Half-and-half chocolate chip cookies

Why pick one cookie when you can have two in one? This is what happens when you are an indecisive baker. The longest part of any baking session for me is simply deciding what to make. I have a bookmarks folder on my computer called ‘Sweet’ that has 480 recipes in. At home, we have over 200 cookery books. There’s Instagram inspiration, new magazines each month, dishes I have in restaurants that I want to recreate at home. Having so many options is exciting but it definitely makes narrowing it down to just one a challenge.

At university, I’m helped by the fact that my limited equipment, time and ingredients cupboard narrows down my options. Add in the fact that my friends’ requests will involve chocolate 99% of the time, and we’re getting easier still. I first saw this idea on Instagram and instantly wanted to make it. It’s a very simple idea – essentially this is just a chocolate chip cookie two ways – but it looks so much more interesting, and reminded me of the classic New York black and white cookies but without the kerfuffle of multiple icing bowls. The end result is super cute, giving you the best of cookie worlds without too much extra effort. And whilst looking cute is great, the proof is obviously in the taste which I can happily report doesn’t disappoint either, sitting on the cakey end of the cookie spectrum (the cocoa side tastes like a brownie). Enjoy!

Half-and-half chocolate cookies

Makes 14

  • 150g butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g dark chocolate chips, plus a few extra for sprinkling
  • 80g white chocolate chips, plus a few extra for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until fully combined. Divide the mixture in half (you can weigh it to be totally accurate), removing half the mixture to a separate bowl.

In one bowl, add 110g of the plain flour, the vanilla extract and the dark chocolate chips. Stir to bring together to a cookie dough. Take walnut size pieces of the dough and roll into balls.

In the second bowl, add the remaining 90g of plain flour, the cocoa powder and the white chocolate chips. Stir together to bring to a cookie dough. Take walnut size pieces of the dough and roll into balls.

Take one ball of each type of cookie dough and press together to make one cookie. Press down slightly to flatten and place on the baking tray. Repeat with all remaining cookie dough.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until beginning to go firm. Scatter with the remaining chocolate chips whilst the cookies are still warm. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

When my sister and I started baking, everything we made was lemon flavoured. One of my earliest independent baking memories is of us making Lemon Meringue Pie to take to our Nana down in Eastbourne. There was one particularly memorable time we made it where I managed to get my hair caught in our electric whisk. Aside from attempting to sneak lemon into every bake, my other baking trait was that I primarily turned out biscuits. Of every shape, style, flavour and size – they were all I wanted to make. Now I’m at university, the most popular bakes with my friends are always chocolate based, but this weekend I wanted to recreate those early baking traits.

I always refuse to do any work on a Saturday – taking it as my one day each week to completely relax and temporarily forget about whatever Renaissance issue I’ve been tackling that week. Baking replaces reading as my top priority and the thought of whichever cookie, cake or pie I’ve chosen for the weekend ahead gets me through many a long library session midweek. This week, I fancied a break from chocolate and as I was considering a return to my lemon-obsessed ways, I thought may as well equally return to being a cookie fanatic. When I started baking I churned out many a tray of cookies, working my way through most of Rachel Allen’s back catalogue. Today’s inspiration came from Smitten Kitchen, who initially made a key lime version that I’ve had bookmarked for years. They were every bit as buttery, crumbly and moreish as I had anticipated – with the bonus of being a total cinch to make. The heavy icing sugar coating means they are not the best surreptitious library snack – but that just gives you an excuse to take a break.

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

Makes 18-20

  • 175g soft butter
  • 40g icing sugar, plus around 150g more to coat
  • 1 lemon, zested and ½ juiced
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 240g plain flour

Mix the butter and 40g icing sugar together until well combined. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice and stir to incorporate. Add the flour gradually, stirring well until it is all incorporated and smooth.

Tip the dough onto a sheet of baking paper and shape into a 30cm log. Roll up in the paper, twisting each end like a cracker. Place in the fridge for an hour until firm.

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Remove the dough log from the fridge and unwrap. Slice into 1cm rounds and place on two lined baking trays. Bake fro 15minutes until beginning to go golden round the edge.

