without it all running off. Once whipped, put the ganache in a piping bag and cut off the tip of the bag to allow you to pipe a thick line.

The cake should be completely cool before beginning decorating. To pipe the cake, I simply followed the lines of the Bundt cake, and then used a palette knife to neatly spread the ganache.

To finish off the cake, I sprinkled freeze dried raspberries over the ganache- which I picked up randomly when I visited Copenhagen, and have been looking for a good place to use!

Then put the cake in the fridge until ready to serve- I personally best like cake and frosting cold from the fridge.

Finally enjoy!

 

 

Pizza Recipe

PizzaI love pizza, although it was something that I haven’t always liked- I distinctly remember not wanting to eat it when I was little. Making pizza is something that I have a fairly long-standing interest in- in fact I did a whole project based around making pizza for Food Technology during my GCSES! This included lots of tests about what was the best sauces or flours for making your pizza, including one notably horrific test involving testing flours (hint, never use potato flour for pizza!)

I particularly feel for my parents who served as taste testers (and then cruelly missed out on this pizza!)

This project rather put me off making pizzas- clearly I had my fill! In fact I had only made pizza once in the years since.

The other day however I had a sudden urge to make pizza, so I turned to one of my favourite and most trusted cookbooks- The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – as I was sure that Deb would not steer me wrong.

I used her quick pizza dough recipe as we wanted to eat pizza as quickly as possible and it worked great. The pictures are actually of the second time I made this recipe- the first time I topped it with chunks of ham and pineapple (dried with paper towels so as not to make the pizza soggy) to make the boyfriends favourite pizza. The second time it was a simple margherita, one of my personal favourite types!

What I really love about making pizza dough is that you take a simple selection of ingredients and can make something delicious and worthwhile from it- which is one of the best reasons for baking in general.

The ingredients list is for the second pizza I made but choose your own toppings if you want- just don’t weigh the pizza down too much, or use too moist toppings as they may make the pizza sloppy.

I make this pizza by hand, athough it can also be made using a mixer with dough hook attachments, simply because I don’t want to deal with extra washing up I can avoid!

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil for coating bowl
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 200g Strong White Flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp dried yeast
  • 100ml warm water
  • Polenta for sprinkling
  • 85g Passata
  • Salt
  • Chilli Flakes
  • 1 garlic clove minced (I grate mine on a microplane)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 115g to 140g mozzarella- torn and well dried on paper towels
  • Basil leaves
  • Parmesan to grate on top.
  • Turn oven to warm (120°/110°C Fan Oven) for five minutes, then turn off.
  • Pour the warm water into a mixing bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast- leaving to stand for five minutes.

Add the flour, then salt and mix with a wooden spoon until a rough mix is formed. Turn dough and any lose bits onto a floured counter, kneading until a smooth elastic dough forms.

Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with olive oil. Place dough back into bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place in the warmed oven and leave for 30 mins or until doubled.

Remove dough from oven and preheat oven to its highest temperature.

Sprinkle a rimmed baking tray (about 23×32 cm) with polenta. In a bowl mix together the passata, a pinch of salt, chilli flakes to taste and the garlic. Adjust to taste, adding sugar if necessary.

Stretch dough to fill tray. Spread with the sauce leaving a margin at the edges. Place mozzarella on top. Bake for 7-11 minutes (Mine was slightly over done on top at 8 mins so keep an eye on it!) Sprinkle with basil and grate parmesan on top. Slice into squares on the baking tin.Pizza Slices

Finally enjoy!

I’d love to hear about your favourite pizza toppings.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodle front

I am a big fan of cinnamon; particularly as it gets towards the Christmas period- it’s a spice that always reminds me of Christmas! There is one cookie that always makes me think of cinnamon, and that is Snickerdoodles! I have been wanting to make snickerdoodles for a while- in fact it was a couple of months ago that I picked up some cream of tartar just to make them. (I can’t really think of many other uses for cream of tartar of the top of my head!)

I did however wait to make snickerdoodles until it was November- which really feels like the perfect time to make them, they feel quite seasonal and I like having recipes that I only make at certain times of the year. However after trying this recipe I can see a lot more snickerdoodles in my future! I have tried making snickerdoodles before, but found that although I loved the flavour the texture was a little lacking- they often went fairly flat and crunchy. I like my cookies soft and thick!

It therefore seemed like fate to stumble across a recipe for soft and thick snickerdoodles at Sally’s Baking Addiction. They sounded like everything I had been wanting in a snickerdoodle. And luckily they lived up to my hopes! They are soft with a really good texture.  They also taste strongly like cinnamon and are delicious.

What is handy about this recipe is that the cookies last. They last for about 7 days, if stored at room temperature in an airtight container. I think they would be a perfect cookie to give as a gift, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with a gift of these!

Snickerdoodle trio

Ingredients (makes about 24)

230g Butter at room temperature

267g Granulated sugar (I used caster and it worked fine but granulated may give a little more crunch.)

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1tsp vanilla paste)

375g plain flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp table salt

For the Topping

50g granulated sugar (I used caster, granulated may give a little more crunch.)

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190°C. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper or silicone baking mats.

Make the topping by mixing together the 50g sugar and 1tsp sugar, put to the side.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter until smooth. Add the sugar on a medium speed and continue beating until it is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla.

In a different bowl, whisk (by hand) together the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet in three different parts. I did this by adding a few tablespoons of the dry mixture at a time.

Take 1.5- 2 tbsp. of the cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar topping. Repeat for all remaining dough.

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes; you can lightly press them with a fork whilst they are still hot to help flatten them out if required.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten mins, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

Finally enjoy!

Snickerdoodle closeup

I’d love to hear any recommendations for great baking recipes with cinnamon!