The Best, Big, Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies (and meringues)

I have never been crazy about biscuits or cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t like them. But some people, and I have realised especially in England, are cookie-mad. They always have to have biscuits and often with a cup of tea or coffee. But for me, store bought biscuits are exactly that – store-bought. They just feel so processed and don’t excite me much. So I can’t tell you what first made me decide to bake cookies…I remember looking at various recipes and then deciding to halve this ingredient, add a new one, change the quantity of this…and voila, The Best, Big, Chewy, Chocolate-Chip Cookies were born!

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The Best, Big, Chewy, Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 170g unsalted melted butter
  • 200g dark brown soft sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300g chocolate chips (milk, white or dark)
  • 100 – 200g butterscotch
  • 100g Macadamia nuts / Pecan nuts / Hazlenuts
Method:
  1. Line at least 2 baking trays with baking paper/grease-proof paper;
  2. Preheat the oven to 170 C;
  3. Sift together the flour, bicarb and salt; set aside;
  4. Cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and caster sugar until well blended;
  5. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy;
  6. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended;
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon;
  8. Add the butterscotch (if using white chocolate chips I add macadamia nuts plus 100g buttersotch; and either pecans or hazlenuts with milk or dark; alternatively just add 200g butterscotch – this is the magic ingredient);
  9. Spoon 2 large tablespoons of cookie dough onto the prepared baking trays, don’t roll them or flatten the dough (this gives it the home-made look);
  10. Remember to leave space between the cookies (if making them big, I would say you can probably make 6 cookies per baking tray);
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted (depends on oven);
  12. If making smaller cookies, remember to check if they are ready earlier;
  13. Cool on baking trays for about 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely (the butterscotch and chocolate will be sticky and gooey and will create a mess if you transfer them to early).

I usually make double the recipe as people will seriously go nuts for these guys. They make great presents if you pile about 8 of them on top of each other and wrap in cellophane and tie with coloured ribbon. If you have baked with nuts, remember to add a note saying nuts are included in case anyone is allergic!?

If you have made double quantities, you will have two egg whites leftover…so why not make meringues.

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Meringues

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 100 C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the 2 egg whites on a medium speed in a glass bowl until the mixture stands up in stiff peaks. This always takes longer than you think; but keep at it.
  3. Add a tablespoon of caster sugar at a time and mix on high speed for a few seconds between each addition. Don’t over-beat in this stage but do add the sugar slowly. The mixture should be thick and shiny.
  4. Sift 20g of the icing sugar over the mixture and fold it in with a big spoon. Continue to sift and fold in the rest of the icing sugar and remember not to over-mix. It should look smooth and puffy.
  5. Scoop one tablespoon onto the baking tray; remembering to leave space between them.
  6. Bake for 1.5 hours if in a fan oven otherwise 1 1/4 hours if a normal oven until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath. They should be a pale coffee colour.
  7. Turn the oven off and let the meringues cool in the oven (this helps to dry them out further).

There are some other wonderful ideas and recipes for meringues, check these two out (you will either have to add another egg white or amend the ingredients to suit):

PS. In the last photo you can see I added pink food colouring, I then served them with raspberry puree and whipped cream (blitz raspberries in a food processor, pour through sieve to get rid of pips etc then add to whipped cream).

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