Friday, 28 June 2013

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today was the last day of school at Markinch Primary.  It was therefore also my last day working there since I'm going back to university at the end of the summer holidays to study for my PGDE in Primary Education so I can be a teacher myself!  Feeling like you're making progress in your life is quite satisfying really.  Anyway, before I got official supply work there at the start of June I was just a volunteer classroom assistant and spent pretty much all my time there between January and June with P1b, who are a completely lovely bunch of children and I adore them (the two horrors included).  So I wanted to make them an end of year present, even though I'd not been working in their class for the last month, and I settled on chocolate chip cookies since they are easy to make in bulk and were more likely to be enjoyed by everyone.  I was determined to make fairly large ones though, because they would only be getting one each, and ideally a chewy one because as much as I like crunchy biscuits, I think chocolate chip cookies are delicious when they are soft.  Plus it'd be easy on the kids' teeth.

The other two cookie recipes I have made previously produce small and firmer cookies, rather than chewy.  Of course, I've learnt since the last time I attempted (and failed) to make chewy cookies that the chewiness comes from undercooking them slightly.  I still went looking for a different recipe from my other ones though, because I wanted one that produced bigger cookies.  However, I sort of ended up with something I could almost call my own but is heavily influenced by Baker Bettie.  Now she has lots of cookie recipes on her site (and I really want to try out her recipe for World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies at some point to see if they live up to their title) but the one I ended up working with was one for making cookies from just five ingredients.  What I liked about it was that you could use any variation on the ingredients: so whatever flour and sugar and egg and butter you had on hand.  This was a fantastic base point because it meant I could work with what I had or what I knew produced yummy results and this would be my guide for ratios.  

My cookies didn't end up with only five ingredients though.  Mine have seven, since I used two types of sugar (and three in my second batch since I didn't have quite as much brown sugar as I thought and had to make up the rest with muscavado) and I added some vanilla because I like putting vanilla in biscuits.  Since I was making slightly bigger cookies than the original recipe I was very weary with spacing on the trays and started with four, one in each corner, so I could see how much they spread.  This also meant I had to monitor the first batch in terms of cooking time since they would need a bit longer than the original 7-9 minutes.  Turns out only a couple of minutes extra were needed.  And it took me a couple of tries to get the amount in the scoops right to get evenly sized cookies but I got into the swing of it eventually.  I made two batches of the cookies, since there were 25 in the class.

These cookies are delicious!  Lovely and chewy and there were so many chocolate chips that they were amazing!  I was so pleased.  I decided to dress them up for the kids and made little presentation envelopes from greaseproof paper, with homemade labels that say 'you're one smart cookie!' on them.  The end result was really quite cute, if I say so myself.  The kids were all super excited when I handed them out so yay!  I don't know if they liked them since they got them just as they were leaving.  Hopefully they will.  I know I did and I'm picky, as you know.

And I got presents too!  Which was a lovely surprise.  I got a huge bunch of flowers, which is now sitting on my dinner table, and a book full of photos of the kids doing various things across the time I've been there (and a few of me taken on the rare occasion I was not in charge of the camera) as well as individual drawings and messages from each one.  It's so lovely!  There's also spare pages at the back which I've decided I can stick all the pictures they given me over the last few months onto.  Plus the fiancĂ©'s Mum (who is their teacher) says she's got photos of me baking with them (we did bread and cake pops) which she didn't get developed in time so they can go in there too.  I'm seriously going to miss them.

Recipe - inspired by Baker Bettie
Makes 15 large-ish cookies 

  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 115g/4oz caster sugar
  • 115g/4oz dark brown sugar (or 60g/2oz dark brown sugar and 60g/2oz dark muscavado sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 155g/5.5oz plain flour
  • 170g/6oz milk chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line 2-3 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugars together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in the flour until combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly mixed throughout the batter. 
  6. Scoop heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture (I actually used an ice cream scoop) and place on the trays, spacing them well apart since they spread a lot. (I got 5-6 cookies per tray).
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes.  The cookies should have spread, have golden edges but still look underdone in the centre.
  8. Remove and allow them to rest on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

That's an A4 book, just so you know and can compare the cookie's size to it.

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