Normal life seems to have crept up on us after a decidedly not-normal summer.
Our familiar routines are welcome in some ways. The structure of our days and weeks makes me feel grounded. Secure. But I do so the miss the freedom and excitement of the summer. This summer will be a summer that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Autumn seems intent on making it clear that it’s time to move on. I am, somewhat foolishly, resisting wearing my coat for the moment because I know once I put it on, I won’t take it off until June and I’m just not ready to say goodbye to summer yet. Our food choices have become something of a cliché – toad in the hole, shepherd’s pie and apple crumble have all featured in the last week or so. Our appetites are clearly ready for the winter ahead of us.
This is my favourite cookie recipe at the moment. How could it not be? It has brown butter, a substantial amount of vanilla, a hint of salt and it uses whole wheat flour (although you’d never really know it). The coffee is Heston Blumenthal’s addition and I urge you not to skip it even if, like me, you’re not a coffee person; it adds an irresistible dimension of flavour.
- 115g (1 stick)unsalted butter
- 75g (1/3 cup)unrefined caster/granulated sugar
- 90g (1/2 cup)light brown soft sugar
- 1 mediumegg
- 1 teaspoonvanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 175g (1 1/2 cups or 6 oz)whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoonbaking powder
- 1/4 teaspoonbicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspooninstant coffee
- 110g (2/3 cup or 4 oz)chocolate chips
- Sea salt for scattering on top (optional)
- Put the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and cook until it starts to bubble and has turned a lovely golden brown colour. Take off the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, salt and coffee.
- When the butter has cooled, cream it together with the sugars until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again. As this isn’t a recipe for a cake, you don’t need to keep on beating forever – you just want everything all nicely mixed together. You can do it by hand if you want although I used my electric mixer.
- Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the chocolate chips.
- Chill the mixture in the fridge for any time between 30 minutes and 24 hours. I don’t have that much patience so my chilling time is normally closer to 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and prepare a couple of baking sheets with either greaseproof paper or a silicone mat.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop, place spoonfuls of the dough on the baking sheet and, if desired, scatter a little sea salt on top.
- Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until the edges of the cookies just start to turn golden brown and are firm to the touch.
- Allow to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.