Cookies are the ultimate treat, especially in my house! You can stuff them full of all sorts of goodies from nuts to toffee to chocolate chips and even Smarties! You can mix and match your chocolate or just go all out nuts, it really doesn’t matter and this recipe is so easy to make and to keep for future use that my little one often helps to make them with no problem whatsoever!
You can whip up a batch of cookie dough from the recipe below and store it for up to about a week in the fridge or month in the freezer, but ultimately, the amount of cookies you get out of one batch depends on how big you like your cookies. So this recipe will give you enough dough for about 80 small cookies or 25 large ones…
There really are a lot of decisions to be made when baking cookies, white chocolate or milk, nuts or toffee or both. Then, when that decision is made you need to decide on what size cookie you fancy, large or small, smaller balls make for smaller cookies, and THEN you need to choose between chewy or crunchy cookies…. longer in the oven for crunchy or vice versa and this all depends on that size you decided earlier! Phew… The only decision that isn’t tough is how many to eat in one go… An easy choice – as many as you can!
One small ingredient note, where I mention using vanilla (in any of my recipes), I mean decent vanilla. Not vanilla essence as this tends to be weaker and not as strong, if you want to use a good quality vanilla extract that is fine (you can find excellent but rather expensive Nielson Massey Vanilla Extract in most supermarkets), but I personally always have a jar of thick, gooey and beautiful Nielson Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Paste which is more expensive, has real vanilla seeds in the paste and tastes phenomenal. Tesco do a cheaper alternative called Hansells Vanilla Paste but Nielson Masseys in unquestionably the best and the one used by all the top chefs be it in paste or extract form, you can find it on Amazon and also in Lakeland stores (I go all the way to Chester for mine and buy it along with a couple of bottles of Mr Fitzpatrick s Old Time Sarsaparilla Cordial!). You can also buy vanilla pods and just use the seeds if you wish, but I advise buying these in packs of 10+ on eBay as you will get a larger amount for the same price as about 3 in a supermarket. Anyway, I digress….
The temperature and timing of your oven will all depend as I said on how you like your cookies, but these guidelines are what we like in our house will make you about 80 (as a whole) or 24 (as a batch) 2-3 inch cookies which are lovely and chewy inside with a touch of crunch on the edge… perfect in my opinion…
- 220g unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 115g soft brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract or paste
- 2 large eggs
- 315g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Chunks of filling adding up to about 180-200g, this can be chopped chocolate, nuts, toffee, fudge or whatever you like
- In a mixing bowl, using either a wooden spoon or electric mixer, cream together the butter, both sugars and vanilla.
- Break the eggs into a jug and lightly mix them, then pour them gradually into the butter mixture, mixing as you go, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together, then fold this into the wet mixture in the other bowl gently, you use a figure of eight motion, going in on one side of the bowl, and out of the other, turning the bowl as you go until mixed together nicely, it does get touch if you are doing it by hand but think of the muscles you’re building – if you are using an electric mixer then BE CAREFUL, don’t mix too fast.
- Finally, add the chopped extras, mixing it in thoroughly and bringing the mixture together as a thick dough with your hands.
- Take the mixture out of the bowl and form it into a rectangular block, wrapping it well in a parcel of greaseproof paper. Pop it in the fridge and leave it there for at least 1 hour.
- When the hour or more has passed, preheat your oven to Fan 140c/160c/Gas Mark 3 and prepare a couple of cookie sheets with lightly buttered greaseproof paper (don’t use salted butter or the cookies will reek of the salt and taste gross!)
- Remove your dough block from the fridge and pull off pieces and roll in your palms to make 24 dough balls 1 inch in diameter, the more perfectly round they are, the more perfectly circular your cookies will be. Place the dough balls carefully on the prepared baking sheet, about 5cm apart so that there are 12 on each sheet. With the bottom of a glass or a spatula (I use a fish slice actually), lightly press the top of each ball to flatten it VERY slightly, the oven will do the rest of the work for you.
- Place in the oven undisturbed for a minimum of 7 minutes, after this time, take a peek, if they aren’t browning (golden, not mud brown) on the edges, leave them a couple more minutes but keep an eye on them, as soon as they start to go golden brown on the edge they are good to go. If you have timed this right these particular cookies will have a nice outside crunch and a beautiful chewy inside.
- Remove them from the oven, leave them to rest on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes then, using a fish slice or spatula, gently ease them off the baking sheets one by one. If they are still warm and going squishy instead of moving nicely then leave them a little longer to cool. If they are still doing it then you’ve cooked them for too short a time… tut… pop them back in the oven for a minute or two till that edge goes golden brown… They’ll be just fine.
- Pop the cookies in an airtight box or jar and put them on the highest shelf in the kitchen behind a couple of cookbooks. This last step isn’t a necessity, but it does stop the kids scoffing them before you can!
You could also put the dry ingredients together in layers in an airtight flip lid jar like the ones you find in Ikea and Asda. Write a pretty label with cooking instructions including a bit that says how much of the wet ingredients to add. Pop a nice ribbon around the top and give it as a gift!