So, we’re getting married on Saturday.
For the first week after we got engaged, I embraced wedding planning with enthusiasm. Almost immediately, I went out and bought a huge stack of magazines which I diligently spent the weekend reading and making copious notes from. My lunch breaks were devoted to pinning images to my (secret) boards on pinterest and browsing wedding forums. I lost several days to developing a ridiculously complicated spreadsheet with far more conditional formatting than was probably healthy.
It didn’t last.
To say that my feelings about getting married are mixed makes it sound like I have many feelings about the whole thing when, if I’m being honest, I don’t. I’ve never actively wanted to get married (which, to clarify, is not the same as saying that I didn’t/don’t want to get married) and I struggle to see why a 40 minute church service and a couple of signatures in a book should make any real difference to our life together or how we feel about each other. Plus, there are elements of the day that we are both absolutely dreading but which are, sadly, non-negotiable if we actually want to end up married.
That is not to say, of course, that I am not (mostly) looking forward to Saturday. There is very little in life that I enjoy more than a good party (and goodness knows we’ve bought enough booze to make it a good party). I can’t wait for all of my favourite people to be in the same place at the same time. I am also very much looking forward to not feeling a sense of dread every time I open my email inbox (or, as my future husband put it less charitably, to a time when we don’t have to speak to our parents quite so often) and we both long ago lost any enthusiasm for discussions about ribbon colours or cutlery choices.
Plenty of ‘helpful’ people at work have told me that our wedding day will be the best day of our lives. Call me unromantic but I hope that isn’t true. The bit that I’m really looking forward to is what comes after the wedding. Which you can take to mean our married life together or the three honeymoons that we’ve got planned over the next six months…
I've made a lot of chocolate chip cookies over the year and this recipe is what I've ended up coming back to time and time again. It incorporates elements from all over the place but, most notably, the use of cold butter which I stole from Heston Bluemnthal. It seems a little counter-intuitive but it's all to do with the temperature and solidity of the butter at the point which it bonds with the sugar which (sort of) makes sense to me and does end up giving me the texture I want in a cookie. That's not to say, of course, that I'd ever turn down a cookie made with melted/room temperature butter. The difference is pretty marginal.
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
- 180g (1 cup) light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 180g (~ 1 1/4 cups) buckwheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus extra to sprinkle on top if you're so inclined)
- 150g (6 oz) dark chocolate (70%), chopped
- In a bowl, beat together the cold butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes or so. This is far too much work to do by hand - I either use a stand mixer or a handheld electric whisk. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
- Add all of the dry ingredients plus most of the chocolate (I like to reserve a little to sprinkle on top before baking) and beat until just combined, no more than that. I prefer the cookies when the dough has been chilled for at least an hour, if not overnight, but the world is not going to end if you bake them straight away. Sometimes you just really need a cookie.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Divide the cookie dough into large balls (I use a generous ice cream scope) and place on the baking tray. Push in a little of the reserved chocolate and sprinkle with salt if you like.
- Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until the cookies are just golden around the edges. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 10 - 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish the job.
- Any extra dough can be popped in the freezer and baked from frozen - just add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.