Yes, I do realise it is January and “everyone” is apparently on a diet. But I wanted to bake something.
I get the urge occasionally, and I generally blame it on being a scientist. Back when I used to do biology my job was to weigh solids, measure liquids, mix them together, spin them around, heat them up, cool them down, and generally poke them about to get them to do something interesting. Now that I have a job where I sit in front of a computer cooking is my substitute for when I get the urge to do some of that. Not much spinning-around in cooking but the rest of it applies. And at the end I get to eat something nice (hopefully) rather than think “great, only 4 more repeats to go”.
As it is, I happen to live with a man who prefers oat-and-raisin cookies to chocolate-and-more-chocolate anyway, so I can make cookies with dried fruit in and pretend that it is healthy and therefore appropriate for this time of year.
This recipe is adapted from Nigella’s chocolate chip cookies from Kitchen, which is the only cookie recipe that I can get to work, and even then I can only get it to work by not-quite obeying the instructions.
Here we go:
- put the oven on first – quite hot – 190C maybe (you need it hotter than Nigella says)
- melt 150g butter (it really doesn’t matter if it is salted or unsalted)
- add 225g of sugar and stir it hard (ideally part white sugar and part brown sugar, but it doesn’t matter too much)
- add 1 tsp vanilla extract (the good kind, not vanilla flavour)
- add 1 egg and stir it hard(Nigella says 1 egg and 1 egg yolk but who can be bothered with that? What good is a single egg white? If I had a couple I could make meringues, but I just can’t be bothered here)
- stir in the things that are going to be in it – chocolate chips or raisins or in this case raisins and cut-up dried apricots and a couple of handfuls of oats (scissors are good for the apricots)
- stir in gently 300g plain flour and 1/2 tsp bicarb
- (Nigella says to put in the chocolate chips after the flour, but I find that makes it harder to get them nicely distributed)
- put onto baking tray with greaseproof paper on it – yes you do need the paper – I did golfball-sized balls and then squished them a bit – make sure to leave lots of room in between if you don’t want one big sheet of cookie (Nigella claims an icecream scoop is the way to go but she is wrong, unless you want cookies the size of your head)
- put in oven for as long as it takes for them to look brown at the edges but still feel soft when you poke them (best not to try to write a blog post about them while they are in the oven or else you may over cook them)
- take out of oven, lift the paper up and put it onto a cooling rack, put more paper onto the baking tray and do another batch
The cookies will get harder out of the oven. If you cook them at a lower temperature they will cook all the way through and be hard. We want them to be cooked at the edges but not-yet cooked in the middle when we take them out. That’s why you need the paper, so you can remove them from the heat. The stage that we want is too soft to be lifted off the metal baking tray without assistance.