Friday, 30 March 2012

Choc Chip Cookies and Some Exciting News!

Choc Chip Cookies
These are so hard to resist when I can see them every time I walk into the kitchen.
Yes, there were more originally.
I haven't done a lot of cooking over the last couple of months. In fact, until this week I could probably count on one hand how many times I'd cooked since the start of february (even the Apple Crumble Cheesecake was a post I'd had waiting since last year). The reality is that I just wasn't well enough to do much of anything, especially anything that involved standing around food in the kitchen. But it's not as bad as it sounds - it was just a little thing called 'morning' sickness and, thankfully, it seems to have mostly gone away. So, yes, we will be having bub number 3 in September (as long as everything goes to plan), which is very exciting! And now that I am feeling human again I am really excited to be getting back in the kitchen.

My husband has been amazing while I've been unwell, looking after Master J and Master D as well as getting dinner on the table every night. But they were mainly meals that came out of a packet and were designed to be fairly quick and easy since Mr. P isn't the one who is used to cooking. So this week I have really enjoyed cooking meals from scratch, chock full of vegies and (hopefully) flavour, although that is always a work in progress. And I finally got to do some baking!

While I have known that I have a *slight* obsession with baking for a while now, I've always thought that it was the end product that fueled my desire to cook. But, as I stood there adding flour to the stand mixer, it hit me how at home I felt in the kitchen, and I realised the process has become a little bit therapeutic for me. It probably helped that I was making a tried-and-true recipe and not trying to tackle something that was well out of my ability and therefore filling the kitchen with curses and threats to give up there and then. I just didn't realise how much I had missed it, and how much I am looking forward to cooking regularly again. 

And I've just discovered Pinterest - you should see the cakes I've got pinned. I'll NEVER have time to cook them all!!

Now I have used this recipe for Choc Chip Cookies before for my Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, but they really are fantastic all on their own. Plus they are really quick and easy since you don't have to soften the butter first. They are the soft/chewy sort of choc chip cookies, which is what I prefer, and you can use whatever chocolate pieces you want (I often make them with Smarties, which Master J LOVES, although yesterday I had to settle for the traditional chocolate chips). I don't make them as big as Nigella, because hers are HUGE, and I use a small ice-cream scoop just to make everything easier (seriously, best. investment. EVER). I don't have to worry about whether the cookies are the same size, the lever pushes them out for me, and this recipe spreads so no need to flatten the dough. When I don't need a full batch I just scoop dough onto a tray, place in the freezer and, once frozen, throw them into a container. Then, whenever someone drops in I just have to heat the oven, throw a few cookies on a tray and cook until done (a little longer than if cooking from fresh). They don't spread as well, but a bit of a squish from an egg flip straight out of the oven and they look great! Mmmmmm, cookies!

What are your all-time favourite recipes to cook? The ones you cook when you just need be at home in the kitchen and not worry about having to troubleshoot?

Choc Chip Cookies
Makes 30-35 cookies

150g unsalted butter
125g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, straight from the fridge
1 egg yolk, straight from the fridge
300g flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
326g choc chips (depending on where you live, you may or may not find a bag this size. If not, close enough is good enough I reckon)

Preheat oven to 170C and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper (you will probably have to do a couple of batches).

Melt the butter and set it aside to cool for 5 minutes. Combine the sugars in a bowl, add the cooled butter and beat together.

Add the vanilla, cold egg and egg yolk and beat until light and creamy.

Slowly mix in the flour and bicarb until just combined, then fold in the choc chips. 

Using a small ice-cream scoop (or a normal one if you want huge cookies), scoop mounds of the dough onto the trays, keeping them a few centimetres apart, and cook in the oven for 10-12 mins (removing them once they have started to brown). Leave on the tray for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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