The art of baking: Chocolate Cookies

PUBLISHED: 10:03 30 August 2016

Chocolate cookies from Carol Kearns, The Cake Lady

Chocolate cookies from Carol Kearns, The Cake Lady

Carol Kearns

Known as The Cake Lady when a mature student at Norwich University of the Arts, Carol Kearns of Wymondham combines a love of baking with a talent for illustration

Having something of a “waste not, want not” approach to cooking, I’m always keen to find ways to use up left over ingredients. These wonderful chocolate cookies are a result of finding a use for some desiccated coconut remaining from another recipe (look out for that one in November’s magazine). There’s nothing parsimonious about the flavour of these cookies though, they are quite delicious with a rich chocolatey taste and a divine texture reminiscent of a chocolate brownie.

Anyone with a similar approach to using up ingredients will be delighted to find the recipe for Anzac biscuits on my website – www.theartofbaking.co – as that not only uses desiccated coconut, but porridge oats (from May’s chocolate cherry crumbles recipe) and golden syrup (needed for January’s proper ginger biscuits). And if you haven’t kept back copies of the magazine don’t worry – you’ll find these recipes on my website too.

Unusually, for me, I’ve called this recipe chocolate cookies rather than chocolate biscuits. Cookie apparently derives from the Dutch word “keokje” meaning “little cake”, whereas biscuit comes from the Latin (via old French) for “twice baked” and so is more appropriate for crisper bakes – though not quite as crisp as the “hard tack” or ship’s biscuits provided for sailors to test their teeth on, having been slowly baked up to four times as a form of preservation.

This recipe calls for just 75g of chocolate – leaving 25g remaining from a standard size bar. I think of this less as “left-overs” and more “cook’s privilege”. But if you haven’t eaten it already, you might like to know that 25g is the exact amount of chocolate required for the chocolate cherry crumbles recipe.

Chocolate cookies

Makes nine generous cookies

125g unsalted butter, softened

100g soft light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

I medium egg

100g self-raising flour

100g plain flour

25g cocoa powder

25g desiccated coconut

75g dark chocolate, chopped

You will need

1 baking sheet

non-stick liner

1 Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark three and line the baking sheet with a non-stick liner.

2 Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and fluffy using either an electric hand mixer or a wooden spoon. Add the egg and beat well.

3 Sift the flours and cocoa into the bowl, and add the coconut and chocolate. Use the back of a wooden spoon to work the mixture until all the ingredients are combined. (Initially it will seem too dry but persevere and the ingredients will come together.)

5 Use two dessert spoons to place nine equal portions of the mixture on to the baking sheet, spaced well apart. Use the side of a spoon to flatten the mixture slightly.

6 Bake on the middle shelf for about 15 minutes. The biscuits are cooked when the edges are baked but the centre still looks a little soft and under-done.

7 Leave the biscuits to firm up on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring with a palette to a wire rack to cool completely.

See more of Carol’s recipes and baking tips at www.theartofbaking.co and her illustration work at www.carolkearns.co.uk

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