Cakey Chocolate Cookies

When I decided to increase my baking repertoire, I thought chocolate chip cookies made for a good start. The first ones I tried were the legendary Nestle Toll House’s best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I’ll tell you this, they just did not work. I ended up with flat, soft and dry discs of cookies which smelled too much of soda. Now it is entirely possible that I had heavily messed up the recipe. The recipe’s cult status is not for nothing. Therefore, I may (soon) try and dare to make them again, but you can understand if I was sceptical about cookies.

Then when I saw umpteen reruns of Nigella Express on TV showing these particular cookies - Triple Chocolate-chocolate cookies - and I could not let go of it. I hunted the recipe down from somewhere on the web. And made them the first time, even though I didn't have half the ingredients. But I'll come to that. Even then, these were the first ever, decent, chocolate cookies to come out of the oven.

I know you don’t need yet another cookie recipe to clog your timeline when there are so so many more out there. This , this or this anyone? But then in my opinion, one can never have too many recipes of chocolate cookies. Also there’s none on my blog yet, so my intentions aren’t completely altruistic either. This is what Nigella Lawson says of her cookies:  “This is what I call an investment. And it's worth it - these are the chocolatiest cookies you will ever come across.”And you know what, I agree. This recipe, no matter how you make it, will always taste of the chocolate-cookie wonder that it is supposed to have.

I have adapted this recipe endlessly. I think I must have replaced at least one ingredient (except maybe flour and egg) every-time I have made these cookies, so by now, I am not sure how they are actually supposed to taste or turn out since I have never had the real deal. No brown sugar? Replace the whole thing with granulated white sugar. No dark chocolate; replace it with milk chocolate (although this means they are less rich and more sweet). No chocolate chips? Just buy any chocolate you like, chop it up and add it to the cookie dough. No butter?? Replace that with vegetable oil. NO wait. Do not do that. Ever. Unless you want cookies swimming in oil, in the oven when they are baking, don’t even go there. Trust me. I know. I have done it. 

So why did these cookies turn cakey? I think it is because there was liquid in the batter, where there is none in the recipe. My chocolate sort of dried up while I was melting it, so I had added about a tablespoon of milk to make it smooth. It doesn’t affect the overall taste at all but I was looking for cookies, so the texture was a surprise to me. Maybe I should stick to the absolute original next time.

Chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

You need:

150 gm flour (about 1 ½ teacup)
¼  cup cocoa
1 tsp soda bicarb
½ tsp salt
100g dark (or baking) chocolate
100 gms soft, unsalted butter (about 1 teacup)
½ cup  brown sugar (raw sugar or Demerara sugar)
¼ cup white powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1egg (which should be cold from the fridge)
¾ cup dark chocolate chips, or milk chocolate chips

Makes 12
To make the cookies:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.

2. In a plate sieve together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Sieving is optional; I did it to get rid of the lumps.

3. In the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the dark (baking) chocolate

4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the two sugars. You can do this with an electric handheld mixer or by hand using a spatula.

5. To the creamed butter, add the melted chocolate and mix. Then gradually beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg.

6. Mix in the dry ingredients until the cookie dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate morsels or chips.  It will be sticky dough so if you want to make it easier to handle, chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

 7. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 12 servings of the cookie dough and place on a lined baking tray about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them, or they will spread more than usual.

8. Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes. Test the cookies for doneness using a toothpick or a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again.

9. Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to another plate. Cool them 30-45 minutes and not directly under a fan. The cookies  harden as they cool.

*Using the recipe above will not make your cookies cakey like mine.


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