Most weekends, my sister-in-law F will come over and spend an evening with us. Typically, we make some dinner, bake and veg out in front of some sci-fi or crime drama. We have watched our way through Numbers, Law and Order UK, Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Doctor Who and the Mentalist this way. Last night’s viewing was the season finale of the second season of the Mentalist, and the beginning of Life on Mars, as kindly lent to us on box set by Mr L.
Somewhere between Life on Mars episodes, F and I realised we had made the mistake of browsing food blogs. Maybe you are unaware of this phenomenon, but the combination of crime/sci-fi TV and food blogs leaves you with an overwhelming desire for sugary food. There was nothing for it, we had to make cookies. Enter Nigella, ready to arrest our cravings with the Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie. (Recipe below.)
As an aside – I know I am late to this party, but I am really enjoying Life on Mars. I love that it is an extremely high quality show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. ‘I’m ’avin hoops’ has become an instant catchphrase in our house.
This cookie really is unabashedly chocolatey. It has cocoa and melted chocolate in the dough, as well as chocolate chips. It contains two kinds of sugar – white and light brown – giving it a great taste without being overly sugary. In light of our urgent need for satiation, the recipe had more steps than other cookie recipes, but it does require melted chocolate, into which fingers can always be dipped. The one thing about using this recipe as a craving-saver is that the cookies require a couple of minutes to cool before they can be eaten; straight out of the oven they have a slightly puffy texture and crumble on touch. So a couple of minutes of cooling are required before eating. (That didn’t stop us from sharing a cookie whilst still piping hot, you know, just to test it out!)
Even though I am not a chocolate fiend, I thought these cookies were amazing and I have enjoyed them all weekend. On Friday night, they were very, very intense, and needed to be accompanied by a glass of milk or a cuppa. F’s comment summed it up: ‘I feel like I’m being hit in the face with chocolate…in a good way.’
Munching on one as I write, I can say that the Sunday afternoon version have a more mellow quality, whilst still living up to their ‘totally chocolate’ name. I will certainly be making these again, and experimenting with different types of chocolate chips – I have a feeling white chocolate chips with the dark, intense batter would be terrific.
Overall verdict: this cookie is amazing and will be remade countless times. There are more steps than other cookies, but it is utterly worthwhile. However, bear in mind that they are better a day or two after baking.
Craving-saver rating: 4.5 out of 5
-Makes big cookies, so one is enough for an evening.
-The balance between sugar and chocolate is just right. More sugar would have covered over the character of the chocolate, and would have felt like a lower quality of cookie.
-The texture is just right, soft and chewy is best!
-Difficult to melt chocolate as part of the recipe when you just want to stuff the chocolate in your mouth!
-Needs cooling off time.
-Almost too intense when eaten immediately
Totally Chocolate Chocolate Cookies
Taken from Nigella, but re-wording, commentary and enjoyment by Apocalypse Bakery.
125g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
30g cocoa, sieved
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g soft butter
75g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, cold from the fridge
350g (2 bags) semi-sweet chocolate morsels or dark chocolate chips (or in our case, whatever chocolate you have in your cupboard, chopped up)
1)Preheat the oven to 170°C, or in the case of the Apocalypse Bakery’s inferno impersonating fan oven, about 140°C. If you are the organized type, prepare baking trays with greaseproof paper. If not, do it just before you need them at step 7.
2) Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
3) Whilst the chocolate is melting, put flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. We were too hungry to sieve the cocoa, so we whisked the dry mixture instead.
4) Cream the butter and two sugars in a bowl. Apoc bakery’s stand mixer did a fine job at a medium speed. Once they are well mixed, add in the melted chocolate and mix together.
5) Beat in the vanilla and cold egg. Yes, the mixture looks odd. Trust us, it isn’t worth tasting, as you will be tempted to add more sugar. I had to resist with all my strength from pouring in more caster.
6) Mix in the dry ingredients until the batter has come together. The batter should be firm enough not to need time in the fridge before cooking, as in, it should stay in shape and not be runny or drop of the beater/spoon too easily.
7) Scoop out a mound of batter and place on the lined baking tray. Nigella recommends an ice-cream scoop for this, but a tablespoon does just fine. Don’t flatten the batter or else it will be too thin and not chewy. Place the dollops of batter about 6cm apart – these babies really spread. It should make 12 cookies.
8) Cook for 18 minutes. Or thereabouts. Test with a cake tester/knife/toothpick/whatever you have to hand. Your chosen tester should come out mostly clean, but not damp and covered in batter.
Leave to cool for a few minutes, if you can bear it. Promise me that you won’t eat them all in one night, they really are better the next day.