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Go-to cookie recipe

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Everyone needs a go-to cookie recipe: one that is infinitely adaptable to the ingredients you have lying around that day, is quick and easy to throw together, and, crucially, ticks the box in the taste department...for me that means chewy rather than crunchy, and densely comforting with a hint of naughtiness (ie: chocolate).

I prefer using brown sugar in baking, for its rich, toffee-like flavour (rather than the one-dimensional saccharine sweetness that caster sugar delivers). Maple syrup is good too; and for brownies, you can rely on naturally sweet fruits like beetroot and bananas to provide almost all the sweetness (check out my recipe for beetroot chocolate cake here). I'll also generally use an alternative to refined white flour, such as rye flour, oats, or a 60/40 mixture of wholewheat and white flour - just so my blood sugar doesn't spike within seconds of eating sweet treats and I end up racing around for the next half hour like Roadrunner, before passing out in a corner somewhere. Add in some nuts for protein, and you have a tasty yet not-too-nutritionally-decadent answer for that mid-afternoon energy slump. Don't worry though, I promise it still fulfils the taste requirements of a go-to cookie - and only takes minutes to assemble, so give it a try and tell me what you think.

I used Ruby Tandoh's Pecan Cookies recipe, from her book Crumb, as my foundation (to ensure the quantities and ratios of ingredients all work - thanks Ruby!), but I'll swap out her ingredients for whatever I have to hand that day, substituting butter with coconut oil, or pecan nuts with macadamias. Rye flour delivers a delicious Scandinavian chewiness to the biscuits, so do give it a go. Here's my favourite combo to date, but I'd encourage you to use your favourite ingredients to make this recipe your own:

Ingredients:

  • 100g chopped nuts, such as pecans, macadamia, hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 140g salted butter or coconut oil
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 60g Demerara sugar/dark brown sugar/maple syrup etc
  • 50g wholegrain rolled oats
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200g rye flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g dark chocolate chips or roughly hewn chunks of chocolate

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/fan 160 and line a baking tray with non-stick parchment
  2. Spread your chosen chopped nuts out onto the baking tray and lightly toast them for 8 minutes, watching them very closely so they don't burn! I have thrown away so many trays of burned hazelnuts that Mr Ferrero would turn in his grave.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, then remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring briskly to combine. Once this has cooled slightly, add the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, porridge oats and bicarbonate of soda together, then add to the wet ingredients, mixing gently until just combined.
  5. Finally, add the nuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop spoonfuls onto the baking tray, flatten the cookie mix slightly, and bake for 13 minutes.
  7. The cookies will still be quite soft when you take them out the oven, but will firm up as they cool.
  8. You're welcome.

Last updated 15:26 on 12 November 2019

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