The difference between cookies and biscuits is often missed in the UK. Cookies here tend to be a tad too biscuity (in the UK sense of that word) for my liking: too crunchy, too heavy and too thick. A proper American cookie is both crisp and soft; it should have crunch when you bite it but a slightly yielding interior. This, my friends, is nigh on impossible to find in Britain and I have never found a recipe that works. British ‘cookie’ recipes are always just that bit too biscuity for my liking. Or, even worse, the bloody things don’t set and have far too much give. How ironic then that the perfect recipe should belong to a New Zealander. Not any old Kiwi, mind, but the talented and inventive Peter Gordon who, amongst many a recipe involving coconut milk and lime leaves in Cook at Home, also sneaks in some simple (and completely-going-into-my-repertoire) delights like this one.
I baked these on Sunday, when a bug had confined me to the house for 24 hours and I needed something to distract me. And they were/are perfect. Fast as anything to make, a brilliant crunch-then-soft texture and they even tasted more American than my usual efforts (and no, I have absolutely no idea what I mean by that…!). I followed the recipe, in that I used two types of chocolate, and peanuts and pecans but I’m sure it will lend itself to all sorts of substitutions. Apparently they last up to a week in an airtight tin. I defy any cookie-lover not to love these. Now, who’s for coffee?
Peter Gordon’s Double Chocolate Nut Cookies (adapted from Cook at Home)
For about 20 you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
unsalted butter, 125g at room temperature
plain flour, 140g
bicarbonate of soda, ½ teaspoon
salt, a pinch
caster sugar, 70g
demerara sugar, 70g
dark chocolate, 60g
white chocolate, 60g
nuts, 80g (he suggests peanuts, pecans and/or toasted hazelnuts; I used the first two).
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan-assisted/gas 3. Line a couple of flat baking sheets/trays with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars in a food mixer/processor or, if you’re feeling energetic, in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
3. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together.
4. Chop the chocolate and nuts into small pieces.
5. When the butter and sugars are mixed together into a thick, light-coloured mixture, beat in the egg then tip in the flour and mix in well.
6. Finally, add the chocolate and nuts to the mixture and stir once or twice to mix in.
7. Put heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the trays (leave a good couple of centimetres between them; they will spread quite a lot) then bake for about 6-8 minutes.
8. Remove the trays from the ovens, bash them once on the kitchen counter/a hard surface (apparently this knocks out the air) then return them to the oven for another 6 or so minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven again, bang on the surface again then leave them to cool on a wire tray.