Monday, 5 December 2011
Double Chocolate Chip Crackle Cookies
I usually go to the gym on a Sunday morning and do a spin class. I *think* I like it. Well I certainly like walking out of it and I like the music, since I'm not out and about on a Saturday night (much) anymore it's the only place I hear new songs! I employ a few techniques to get me through the class. First one is, I think of someone I don't like and pretend I'm cycling away from them really fast. Second one, is the opposite of this, I think of someone I like and pretend I'm cycling towards them. Thirdly, if the instructor turns off the lights, I close my eyes and pretend I'm not there at all while pedalling furiously. Lastly, I think of what I'm going to eat when I leave the class. This morning, chocolate chip cookies and pancakes were the only thing getting me through it. There does be a lot of 'yipping', 'go-ons', 'push its' and howling going on in the class (not from me!). The person I dread most is the fella who pretends he is riding a horse, he does the charade of whipping the 'horse' and is 'yee-hawing' every two seconds. It's probably because I live in Kildare, where you can't go anywhere without driving by either a race-course or a horse worth thousands in a field. There was a horse box being driven around the gym car park the other day when I was walking out, with a horse in it. Seriously.
I've just discovered borrowing recipe books from the library and I'm so going to do it all the time now. I'm sure that now I'm not forking out for books every other week I will get really rich and be able to take early retirement. I borrowed the 'Meat Free Monday Cookbook' the other day. The book's basic concept is that if you give up meat one day a week, you can save money, reduce your environmental impact and live a healthier life. The book is split into seasons and provides recipe ideas for three meals a day and sometimes dessert too. I was interested in the book as even though I'm not sure how it happened, we don't eat that much meat in this house. It probably started of subconsciously but nowadays I plan it that way. I think it must have something to do with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Chicken Run programme last year or the year before. I'm so fussy about chicken, I never buy anything other than free-range now. I will only buy meat from the butchers. I very rarely will have processed meats like sausages or burgers unless I know they're from a reputable butcher. Mostly I eat vegetarian sandwiches at lunch on the rare occasions I don't bring my own with me. I make the exception if I'm at someones house and they serve it up to me, as I couldn't insult someone by not eating their food just because of my quirks. If anything I'm very polite. But even if your not a semi-veggie, or a veggie, the book is a good read.
The picture of these chocolate cookies just jumped out at me, they look so Christmassy and I had to make them. I'm not sure if I like the way the recipe is laid out in the book so I will change it around slightly below..... They are very chocolatey and the icing sugar gives them a nice sweetness. The outside is chewy and the inside is a bit cake-y, seriously so good!
Double Chocolate Crackle Cookies - slightly adapted from Meat Free Monday Cookbook
Makes approximately 32 cookies, if this is too many for you to make (read: EAT) at once, shape what you don't need into a log, wrap in clingfilm and pop into the freezer. To cook from frozen, cut slices off the log and proceed from the rolling / dipping stage.
225g dark chocolate
300g soft light brown sugar
2 large organic eggs
150g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbs milk
75g white chocolate, either in chips or chopped up from a bar
6 tbs icing sugar
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly.
Put the butter and brown sugar into a freestanding mixer and beat until pale in colour and fluffy.
Add 1 egg to the sugar and butter mixture and beat well. Repeat.
Add the vanilla extract.
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into the mixer bowl.
Add the white chocolate chips.
Mix until combined.
Chill in fridge for about 2 hours until firm. (This step is pretty crucial or you will have a nightmare trying to get the cookie dough shaped into balls)
When the cookie dough is firm, remove from fridge and preheat the oven to 180 degrees while your hands are still clean.
Line baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Start rolling the mixture into balls (apparently the size of walnuts) using a tablespoon to help you gauge size.
When all the mixture is shaped, roll the dough balls in the icing sugar until fully covered.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes on the middle rack, until the tops are firm-ish but not crisp. Remember, sugar is liquid at high temps so they will firm up more once you they cool.
Cool the cookies on the baking trays, if you can resist.