The search for the perfect cookie is a never ending story that many of us are trying to conclude. Is it made from one, two or three kinds of sugar? Does it have chips or chocolate chunks? Is it gluten-free, laden with wheat or made with healthy grain flours? Are there piles of pecans, a touch of smoked salt or a tang of zest hidden in between those chewy folds of dough? Or is it crispy and thin? The story of the perfect chocolate chip cookie is never ever ending.
I have so many favourite cookie recipes that it is impossible for me to wade in with my version held high in my hands. One day I want the bitterness of dark chocolate, the next I prefer the childhood smoothness of white. I want fruit pieces, no wait nuts! Actually, can I swirl in some honey? It feels like the perfect cookie dough is actually a lesson in chemistry.
I think if you are new to the perfect cookie game, a great place to start is a great base recipe. For this strand of the adventure I looked to The Little Loaf, playing with the quantities of her Brown Butter Buckwheat Cookies to suit my own tastes. A smidge more brown sugar, a dash of autumn’s favourite pumpkin spice, a cup of quality chips and warming notes of nutty toasted pecans. The depth of browned butter lifts these cookies and marries well with the chunks of nut and the melting pools of chocolate. Actually, I think these are my new favourite cookies – until I hit the kitchen again.
Adapted from The Little Loaf
You Will Need
185g unsalted butter, softened
120g caster sugar
120g soft light brown sugar
1 egg and 1 yolk
225g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp pumpkin spice mix (I used this one)
Pinch of salt
50g pecans, toasted and chopped
200g good quality milk chocolate chips
Firstly you will need to brown the butter. Place 85g of the butter in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Melt the butter then begin to swirl the pan. The milk solids will start to separate and crack but keep going, you are looking for a golden brown colour that smells nutty. Pour the brown butter into a bowl, scraping the brown bits from the pan into the bowl and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
Place the remaining butter and sugars in a bowl and cream together using a hand held electric whisk or a stand mixer. Add the egg and yolk and whisk again until the mix is smooth then pour in the cooled brown butter. Whisk again until fully incorporated.
Whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, pumpkin spice mix and salt in a large bowl then pour into the wet mix all at once. Stir to combine then add the chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Cover the bowl in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 180oc/160oc fan/gas mark 3 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Scoop tablespoons of the cookie dough onto the tray spaced well apart. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8 – 10 minutes until the edged are browned. Remove and leave to cool on the tray before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the dough.