The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

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You would think a plain cookie with  chocolate chips folded into the mixture would be a simple matter. It’s not. They’re never challenging to make, just difficult to get right. A cookie that’s too crunchy feels dry and disappointing and a cookie that’s too chewy tastes like dough. The challenge is to find that perfect balance of a cookie that’s crisp on the outside with a fudgey chewiness to the center. After many, many recipes tried and tested, I’ve settled on the following recipe which has achieved the above goal spectacularly.

Ingredients:

  • 150g soft unsalted butter
  • 125g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, fridge cold
  • 1 egg yolk, fridge cold
  • 300g flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 x 326g packet of milk chocolate chips

(makes approx 14)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.  Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool a bit. Put the brown and white sugar into a bowl, pour the slightly cool, melted butter over it and mix together.
  3. Beat in the vanilla, cold egg and cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy.
  4. Slowly mix in the flour and bicarb until just blended, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop the cookie dough into a quarter cup measure or 60 ml round ice-cream scoop and drop on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 8 cm apart.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven or until the edges are slightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for five minutes before transferring to wire racks.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

.albumtemp  This simple recipe is a favourite of mine, especially during the Summer months. The natural yogurt helps makes the loaf moist and rich, whilst the lemon makes it refreshing enough to indulge in on a hot, sunny day.

For the Sponge:

  • 190g (7oz) butter, softened,plus extra for greasing
  • 190g (7oz) plain flour,
  • plus extra for dusting
  • 190g (7oz) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 25ml (1fl oz) whole milk
  • 80g natural yogurt

For the Soaking syrup:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g (1 3/4 oz) caster sugar

Method:

  1. preheat the oven to 170C (325F), then grease the loaf tin eith butter and dust with flour.
  2. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  3. In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix in the the poppy seeds and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar in three stages and on a low speed, mixing well between each addition and adding the milk after the second batch of dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until the batter is smooth and even, then mix in the natural yogurt.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan with 100ml of water and bring to the boil, allowing the syrup to reduce by about half.
  6. When the cake is cooked, pour the syrup over it while its still hot, allowing it to soak into the sponge. (Alternatively: mix the sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl  and pour over the sponge while its still hot making a classic lemon drizzle with a sugar coated layer on top of the cake).
  7. Leave the loaf to cool a little before turning it out of the tin on to a wire rack to cool down fully before serving.