“Old Reliable” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies and Milk, the ultimate comfort food

Cookies and Milk, the ultimate comfort food

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Over the years, I have trialed dozens of recipes for Choc Chip Cookies with varying success.  Most of them are too sweet, many are finicky and unreliable recipes, others too chunky or just the wrong proportion of cookie to “bits”. This is the one I come back to. It produces cookies with a nice crunchy texture that will survive a dunk in fresh milk. The subtle vanilla-peanut flavours are perfect with cocoa or fresh coffee too. What’s not to love?

Of course we all know the true joy of cookies lies in their childhood associations. The smell of them baking, filling the house with delicious smells and anticipation. The guilty pleasure of eating the dough or burning tongue and fingers because we were unable to resist them fresh from the oven. They featured on the menus of tea parties, picnics with friends and solitary midnight snacks. Most of all they eased the pain of skinned knees and broken hearts. I have vivid memories of a sympathetic Dad sharing cookies, cuddles and the odd hanky on these occasions. That makes them the ultimate comfort food for me. On the anniversary of his death, I am feeling the need for a little comfort, so I shall put some Bach on the stereo and whip up a batch to share with the Junior Sorority.

Notes

For extra crunchy cookies, bake at 170ºC/340ºF for 15 – 18 minutes

You can substitute crushed cashews or almonds for the peanuts for a richer flavour and higher mineral content. Omit them altogether if you are catering for those with nut sensitivities.

I often substitute 1 cup of white flour mixed with 1¼ cups whole grain/whole meal flour for the 2¼ cups flour to give added fiber, minerals and texture.

Buy the best quality dark chocolate chips (with the highest cocoa content) that you can find. I have even smashed up blocks of chocolate with some success. This results in a *very* chunky cookie that needs to be made a little larger and cooked as for “extra crunchy” cookies above.

A teaspoon of cinnamon added to the mixture with the vanilla makes a delightful variation. I make these and sandwich together with Spiced Apple Curd or Lemon Cream for an extra special occasion.

makes approx  3 dozen cookies

  • 250g/8oz/1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white castor/superfine sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¼ cups plain/all purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g/70z dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed/crumbed raw peanuts
  • extra chocolate chips for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF. Grease and flour and/or line biscuit trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugars and vanilla together until creamy and very smooth.

Beat in the eggs until smooth.

Fold in the dry ingredients.

Stir in the choc chips and nuts. Make sure the dough is well mixed and the “chunks” are evenly distributed.

Pinch off or spoon out pieces of dough and roll into walnut sized balls. Place onto prepared trays, allowing plenty of room for spreading. Place extra chips on top for decoration if desired.

Bake in a moderate oven for 10-12 minutes, or until a nice golden brown. If you are using a longer cooking time to get extra crunchy cookies, watch them carefully for the last few minutes. They will start to burn quickly!!

Cool on the tray for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack so the undersides dry and “set” properly (they go soggy if you leave them too long).

Store in an airtight container.

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