Monday, 3 March 2014

Chocolate cookies

About eight years ago, someone gave me the Divine Chocolate recipe book for my birthday, and for a very long time it was my absolute favourite recipe book for quite some time. In the last eight years, my recipe book collection has grown considerably, and while this has meant that the Divine Chocolate book was no longer the only dog-eared book that lived in my kitchen, I have always deferred to it for fool-proof chocolate recipes. Every recipe I have baked from this book has been, well, divine, and all of the recipes have worked beautifully.

This cookie recipe was the first cookie recipe I truly loved. The beauty of it is that you don't have to chill the dough, and they only take 8 - 10 minutes to bake. And they look beautiful. There are just two elements that are essential to bear in mind when baking these:

1) You need to use chocolate with 70% cocoa solids. I've tried to use cheaper, regular dark chocolate, and it just doesn't work properly.

2) The 1 tablespoon of cocoa changes everything. I once made a batch of these cookies without it and they just didn't work. Don't even think about omitting the cocoa. 

200g 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs at room temperature
150g caster sugar
25g plain (all purpose) flour
1 tbsp cocoa
50g chocolate chips or nuts (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4 / 350F. Grease three large baking trays.
2) Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave.
3) Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. The residual heat of the chocolate is sufficient to cause the butter to melt.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about three minutes, or until they have turned pale and frothy.
5) Stir in the melted chocolate and butter mixture with the eggs and sugar.
6) Sieve in the flour and cocoa and stir until combined.
7) If you are using chocolate chips or nuts, stir them in now.
8) Using two dessertspoons, scoop the mixture onto the greased baking trays, leaving plenty of space in between each cookie to allow them to spread while baking.
9) Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8 - 10 minutes, or until the cookies have developed the cracked appearance that you can see in the photo. Remember that they will continue to cook once out of the oven, so don't over bake.
10) Leave the cookies to cool on their trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Baking notes

// The mixture will be very runny. This is perfectly normal and not a problem. However, it can make spooning the mixture onto the tray a little...messy. If you leave the bowl at room temperature for 10 or so minutes, it will thicken ever so slightly as the chocolate cools, which makes it easier to scoop onto the tray. 

// If you fancy adding a bit of complimentary flavour to these cookies, you could use orange or mint chocolate. I've tried both, and loved them. Just make sure that you use 70% cocoa solids chocolate.

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