Baking is not something that comes as naturally to me as cooking.
I LOVE baking – but 99% of my creations are often more often described as having an ‘interesting flavour’ or ‘unusual texture’ or, ‘you know what, I actually like the burnt bits!’. To anyone out there thinking I’m being modest – I’m not. I probably bake a great deal more than you think I do, as I don’t often share these adventures with people, and I assure you, 99%.
Cookies have always been a favourite of mine to bake as even if the texture is ‘interesting’ or the flavour is ‘unusual’, I’ll probably still like them, especially when they are warm with a good ol’ dollop of ice cream. And they require such little equipment, I never have to worry about cupcake liners, or cake tins, etc. But I had never refined my own recipe and made anything consistent. Until these!
The first time I made these cookies, I was flabbergasted. Crispy on the outside, chewy and gooey and soft on the inside. Sweet – but not too sweet. And the best bit? They didn’t immediately downgrade to bin-worthy rocks the next day like my usuals. They were still soft, gooey, and chewy.
The second time I made them, it was a hot, sticky day. I discovered the importance of the texture of the cookie dough, which was different at first, due to the hot day. The butter was all melty you see! The cookies with what I thought was a ‘suitable’ amount of flour, and with a stickier texture, tasted great, but didn’t cook right and spread across the whole damn baking sheet (not really a problem as we all just indulged in melty half baked cookie dough and ice cream, but still). I also discovered that simply putting the cookie dough in the fridge or freezer to firm up, as many recipes suggest – didn’t actually give me the desired result either. The batch where I added a much large amount of flour however to change the texture, was perfect. NOT cakey, like I had feared.
The third time was another hot day – and I didn’t have any weighing scales this time, so this was the real test. But I had learnt from before, what the cookie dough should feel like. I added the equal parts in different sugars. The egg. The vanilla extract. The baking soda. And I just kept adding flour until the mixture was thick enough so you could have picked it up and thrown it at someone as one huge ball. And the cookies were a flying success.
The fourth time, my vegan cousin was round to stay, so I substituted the egg for a flaxseed egg (although I forgot to let it set in the fridge.. but that didn’t seem to make a difference), the butter for non dairy spread, and the dairy chocolate for vegan chocolate. The cookies tasted exactly the same as the non vegan ones, which I consider a flaming victory.
So here we are! The first recipe I have made over, and over, and perfected. Some of this is to do with how the recipe looks/feels, and next time I make it I will photograph each step to make this clearer.
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan and non Vegan version)
- 100-125g Caster Sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
- 100-125g Light Brown Sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
- 220g Salted Butter (or non dairy spread + a pinch of salt)
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Medium Egg, or 1tbsp milled flaxseed mixed with 3tbsp warm water
- 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1tsp Baking Soda
- 280g-400g Plain Flour
- 200g-300g Chocolate chips/chunks – I like to do a split between milk, dark, and white – if you are making the vegan version, dark chocolate is of course the easiest option but also there are some great vegan milk and white chocolates about!
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Mix together the sugar and butter/spread and vanilla extract until creamy and smooth. Try to make sure the butter/spread is reasonably cold, and chop it up into thin strips to make it easier. I prefer to do this by hand, even though it takes a long time, have patience!
- Add the egg/flax egg, and mix. Then start by adding 280g of plain flour with the 1tsp of bicarbonate. Mix through with a wooden spoon until combined thoroughly, and check out the texture. If it is super thick and difficult to stir, like pre-made cookie dough rolls you find in stores, then awesome! It’s ready, and you can stir through all the chocolate chips. If not, keep adding flour. Just keep going. Ideally, when you gently touch it, it should not come off on your fingers, and the dough shouldn’t be too greasy. If it is, no fear! They’ll still taste great, it just might mean your butter was a bit too melty, and the mixture might spread more on your baking trays, so put them a bit further apart.
- Stir through the chocolate chips/chunks if you haven’t already done so.
- Bake for around 7-9 minutes, until lightly browning round the edges, and golden all over. They will not be firm to touch. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes or they will be too squidgy to remove from the baking sheet!