I’m guilty of having neglected this blog lately… Here’s the thing: the more time that passed, the more I felt like I need to come back with a Bang! Something amazing, some blow-your-mind kinda recipe. And (naturally) nothing I made on a day-to-day basis seemed to live up to that!
When I managed to FINALLY perfect the art of the chocolate chip cookie, however, it was so well recieved I thought my family members might give me a round of applause! And so I figured that even though its a classic that everyone probably already has a tried and tested recipe for, it still deserves some blogging about.
Now, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with my cookie making. When I eventually made a great batch of cookies, I remembered something a baker once told me: “get to know your oven!”
I met this particular baker while I was taking evening Arabic language classes at City University in London a few years ago. I was dealing with a lot of lawyers in the Middle East for work at the time and figured knowing a few basics would help. I met the most diverse group of people during those few weeks: from a retired English lady doing volunteer work in Palestine, to Chinese journalists, a Polish lady who traveled all the way from Brighton to take this class as a hobby, and a Spanish baker!
I took the opportunity to grill (not literally!) the baker for baking tips, and she told me that when she first started taking it seriously, she bought herself a small electric oven and just baked to her heart’s content. She would halve recipes and tried loads until she knew her oven inside out. “Every oven is different,” she said, making ovens sound human!
This totally makes sense to me now. Whenever I try a recipe, I know to adjust the oven temp according to my own oven and often change how high the rack is halfway through baking, and make other little adjustments.
As for my recipe, you’ll notice that though traditionally brown sugar is also included, I omitted it and went for white sugar only. I also put a little less sugar than is normally used (most recipes call for 3/4 cup each of brown and white sugar) so if you like your biscuits very sweet, feel free to increase the amount by an extra 1/2 cup, but to be honest, 1 cup is more than enough for a great taste.
2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cup chocolate chips
Line your baking tray with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 165-170 degrees celcius (329-338 degrees farenheit), depending on your oven (I use an electric and go for 170).
In one bowl, put the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir together with a fork or whisk till they are well combined.
Seperately, beat the butter with the sugar till its soft and the sugar has mixed in well. Add the eggs one by one and then the vanilla essence, whisking to combine all the time. Then fold in the flour, in 2-3 additions with a spatula, taking care not to over mix. Stir it just till the flour has mixed with the rest of the ingredients. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.
*Important: at this point, put the batter in the fridge (after you’ve eaten a spoonful of course!) or alternatively, this batter will freeze well too. I would say refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Put a teaspoon of batter in your palm and roll it into a ball. Pop it onto your tray, and that’s going to turn into a delicious cookie soon! You should leave some space between cookies as they will spread as they bake.
Finally, bake for about 15-17 minutes. Take the cookies out but leave the oven on. Put them on a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t worry if they seem too soft as they harden as they cool. Then, grab your batter and go ahead and make another batch.