I’ve always liked that saying… I imagine crumbs falling off of a cookie as you bite into it and you’re sad because you’ve missed out on having said crumbs in your belly.
Disappointment is a huge part of what the saying means, of course, and so is that life is rather unfair (because, I always thought, you couldn’t have had that cookie in its entirety), but also it means having to accept that life is just the way it is, and so be it.
I like to bake and there are a handful of recipes that I truly treasure, one of them being my chocolate chip cookie recipe. This wonderful cookie originated in the 1930s by a guesthouse owner from Massachusetts, USA. Most people think it was by accident, but actually, Ruth Wakefield was a dietician and a chef and she wrote and published many cookbooks as well as hosting guests at The Toll House Inn. Story goes she wanted something exciting to add to the menu and added semi sweet chocolate chunks to her cookie dough recipe and voila! The birth of what was then called ‘The Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie.’
I’m sitting at the aptly named Iconic Coffee and Coookies bar sampling two different versions of their chocolate chip cookies: the original milk choc chip and the choc choc chip. I’m thinking whether what I’ve been presented with would make Ruth proud. The baker is a really tall, giant of a man covered in tattoos, with glasses and an apron on. He is talking to a friend about boxing. His sister is roundly plump and red faced and clearly samples cookies all day (oh the joy), but apparently does not bake at all.
A quirky pair they certainly are, but the coffee is good and the cookies are satisfying to eat. Soft and chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, with enough depth and size to last a whole coffee cup’s worth of time. But they are also rather salty and not sweet at all and leave a slightly floury aftertaste which is a tad disappointing…
Baking is an art, make no mistake about it. Even if you follow a recipe to the nth degree, it will still depend on your skills, the temperature and quality of your ingredients, how your oven works, your equipment, and even your mood on the day; jolly mood = jolly cookie, I say! It’s your experience with trial and error that will determine future baking success.
While clearly the baker at Iconic is passionate about baking, he’s still one step away from perfect… I couldn’t tell him it wasn’t perfect though because I don’t like hurting people’s feelings, but if he ever reads this: that’s the way the cookie crumbles, bud! Wink wink! Besides, he admitted he is still perfecting the recipe so I expect he will get there very soon!
So what is the perfect choc chip cookie? One that’s just chewy enough not to get stuck in your teeth and crisp enough for the perfect texture. And made with your favourite kind of chocolate, of course! Here is my perfect choc chip cookie recipe. The one my kids and hubby love. The one that’s even better than my mama’s and that’s saying loads!
Let me know how you go!
Sandy’s Most Perfect Choc Chip Cookies
230g salted butter (yup, salt helps the flavour)
100g white sugar (for crunch)
200g light brown sugar (this is essential for that chewy texture you want)
2 large eggs
2ml vanilla extract
360g cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
200g your favourite milk chocolate slab, roughly chopped
200g your favourite dark chocolate slab, roughly chopped
NB You can put up to 500g of choc weight in this recipe so play around with more or less choc depending on what you like. Or maybe add 100g of your favourite nuts! But do try the purist version first…
1 Preheat oven to 180C, lightly grease a baking tray with butter.
2 Melt butter in microwave until pliable (don’t overmelt it or it’ll cook the eggs). Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
3 Sift flour and bicarb into butter mixture and combine. Fold in the choc chips.
4 Make small round balls and press gently on baking tray. The flatter it is, the crunchier but less chewier it is. The bigger they are, the chewier they are but less crunchier. You’ll have to see what your oven does with your first batch to determine size and width of your perfect cookie.
5 Bake for about 15mins. Remove and place on cooling rack. I prefer to take cookies out of the tray while still warm because if they dry on the tray sometimes they get stuck and you can break them (oh no, more wasted crumbs!)
And that’s it! This recipe is cool because you can literally put any kind of chocolate flavoured pieces you want: White, mint choc, orange, raspberry, coconut, you name it! Good luck and don’t waste any crumbs but if you do… that’s just the way life is. Haha!