Tip plenty of icing sugar into a small bowl. Toss the cookies gently, a few at a time, in the icing sugar to fully coat and place on a wire rack to cool.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

I mean. Recipes with titles like that don’t need much explaining, do they? Those five words should get you scrambling to the kitchen with very little persuasion from me. But I’ll go ahead anyway, in case by some miracle of resistance you are still here.

Want cookies but don’t have time to be scooping and rolling and swapping endless trays in and out of the oven? Love the crispy edge and gooey middle of a perfect cookie but never manage to bake it quite right? Are you cooking for others and need to provide dessert that’s fractionally fancier than a pile of biscuits in the middle of the table? This cookie pie solves all these conundrums. I’ve written before about the issue of having to eat something for days on end when you’re cooking for one. This is entirely not an issue with this bake because not only would I be happy to eat just this for eternity, as soon as I posted this on Instagram I had multiple friends in college commenting enthusiastically. My message of ‘wanna chill and help me eat cookie pie?’ could not have been answered faster. Make this. I promise you won’t forget it.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

I adapted this from this Nigella recipe for chocolate cookie pots, which she makes in ramekins. Ramekin servings would up the adorable factor, whilst one big one feels extra decadent and ensures plenty of gooey centre – the choice is yours! I baked mine in an 18cm dish which serves up to 4 people (it’s very rich) but this would also be easily doubled up to suit bigger tins and bigger crowds.

  • 110g soft butter
  • 90g soft light brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 150g plain flour
  • big pinch of baking powder
  • 100g chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft. Add the vanilla and egg and stir until combined. Fold in the flour, baking powder and chocolate chips.

Spread the cookie dough into an 18cm pie dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden round the edge but still a little soft in the middle (the joy is the melting centre so better to under than over bake here). Serve warm with plenty of ice cream or crème fraiche. Enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Dipped Shortbread

The start of term is always a blank canvas for my kitchen cupboards. Whilst the odd tin of tomatoes and packet of microwaveable rice stayed in my lockable storage over Christmas, on the whole my cupboards were bare when I returned this week. This is largely positive – starting afresh means I can make anything, the fridge is clean and there is nothing lurking forgotten at the back. However, it also means that my first few food shops are pretty hefty as I try to rebuild stocks to enable me to actually cook regularly. This means when it came to baking this week, I wanted to find something that required buying as little as possible (so that I don’t fill up my cupboards with ingredients I will only use once) yet would still go down well with my friends.

DSC_0206 Bakes being popular with my friends are vital to save me eating 24 shortbread fingers myself, and luckily these went down extremely well. With flour and sugar already in the cupboard, all I needed was butter, an orange and a bar of chocolate and I was ready to get started. The process of making these was quite therapeutic – cutting out the neat rectangles, pronging them all with a fork, dipping and drizzling each one with chocolate. They are the epitome of simple but effective – the perfect bake to ease me back into baking in Cambridge.

DSC_0211Of course, these are completely versatile to suit whatever you have in your cupboards should they be more bountiful than mine. Swap the orange for a lime and dip in white chocolate and desiccated coconut for a tropical feel. Replace some of the flour with ground almonds and dip in toasted crushed nuts. Use cocoa powder in the dough for a triple chocolate treat. Instead of a white chocolate drizzle, sprinkle with freeze dried raspberries, chopped candied peel or hundreds and thousands. The opportunities are endless!

Chocolate Orange Dipped Shortbread

  • 55g caster sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 125g butter
  • 180g plain flour
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g white chocolate

Zest the orange into the sugar and stir to release the oils (and maximise your orange flavour).

Add the butter and beat together until soft. Stir in the flour to form a dough.

Roll out to 1/2cm thick. If you want a rectangle, trim the edges of dough to form one large square and divide it neatly before rerolling the scraps. Otherwise, cut into whatever shape you desire. Place on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 20minutes.

Bake at 180’C for 15-20 minutes and then cool completely. Break the chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip each cooled biscuit a third into the chocolate, and place back on the lined tray. Melt the white chocolate as before, and drizzle over each chocolate dipped end.