I really love being surrounded by friends and loved ones, to sit down together with cups of tea and, preferably, some baked goods alongside. There is something soothing about baking, perhaps the satisfaction of actually creating something that you can actually touch and smell, something that is real, compared to working on a intellectual level and usually with something that shows up on a screen. There is something very real about kneading dough and making these sweet sculptures that always puts a smile on people’s faces. Baking cookies, I adore it! I thought I’d share my recipe for these cookies, they are quite simple to make; sometimes when you wing it, they turn out even better than when you follow a recipe religiously. Except for this one, of course, which is perfect already ;)
225 grams of lightly salted or salted butter
425 g (or 5 decilitres) demerara sugar (natural brown sugar)
360 g (or 6 decilitres) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or more if you like)
6 small Daim bars (170 g) crushed up (but any chocolate or dried fruit or anything you fancy in your cookies is fine, as long as it doesn’t contain a lot of liquid)
- It is easier to make the dough if you take the butter out of the fridge for half an hour or so before starting to bake, so it is soft and easy to mix.
- Put the oven on at 175°C without using the fan, and have the heat on in the whole oven, not just at the top.
- Mix together the butter with the sugar and the egg in a bowl.
- If you want to be thorough, you can mix the other dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding them to the dough – I just throw it all in there one by one, just make sure the baking powder gets mixed in well into the whole dough.
- In the end, mix in the crushed up pieces of Daim or other chocolate that you have decided to use. Now, if the dough holds together if you make a ball of it then it is at the right consistency, sometimes this can differ depending on the size of the eggs, the quality of flour etc., so here you have to feel it to see if it is right. Sometimes there is a just a small amount of butter left in the package that you might as well use up, so then just add some extra sugar and flour to match. And taste it – do you want more vanilla in there, or maybe some cinnamon? I think baking is a lot about tasting and trying, just put in some sugar and spice and all things nice and see what happens.
- Now, usually the recipes tell you to make a roll which is 4 centimetres thick and then cutting that into 2 centimetre wide pieces which you roll into a little ball and push down into a little cookie on the baking paper in the baking tray. This is correct, but why go through the bother?! I have discovered that a well filled tablespoon of dough which you just dig up from the bowl and shape into a ball and flatten into a round shape is just the right size. Also, remember that the cookie floats out a bit from the heat and the baking powder. Nine cookies on a tray is just right so they have some space to grow and get yummilicious.
- Let them bake in the oven until they look golden, 12-15 minutes is about right, and it is always better to cook them for a little too short time rather than too long – you want them nice and chewy in the middle – no dry hard cookies in my kitchen s.v.p!
- It is a good idea to let them cool down on a cooling rack.