If you are looking for THE best ever cookie recipe, look no further. Be prepared to swoon once you try these.
Any recipe which calls for a heart-stopping amount of chocolate (like 500 g) is certain to provide relief from whatever it is that is causing you to seek solace in something sweet. This particular recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express, which comes via Elinor Klivans.
Having travelled a fair bit to the US in the past few years, I can never resist coming back with a few kilos of chocolate chips each time, especially flavours not easily found outside of the US, such as peppermint, caramel, butterscotch and – my favourite – Reese’s peanut butter chips. Actually, up until only very recently, chocolate chips didn’t even exist in Switzerland! Despite being the land of chocolate, the world-reknowned chocolate factories here do not produce chocolate chips for baking, a rather curious fact which I have brought up on several occasions when chatting to my Swiss neighbour. By some foodie miracle, I found myself living in the same building as someone who has the enviable job of working on the production floor at Lindt, and whose warm and generous spirit keeps me in a constant supply of “dodgy” chocolates and excess truffles. To say that I am lucky to be his neighbour is a great understatement. Anyway, I digress …
The Swiss baking repertoire does not traditionally include muffins and chocolate-filled biscuits and, hence, there is no local need for chocolate chips except to produce those baked goods which the expats are so fond of. But recently, some supermarkets started to stock a limited range of chocolate chips (made in Germany) and Schokoladewürfeli – a distinctively Swiss name for little cubes of chocolate.
After cleaning out the kitchen recently, I was rather alarmed at my stash of chocolate in the pantry. I had been accumulating bags of chocolate chips like some people would (more sensibly) stock up on tinned tomatoes in the event of a war. In fact, my neighbour would have been insulted by my vast collection of American chocolate. And with the expiry date approaching on many of the bags, I recently had the arduous task of incorporating chocolate chips into my baking wherever I could.
Usually, I make these cookies with Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate chips in the “normal size”. This time, I only had the “mini” version in the same flavour, but they still worked wonderfully in this recipe.
If you stick to good-quality cocoa and 70% chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate), you should find that these cookies ooze deep, dark chocolatiness as opposed to being sickly sweet. To that end, I think this recipe works best with dark chocolate. In fact, I have used this recipe so often and fiddled with the chocolate content so much that I can confirm that milk chocolate would not give the same results; they will still be good, but then you do really need a glass of milk alongside to wash down the sweetness.
Nigella recommends making a full batch and forming all of the cookies, but then only baking half of the batch and freezing the rest to bake at a later time. This is a brilliant idea, although if you bake the full batch, they keep rather well in an airtight tin and you will have no trouble finishing them anyway.
I baked a full batch and gave some to my neighbour who had no trouble identifying the foreign chocolate 😉
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