Sorry about the lack of posting lately – I’ve been nursing a cold, a couple of pinched nerves in my back and a popped rib. So needless to say, I’ve been craving comfort food. When we talk comfort food it’s different for everyone. For some people it might be a steaming bowl of macaroni and cheese, some others might think of pot roast, still others might be imagining their grandma’s chicken and dumplings. The one thing that most of them have in common is that they’re easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest food that’s rich in calories, nutrients or both. For me it’s ever changing; when I’m stressed I want to test out new recipes, I’m always searching for something new. But this week I had a very specific craving. My back was sore, I was tired and I wanted fast, sweet and indulgent.
What I really wanted, I decided, was chocolate chip cookies. But if I was going to have chocolate chip cookies then I wanted the best possible chocolate chip cookies. My standard recipe for cookies is my mothers and is perfectly good – studded with milk chocolate chips, they’re crunchy and have a very subtle background of vanilla. But this time I chose a dough that would give me soft, pillowy cookies, used the best dark chocolate cut into shards and cut the flour with ground hazelnut. People who follow the blog regularly have probably noticed that I have a real thing about hazelnuts – I just love how sweet and moreish they are. I also used dark, muscovado sugar in place of brown sugar which made them taste faintly of molasses and just gave them a more complex flavour.
The finished cookies were everything I wanted – soft, nostalgic but unmistakably a grown up version of a children’s treat. They’re perfect with a glass of milk, but also with your morning coffee or sandwiching those batches of homemade ice-cream I know you’re all out there making. This recipe makes a fairly large batch, you can either bake the entire batch in one go and just quietly nom down on them pretending that because you feel sick they aren’t really bad for you like I did – or you can roll the dough into logs and freeze it, ready to pull out whenever you have a cookie emergency.
Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Chip Cookies
recipe adapted from saveur.com
1 ⅛ cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup ground hazelnuts
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda
12 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ cup dark muscovado sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
½ tsp. vanilla paste
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped into shards
Preheat the oven to 180°. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda, then stir through the ground hazelnuts. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until thoroughly blended. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix to incorporate. Add dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate shards. Divide dough into largeish walnut sized chunks and roll into balls, transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 9 cookies per sheet. If you want to freeze some of the mixture, roll into short logs and wrap in glad wrap before freezing. This will make them easier to slice later. Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. When fully cooked, the outer edges of the cookies should be golden and slightly crisp, while the middle should still be slightly soft.