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Fully Loaded Favourite Cookies

Fully Loaded Favourite Cookies

Cookies, stuffed full of raisins, milk and white chocolate and toasted hazelnuts

Inspiration for new bakes can come from all kinds of places, but I never thought the One Show (don’t judge me, my landlord watches it) would lead me to bake such a cracking cookie. They did one of their scintillating features on biscuits – the science of dunking, the nation’s favourite biscuit – all that need-to-know stuff. Anyway, they made some biscuits with the nation’s favourite ingredients – chocolate, raisins and hazelnuts – and apparently they were really rather good. So I decided I’d have a bash at something like it myself and here’s the result.

The hazelnuts keep the cookies from being overly sweet, what with all the chocolate and raisins in there. If you can’t get hold of toasted hazelnuts, put them on a baking tray in a hot oven for about 5 minutes. You can then get the papery skins off quite easily by rubbing them with a clean tea towel or some kitchen paper, but it doesn’t matter too much if you don’t remove the skins.

Fully Loaded Favourite Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 100g soft, light brown sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • small pinch salt
  • 50g raisins
  • 50g milk chocolate (drops, or chopped into smallish chunks)
  • 50g white chocolate (drops or chopped)
  • 50 toasted hazelnuts, chopped a little

Heat the oven to 190C. In a bowl, or in a freestanding mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and light. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well until well incorporated.  Add the flour, bicarb and salt and give another good beating so that you have a thick, sticky cookie dough with no lumps of flour. Chuck in the raisins, both types of chocolate and the nuts and give a good stir so that everything is well distributed in the dough.

You’ll need a couple of baking trays. Use your fingers to pinch off a lump of dough and roll roughly into a ball shape, about the size of a gold ball. Place the balls on the baking sheet, well apart as they will spread as they cook. I only got 4 to a baking sheet – you can always cook them in batches. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They’re done when golden, but should still be soft to the touch as they’ll firm up as they cool and it’s better to under-bake a cookie so you get that soft, chewy middle. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool (eat one while they’re warm – lush!).

I made 8 cookies with just over half the dough. Cookie dough freezes brilliantly, so just put any that you don’t use in a freezer bag, sling it in the freezer and then the next time you want a quick batch of cookies take the bag out and leave it on the kitchen counter – it’ll be ready to use in about 30-40 minutes!

For more of my cookie and biscuit recipes, take a look here.

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Chocolate and Orange Cookies

Chocolate and Orange Cookies

Deliciously chewy Chocolate and Orange Cookies

Another cookie recipe for you here, this time with the classic flavour pairing of chocolate and orange. As I’ve mentioned before, the key to a chewy centre in your cookie is to slightly under-bake them; take them out of the oven when the top is domed and cracked. I’ve used an ice cream scoop to portion these cookies as you get a very regular size and shape that way, but if you don’t have one then simply use your hands to roll the dough into balls about the size of golf ball. With a batch this size, I freeze half the raw mixture and then when I have a craving for something chocolaty it’s just a case of thawing for half an hour or so and baking – cookie craving quickly fixed!

Easy Chocolate and Orange Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 orange
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 200g chocolate chopped into chunks (I used milk, but plain would go just as well)

Heat the oven to 175C and lightly grease a couple of baking trays. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, finely grated rind of the orange and juice of half of it; beat again until well combined. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cocoa and stir until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Add the chopped chocolate and give a final stir so the chunks are evenly distributed.

Using an ice cream scoop, put 4 or 5 scoops of mixture onto each baking tray, making sure they’re spaced well apart as they will spread. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes; remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes while they set, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (although eating one while it’s still warm wouldn’t be such a bad thing).

Gluten-Free Coffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Coffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-free coffee and chocolate chip cookies, chewy and delicious

One of the things I love about baking cookies is that you don’t have to cook them all at once. Keep any left over cookie dough in a zip-lock bag – in the fridge for a couple of days, or in the freezer for a few months. I sometimes make big batches of dough and freeze enough for about 4 or 5 cookies per bag; then if you need a cookie fix or have friends coming over for a cuppa you can take a bag out, bring them back to room temp (it doesn’t take long, maybe an hour or so) and bake a fresh batch of cookies whenever you want! I’ve made these cookies gluten-free, but you could easily use normal plain flour if you’re not eliminating gluten from your diet.

Gluten-Free Coffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients:

  • 115g butter
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 160g gluten-free plain flour (I used rice flour)
  • half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 75g milk chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate

Heat the oven to 190C. In a bowl, beat the butter, sugars and espresso powder until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again until well mixed. Add to the bowl the flour, bicarb and salt and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well incorporated and there are no patches of dry ingredients. Stir through the chocolate chips.

Use a dessert spoon to place heaped spoonfuls of the mix on an ungreased baking tray. Make sure they’re well spaced as they will spread a lot – you should get about 6 on a tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They’re ready to take out when they’re golden, but still seem a little underdone – as if you’d leave a big dent if you prodded them with a fingertip (my best tip for cookies is to slightly undercook them; they’re a much nicer texture when cooled that way). Leave to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes until they’re set, then use a palette knife to slide them off the tray and leave them to cool completely on a rack.  Make a mug of tea and tuck in!

You could also replace the chocolate chips with a big handful of chopped walnuts for a twist on the classic coffee and walnut cake.