Somewhere in my attempts of embracing the change of seasons I have become somewhat obsessed with chocolate chip cookies. There is something so cheering about shedding your winter coat as you walk through your front door and warming up with a hot cup of tea and a sugary biscuit. I’ve shared a couple of recipes for chocolate chip cookies here before (Cupcakes and Cashmere’s recipe and For Me For You’s recipe) but my recent habit has been of the rolls wrapped in metallic red plastic variety. My Maryland obsession aside, I made these cookies as a fun dessert for a comfort food-themed dinner party I hosted at the weekend. Served warm and gooey from the oven paired with cold glasses of a boozy milk-based cocktail to dunk in.
I’ve made a few alterations to Joy The Baker’s recipe for Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies. This was based around personal preference (and what I had in my kitchen). I subbed vanilla extract for the seeds of one vanilla pod, swapped brown sugar for white caster and upped the treacle (molasses) quantity. That’s one of my favourite tiny kitchen tips, you can recreate/fake different brown sugars by adding varying amounts of treacle to white sugar until it’s about the right colour. You would not believe how much space you save not having a selection of bags of different sugars. I only have 1 ½ food cupboards, so I will take a food cheat where I can get one. Back to the recipe, I also prefer the only crunch of my chocolate chip cookie to be from the firmer outer diameter of the biscuit so I ousted the nuts and added a little more good quality dark chocolate (Tesco’s 74% Cocoa is amazing, and a really good price too).
I learnt a few baking lessons making these cookies. Firstly halving the size of the cookie dough balls does not make smaller, cute, Maryland sized ones. It makes them thin and flat and crunchy. About 2 tbsp per serving makes the most perfect crunchy around the outside, soft and chewy on the inside biscuits. Also, they are way better the next day, rather than eaten straight away (I know this for a fact as I’m eating one as I’m writing this, the day after baking). Leaving them overnight allows the butter to cool (they are a little greasy when warm), the chocolate to set, and the overall texture to become exactly what you would hope it would be. My last lesson was not to trust my oven, which is a hard truth when you are a baker. The first batch I made came out burnt to a crisp (my smoke-filled flat will not win me hostess of the year awards!). I’ve given Joy’s timings in the recipe, but my cookies took between 5-15 minutes depending on where it was in the oven. If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking their progress about every 5 minutes until they are golden brown around the outside but still light in the middle.
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makes 36 recipe by Joy The Baker
225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, and separated into equal halves
1 ½ cup caster sugar
1 tbsp treacle
1 large egg, plus one yolk
1 vanilla pod
2 ¼ cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
200g good quality high cocoa % dark chocolate, chopped.
- Put half the butter into a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and melt. To brown the butter, keep heating it until it starts to sizzle and crackle, keeping stirring to stop the bottom from burning. The butter will start to smell richer and nutty as it browns. The butter solids will separate out, when these turn golden brown pour everything (including all the solids) into a bowl and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
- When the brown butter has cooled it’s time to start making the dough.
- Cream together one cup of sugar and the remaining half cup of butter, for about 4 minutes until it is light and fluffy and has puffed up. Add the seeds of one vanilla pod and the treacle to the bowl and continue to mix.
- Pour the brown butter and the rest of the sugar into the bowl and beat for a further 2 minutes, then add the eggs and beat for another minute.
- Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and beat until it’s combined. Using a wooden spoon stir through the chocolate. Wrap the dough tightly in clingfilm, flattening to a disk once wrapped and leave to cool in the fridge until it feels firm, about two hours.
- 15 minutes before you want to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 175C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Scoop 2 tbsp portions of dough, roll into balls, and place at 2 inch intervals on the baking tray, flattening them very slightly as you lay them down.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are golden brown around the outside. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving, but I recommend at least 12 hours.
- After they have cooled to room temperature store them in an airtight container, where they will keep for a couple of days.
I’ve used a mix of cups and gram measurements here. Joy only uses cups, but I like the ease of measuring butter on a scale. I also omitted adding extra salt at the end, as I thought the taste of salt in the dough was strong enough.