Winter’s definitely on the way. My garden’s disappeared underneath a thick blanket of leaves, the cats have grown luxurious winter coats and the daylight that’s on offer is more than slightly pathetic. Normally I love this season – it’s so much easier to look “ok” when you’re swathed in thick tights, giant coats and glorious scarves – but sometimes it’s tricky to get going.
This weekend I was faced with two sets of last-minute cancelled plans, leaving me alone to huff and sulk my way through both days while simultaneously avoiding household chores and tasks on my actual to-do list. I’m pretty good at this. Suddenly I just had to start watching Dr Who, having never seen an episode prior to Saturday night, which required a few hours of reading so as to fully understand the characters and rich backstory. Prior to that I reorganised our baskets of hats & gloves, ready for the inevitable cold snap, so that we can immediately grab the correct bobble hat without a second’s pause. And then this morning, out of no-where, I decided I had to bake some chocolate chip cookies.
A slightly half-hearted trip to Mill Road, listless in both senses of the word, resulted in my purchasing several items I definitely didn’t need and forgetting some pretty essential elements of the recipe. I even applied the same lazy approach to finding a recipe: what’s that? The first hit on Google? Let’s go for it.
The ingredients (and what I ended up using)
- 150g salted butter (Anchor Spreadable)
- 80g light brown muscovado sugar (bought this)
- 80g granulated sugar (a mix of old caster and granulated from our Big Sugar Jar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (1tsp chocolate extract and 1tsp rum. The Internet *cough Yahoo Answers cough* said this might be alright.)
- 1 large egg (one medium sized egg from the chickens)
- 225g plain flour (this I actually had)
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (er… hum. 1/2 tsp baking powder?)
- ¼ tsp salt (yep – had this)
- 200g plain chocolate chips or chunks (200g of those massive Nigella-style chocolate buttons which had randomly come into my possession. Perfect.)
1. Smush butter and sugar together. Add rum and chocolate extract. Secretly eat teaspoonful.
2. Consider just eating the butter and sugar and abandoning attempt to make cookies.
3. Add the flour by sieving it into bowl. Realise you should have added the egg earlier. Add the egg. Cross fingers.
4. Add bicarb (baking powder) and salt (check). Mix. Feel silently pleased at how it’s started to look just like cookie dough.
5. Lob in chocolate buttons. Marvel at how the ratio of chocolate to dough seems to be 1:1. Check recipe. Apparently correct.
6. Start smushing up buttons with spoon. Give up. Accept large chunks of chocolate in cookies.
7. Place small balls of cookie dough/chocolate button mix on baking paper-covered tray. Be puzzled by apparent lack of cookies. Check recipe again. “Make plenty, as they’re sure to be a hit!”
8. Recipe says “makes 30”, yet have made twelve. Resign self to situation.
9. Place tray in preheated fan oven set to 170°, having remembered to do this before you started baking.
10. Sit in front of oven on kitchen floor watching cookies spread across tray.
11. After eightish minutes, take cookies out of the oven. Think about eating them. Resist.
12. Move to living room and start writing blog post to stop yourself immediately eating them.
13. Arrive at point 13. Realise you’ve not tasted the cookies so have no way of knowing if they’re hideous or not. Consider possible time wasted on writing blog post if cookies are disgusting.
14. Haul self off sofa and head back to kitchen.
15. Try most disappointing-looking cookie.
16. Though dumbstruck, desperately search for descriptive words that adequately portray brilliance of cookie while also congratulating self on apparently being culinary genius.
17. Hit on metaphor: cookie is macaroon-like. Thin crispy exterior gives way to fluffy, puffed, almost sponge-ish interior punctuated by rivers of melted dark chocolate. Rum not really discernable but pleased at its inclusion anyway.
18. Finish cookie, while wondering what Mary Berry would say about them.
19. Go back to kitchen – technically to wash up, but probably, and more honestly, go back to kitchen for second cookie.
Note – for anyone wanting the actual recipe, it’s available over here. Don’t worry too much if you’re missing the right ingredients because, as demonstrated, a little light free-styling doesn’t seem to hurt…