the ultimate chocolate chip cookie

Look, you guys know me well enough by now  (and some of you know me even better) to be a person who loves a cookie. If you couldn’t tell, the last few posts should have been indication enough.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love me some cake, too. Those towering confections, beautifully decorated, layer upon layer of sweet, crumbly goodness… oh yes. Cakes have their place.

But I grew up in a house full of people. People who, while they loved some celebration and they loved some pretty cake, mostly just wanted something to shove in their gobs. (Yes. I have brothers. Three, in fact.) We wanted something we could bring to school, shove in our back pockets, something to come home to and eat on the way back out again. We didn’t want to deal with forks and spoons and whipped cream and icing. Not yet, anyway. That was for a sit-down dinner, a birthday, a special occasion.

Cookies, on the other hand, are easy to make, do not take too much time, and are perfect for people on the run. Like my entire house in the mornings. Hey, we’re students, right? So that means we roll out of bed, blearily make some coffee, maybe shove some muesli down our gobs and tear off for class, hoping we won’t be late. Lunch? Well, depending on your amount of foresight. Snacks? Only if they’re very easily accessible.

And now they are, in my amazing cookie jar. (One day, I swear, I will put a photo up. I just want to do it justice, people! And hey, if you really want to see it, just come over to my house!

Just contact me first. So I know you’re not a stalker. K?

All that aside, chocolate chip cookies are like the ultimate cookie in themselves. The most popular, easy to make, universally pleasing cookie out there. See, chocolate chip cookies are the bomb. That’s all there really is to them.

And every girl and her poodle makes them. So one day, David Leite decided to go out and figure out what it was about chocolate chip cookies that made them so darn wonderful. He went in search of the consummate chocolate chip cookie. And he found it.

Ruth Graves invented it. According to Hervé Poussot, it’s not a recipe you need per se, but an approach; what goes into the making of the cookie. You need to let it rest overnight, it must be served warm, it has to be big, and for the love of all that is chocolatey and wonderful, don’t forget the salt!

Who knew that a chocolate chip cookie was so darn complicated?

Well, it doesn’t have to be (when in doubt, add more chocolate!) But being the person that I am, I did have to try the end result of all this to-ing and fro-ing about the chocolate chip cookie. I didn’t actually follow the recipe as precisely as I could have (and yes, I will be going back to re-make the cookies with the right flour, remembering the salt on top and making them bigger – no, I can’t just leave well enough alone) but these are darn good cookies nonetheless. I suggest you eat one warm.

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I first heard about this from Smitten Kitchen. The recipe is in the New York Times and on David’s website. The article is also in both places. Read it. Make the cookies. Eat one warm and swoon. Then get back up and try to stop yourself from hiding the rest from your housemates.

Adapted from David Leite

3 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons cornflour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

315g butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups raw caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

500g chocolate – I used 250g each of Whittaker’s Dark Ghana and Creamy Milk lines and cut them up into chunks

Sea salt, to sprinkle

Sift flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugars until very light. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add half the flour mix and stir with a spatula until almost incorporated; add the other half, mix until almost incorporated and finish with the electric beaters, if necessary. Fold in the chocolate chunks (I had to use my hands for most of that part).

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 36 hours (I managed about eighty – I kept not having time!) When almost ready to bake, preheat oven to 180º and line baking trays with baking paper. Form the batter into large golf-ball ish sized balls and give them room to spread on the trays. SPRINKLE WITH SEA SALT (can you tell I forgot that part? I only sprinkled on one tray). Bake 18-20 minutes in the oven.

I had two trays in at once and rotated them at about ten minutes. My last tray was all by itself but still needed 18 minutes.

I cool mine on a wooden chopping board because I don’t have a cooling rack (I want one of those three-tier ones!) and they were fine. Eat warm, with a big serviette.

 

 

 

pie

It’s the first recipe for pie that I’m posting so it gets the awesome label of simply pie. It was pretty good, actually – well, that and the company. I come from a big family so I’m used to having people around the house. I was house sitting this past week and while it was lovely to have some alone time and just veg out, I like to be around people. So when the family got back, I made pie. And salad. And we had wine and cheeses and a beautiful evening.

It’s one of those things you can cut into hefty wedges and take to uni for lunch, or just as equally dress up with salad for dinner (as we did.) You could have it for breakfast; those eggs really do wonders. I can also envisage this pie being a hit at picnics, alongside a potato salad, punch, gingham patterned tablecloth serving as a picnic blanket and a beautiful sunny day.

To make this pie, you will need a fluted removable bottom tart pan, which is the most awesome name for a kitchen utensil I think I’ve ever heard – well, that and mandolin, because it sounds like something you should be making music with, and instead you’re making fuel for the making of the music…

And while you’re making this, listen to music. I had Washington on the CD player – I’ve already explained, I think, how much I love sunday best, but the whole album is awesome, and very danceable.

And so. To pie.

Egg and Spring Onion Pie

You could make this pie with leeks or onions or shallots instead of spring onions. You could add bacon, if you aren’t vegetarian, or several different herbs. I would suggest using a different dough; mine was very crumbly and stuck to the pan, although I imagine you could rectify the crumbliness at least by adding more butter or water. I’m imagining a sour cream based one and my taste buds are moaning at me because I didn’t think of it earlier. You probably also don’t really need a lid, so if you don’t want to use one, don’t stress too much. I’d just make sure the eggs are on top.

Take a bowl. Place 1 2/3 cups of sifted (if you like – I generally don’t bother:) plain flour and 250g chopped cool butter in. Rub the butter in with your fingers until it’s dough-like, then gather into a ball. If it’s too crumbly (as I mentioned, mine was) add some iced water until it gathers properly. Rest in the fridge for about 20min.

Roll out 2/3 of the dough in between two sheets of baking paper, and carefully put into that tart pan, gently pressing into the edges. Trim the edges, leaving about 1cm overhanging to account for shrinkage. Place into the freezer for 20mins to rest the dough. Roll the rest of the dough in between the sheets to about a 22cm (or however big your tart pan is) circle, and place in the fridge. This will be your lid.

Take off the outer leaves of a large bunch of spring onions and finely chop. Melt 60g of butter in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook until wilted and translucent. Take off heat.

Finely chop a small bunch of parsley (I used curly leaf because that’s what we had in the garden. I’m sure it doesn’t matter which you use.) and scatter in the bottom of the tart shell. Add half the spring onions. Crack 9 eggs in. I pierced the yolks and swirled it around a bit because I like the marbled effect, but you could just as easily not, or even whisk them and pour them in. Scatter the remaining spring onions over the top of the eggs. Place the lid carefully on top and crimp the edges together with your fingers, breaking off the excess. Whisk one egg lightly and brush over the lid; make some slits in the lid with a sharp knife and place in a pre-heated 180ºC oven for about 35mins. Serve with salad and white wine, or something equally amazing.

Happy Tuesday.