Cookies. A British favourite invented by our neighbours across the pond, they’re just about everywhere and they haven’t lost any of their vintage delight for all ages. Small ones, big ones, thin ones, fat ones, crunchy, chewy, dark, milk, the list goes on and on. And among the thousands of recipes to scour online, you’ll probably think any old one will do the same trick. After all, a bit of chocolate always solves everything! But like all good food, it’s not quite true – and a good chocolate cookie is worth some serious trial and error to get the perfect thing.
So much so that some poor friends have been subjected to many a cookie test over the past few weeks. Life can be worse…
We already have a good cookie recipe up on Butter Wouldn’t Melt, but by comparison it seems a bit safe. Perfectly delicious, but not really special. I was hunting more for the molten-chocolate-puddle kind of cookie with an artisan feel and that velvety melt-in-the-mouth chocolatey punch.
A little research later, and inspired by The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, I gave a tapping technique a go which spreads and melts the chocolate a little more. But I still wanted to enrich and deepen the flavours. Next up: decadent dark chocolate and camp coffee. Dark chocolate has a fantastic bitterness that complements the sweetness of cookie dough – we love 70% cocoa for that contrast but you can always use something lighter or darker if you prefer (even go 50:50 dark and milk). As for camp coffee, even the rare coffee hater seems to like this one – after all, it’s mostly syrup. But if you really like the bitter, you’ll find plenty of flavour cutting through.
If needed, the cookie dough can be refrigerated longer, even overnight. Alternatively, toss it in the freezer till you’re ready to bake.
what you’ll need
Equipment: large mixing bowls, electric mixer/handheld electric beater. Baking sheet.
artisan dark chocolate cookies:
- 340g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 180g granulated sugar
- 120g light brown sugar
- 250g lightly salted butter, cubed at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 1 tsp camp coffee
- 400g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (we used 70% cocoa but go for what you like most)
making your cookie dough:
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Set your dry ingredients aside until needed.
Throw your butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a separate mixing bowl. Beat together on medium speed till light and fluffy – around 5 minutes. Pause occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom.
One at a time, add in the eggs, beating well after each. Pause again to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding in the vanilla bean extract and camp coffee. Beat for a further minute until well combined.
Set the mixer to medium-low speed and add half of the dry ingredients. Beat until roughly combined then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined – 30 seconds or so – then toss in the dark chocolate and beat for a further 10 seconds.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and leave covered with cling film in the fridge for 30 minutes.
baking your cookies:
Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Using your hands or a large tablespoon, scoop out enough mixture to form a 1 inch wide ball. Place on the baking sheet and repeat, evenly spacing your dough balls. You should get around 8 per sheet, depending on size. Put your leftover dough back in the fridge.
Bake for 11 minutes. After 7/8 minutes, the cookies should be beginning to puff in the middle, open the oven door and lift the baking sheet up a couple of inches before dropping it back onto the rack. The cookies will deflate and flatten slightly. Close the oven door and let the cookies bake for another 30 seconds or so. Repeat the lift and drop a further two times. When baked, the cookies should be golden, with crisp edges and gooey middles. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray. Transfer them carefully to a wire rack to cool for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
Repeat with your remaining cookie dough, or wrap that up and freeze till you want to bake some more.