As someone who bakes for a (partial) living, it may surprise you that over the past few months, I’ve been baking less and less for fun. A couple of years ago I would often have a weekend baking project or two on the go, but with a busy work schedule, nights out and impromptu after work drinks in the pub, it’s a hobby that has simply fallen by the wayside.
That is until coronavirus happened. I won’t dwell on it too much here, since it is everywhere, but with a cancelled holiday and nowhere else to go for entertainment, I turned to my kitchen to keep myself occupied. I pulled out recipe books I had barely touched and began to make dishes I had earmarked months ago but had never found the time to make. Soon our flat was perfumed with the sweet scents of spices as I made a black dahl and punchy flavours from an unctuous duck ragu.
And so baking quickly followed and I found joy just like I had stirring slow cooked sauces as I did chopping chocolate and hazelnuts for these thick NYC-style cookies. I made the grave decision not to pop into a Levain bakery when we were in New York a couple of years ago, but these cookies adapted from a Cupcake Jemma recipe are said to be close to the real deal. Unlike the soft, flat cookies I usually bake, these are thicker and crammed with chocolate which oozes from their soft centres. The best part about these cookies is that they require a long rest in the freezer, which means they are great for stocking up on in case of a cookie emergency. Which in these trying times, feels like it’s every day. I highly suggest stuffing your freezer full of these gooey cookies for the next few weeks – I think we’re going to need them.
Recipe adapted from Cupcake Jemma
- 230g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 160g soft light brown sugar
- 160g caster sugar
- 350g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
- 120g hazelnuts, skins removed and chopped
- 200g self-raising flour
- 300g plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Place the butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for around 40 seconds until the butter has softened into one large lump. Add the two sugars and beat again for the same amount of time. Add the chocolate and hazelnuts and beat until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda then pour into the cookie dough mix. Beat for around 40 seconds until the mix appears sandy. Pour in the beaten eggs and combine to a soft dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Press together balls of cookie dough around 125g in weight to make around a dozen cookies. Place the cookies into the freezer for at least 90 minutes or ideally overnight to rest before baking.
- When you’re ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 200oc/180oc fan and place a baking sheet lined with baking parchment in the oven while it heats up. Once the oven is up to temperature, place the cookie dough balls onto the hot tray straight from the freezer, which will help crisp up the bottoms. Space them well apart and bake for around 17 minutes until golden.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool a little. You can repeat with the rest of the cookie dough or keep in the freezer for a rainy day. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to five days.