Monday, 28 November 2011

Super Soft Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Sometimes, just sometimes, I hate technology. Namely, when it all goes wrong. The only positive of my internet service having a major paddy and me having to spend the best part of two hours glued to the phone was that I got to catch up on some cooking. 

With the phone sandwiched between my ear and my shoulder, I managed to rustle up a huge batch of warming cauliflower soup. As the time ticked over the first hour and with hold music still ringing in my ears, I turned my hands from savoury to sweet. It was a friend’s (who also happens to be my colleague) birthday and I wanted to make something that was easy to transport but would give us a good sugary kick.
I try my best to be healthy most days – I tend to reach for fruit over biscuits and you’re more likely to see me munching through a homemade salad at lunchtimes than a cheesy Panini – but every so often, I get a cookie craving. Biscuits won’t do. I need something sweet, soft and slightly gooey… A birthday seemed like the perfect occasion to flex my cookie-making-muscles.

This recipe has the major upside that it’s very simple to make, especially if you have an electric whisk. Don’t panic if the raw mixture is thick and gooey – that’s perfect! It should stand up by itself when dolloped onto prepared baking trays. The key here is to space your cookie mixture out across your trays – you want at least 5cm gaps between each one – as they spread as they cook. If you don’t, you ‘ll end up with one massive cooking which is cool until you try to get it off the tray. Don’t over-cook them either – keep a close eye on them once they’re in the oven and make sure you whisk them out of the oven before they get brown. The outer edges should be golden and the middle should still be soft so that they are delectably gooey when they cool.

Sometimes, naughty is nice!

Super Soft Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Makes half a dozen large cookies

200g unsalted butter, softened
170g golden caster sugar
1 egg
225g self-raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
50g chopped dark chocolate
50g chopped milk chocolate
50g chopped dried sour (or natural glacé) cherries

-          Preheat oven to 190c.
-          Beat butter, sugar and egg together in a bowl until smooth.
-          Sift in the flour and cocoa then mix again until smooth. The mixture will be thick and sticky – I was lucky enough to be able to use an electric whisk for this bit but if you don’t have any machinery at your disposal, get your biceps ready!
-          Fold in the cherries and half of the chocolate until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
-          Using a dessert spoon, scoop out spoonful’s of the mixture on to lined baking sheets making sure that they are well spaced as the mixture will spread as they cook.
-          Pop a few pieces of chocolate into each cookie to make them ultra-chunky.
-          Bake for 12 minutes, turning the tray around half way through cooking time to ensure that they are evenly golden around the outside but still pale and soft in the middle. Don’t overcook; remember that they will continue to cook in their own residual heat once out of the oven.
-          Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then remove from the tray onto a wire rack. Nosh any many as you can while they’re warm and then store any leftovers in an airtight tin.

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