The weather has cooled, the garden is turning golden and there is the smell of chocolate cookies emerging from my kitchen - as much as I hesitate to admit it, autumn is upon us.
To start off my autumnal baking season, I like to make a foolproof cookie recipe that even the youngest bakers in your house can embrace and help with. With this recipe you are looking for cookies that bake only very slightly crisp around the edges and chewy and soft within. The trick is not to over-bake them. They should still be soft when you remove them from the oven.
Triple Chocolate Cookies
- 250g unsalted butter, well softened
- 150g soft light brown sugar (I like to use "Tate& Lyle Light Soft Brown Sugar")
- 150g superfine (caster) baking sugar
- 2 eggs (L), organic or free range
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/1 tsp fine sea salt
- 350 g white spelt flour (or use all purpose aka plain flour)
- 60g Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g high quality milk chocolate, in chunks (try to get "dark" milk chocolate with at least 50% cocoa solids)
- 100g high quality dark chocolate, in chunks
- 100g high quality white chocolate, in chunks (try to use one with hints of vanilla and not overly sweet)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F),
- Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- In the large bowl of your mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until soft and creamy.
- Break the eggs into a bowl, mix lightly with a fork then, with the beater still turning, add to the butter and sugar.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and salt
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and, lowering the speed of the mixer, fold into the batter.
- Add all the chocolate chunks – the milk chocolate, dark and white chocolate and try to combine thoroughly, until you have got a thick, sticky dough, but do not overmix.
- Spoon mounds of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of space between them.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the cookies are still soft in the middle and the chocolate chunks molten and gooey. NOTE: they will be really soft at this point, but will firm up as they cool, so leave them undisturbed on their baking sheets for three or four minutes to settle, then transfer to a cooling rack until they are at room temperature. They are best eaten warm, but they will keep for several days in a cookie tin. But no batch has ever been known to last till the next day in our house and, inevitably, most times they will be eaten as soon as they are cool enough not to burn fingers.
The combination of white sugar and soft brown sugar is a common one: the former adds some crunch, the latter a caramel flavor. I prefer to use super fine baking sugar (caster sugar) and soft light brown sugar rather than granulated because I like a cookie with less of a crunchy edge, if you prefer a cookie with crispier edges, than, by all means, use a granulated sugar with larger grains.
As far as the flour is concerned, while I like to use white spelt flour here, you can use all purpose flour aka plain flour in these cookies.
Chilling the dough before use is fairly standard. Texture wise I like to chill my cookie dough overnight, the increased firmness of the cookies is very noticeable, as is the more complex, almost caramelly flavor.
Go for good quality chocolate too – suitable for baking - this will ensure that not only will you end up with less sweeter, great tasting cookies, but also cookies with delightful chunks of chcolate that melt into the cookies while baking. And some uneven chunks created by chopping your own chocolate gives a better result than even little chocolate chips. I went with a combination of white, milk and dark chocolate here but use whatever you prefer - all dark, half milk half dark or whatever strikes your fancy.
This is truly a wonderful recipe to get you baking this autumn. No apples, pears, plums or pumkin purée involved not even those warm spices like cardamom or cinnamon but there are lots of comforting and beloved flavors like real vanilla, mildly sweet and nutty spelt flour, milk chocolate, creamy white chocolate with hints of vanilla and the pronounced, bold taste of dark chocolate. And is there any better accompaniment to these lovely homemade treats than a cold glass of whole milk for the kids and some tea and coffee for the grown-ups?! Maybe a really good book...Besides, I cannot think of a nicer way to refuel mid-morning or teatime than with one (or more) of these.