I originally scheduled this post and recipe to publish earlier this week. And then, with the current events, I got anxious: 'is this too trivial to post a cookies recipe like if nothing else is going on?', 'will I?', 'should I?' and on and on...
And you know what? I remembered that when I get really stressed or anxious (exactly where I am at these days), one of the things that help me cope among others is cooking. I find that preparing food puts my mind at ease. And somehow, I feel like I am not the only one.
In the meantime, let's bake some cookies! I have a few pointers below about how bicarbonate of soda is important etc. Let's face it, we won't all have the exact ingredients we need at the moment. Use baking powder if you don't have a choice, the cookies will be a little denser but delicious all the same. No chocolate? Chopped nuts will do.
I made many batches of chocolate chip cookies over the years. They were always very tasty but I never quite reached the point where they are perfectly chewy in the centre and crispy on the edges. They would not really even spread on the baking tray and become dense cookies that were hard the next day.
And would you like to know why? That is because I skipped the part where you add bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda in the US) to the recipe. Every single time!
Well, after this delicious batch of beautiful chewy cookies, I will not be repeating that mistake again.
A little bit of cookie science here (well, at least I will try to explain it with my own words): the bicarbonate of soda mixed with an acid will make the dough rise when baking and in the case of cookies, it will give that lovely chewy texture. Without it, you will have dense cookies (believe me, I have years of experience baking and eating those). The acid for the cookies recipe is the light brown sugar (or light muscovado like I used) so do not replace with ordinary sugar or skip it either if you are after that chewy in the middle and crispy on the edges finish.
And yes, I hear you: "oh but can I maybe replace the bicarbonate of soda with baking powder?" Been there, done that. It's just not the same and you will end up with denser cookies that don't spread on the baking tray.
So guess what I am doing this weekend? Yes, I will be baking chocolate chip and fleur de sel cookies (and renovating the house we just bought, but that's a story for another time).
So, are you more into chewy or dense cookies? Have you also been skipping baking soda and just had an 'aaahhh' moment?
If you make the cookies recipe below, share a photo on instagram and tag me so I can see the result!
Ingredients (make 12 cookies)
130g softened unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
120g light muscovado sugar
190g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
200g dark chocolate chips
sea salt (like fleur de sel or salt flakes)
1. Cream the softened butter and the sugars together in a large baking bowl until it is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
2. Stir in the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and fine salt until it is well incorporated in the dough. Add the dark chocolate chips and mix in until well distributed. Cover the bowl and put the dough to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan). Line two baking trays with parchment (or cook in two batches if you only have one tray). Scoop the dough with an ice cream scoop onto the baking tray (6 scoops per tray) making sure to leave enough space in between to allow for the cookies to spread. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown.
4. Take the tray out, immediately sprinkle the cookies with a bit of fleur de sel on top (use sea salt if it's easier to get). Leave the cookies on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
Keep the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days (if they actually last that long).