Inside our flat there is a seven-foot tree held in position by the ceiling. This year we chose a sparing selection of fancy shmancy £4-a-pop John Lewis decorations instead of 100 glittery baubles from the Pound Land. The tree is leaning slightly to the left, but I suppose that’s what happens when you invest in something real.
Baking cookies in a cake tin won’t add a touch of all spice to a Christmas baking repertoire, but it does add a barely cooked doughy middle to the modest sized batch this recipe yields. I think that adding some ground cloves or cinnamon, or a warming combination of both elevated with some fresh nutmeg, could work beautifully, especially if you’re finally in the festive spirit (festive spirit = continuous spice trip in the month of December). Let’s not forget that cookies are a bribe the kids might use on Santa so he doesn’t disappoint them with a lump of coal. Not to be ageist, but the heaps of sea salt, whole nuts and bitter chocolate in this cookie tray bake are all adultly ingredients too.
To amplify the bread-like flavour I used yeast as the raising agent and chilled the tray overnight, maturing the fermentation like this created a surprisingly subtle yeastiness. Bicarbonate of soda is fine to use as a replacement, but I’m sick of accidentally adding too much bicarbonate and ending up with a batch of soapy baked goods. Using fast acting yeast eliminates all possibilities of that, and it creates a crispy and crackly top layer caused from the swollen air pockets that rise to the top of the cookie overnight. Yeast and bicarbonate of soda both produce carbon dioxide that helps the cookie rise in the oven, but I much prefer the characteristics of bread in my cookies instead of, say, Imperial Leather.
Yeasted Almond and Sea Salt Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie
Makes 8 large pieces or 16 slithers.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 125g light brown sugar
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 1 tsp coffee extract or brewed coffee
- 1 egg
- 200g strong bread flour
- ½ tsp fast action yeast
- 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 50g almonds, roughly chopped
- In a small saucepan brown the butter on medium heat. Let the butter sizzle in the pan for a few minutes, keep an eye on it as it burns really quickly, you’ll know it’s browned when it starts to smell nutty. Pour the butter in a large bowl and leave to cool slightly. Add the sugar, salt and coffee extract to the butter and stir to combine then crack in the egg and briefly whisk.
- In a separate bowl stir together the flour and yeast and add to the butter mixture. The mixture will be a little wet. Fold through the chocolate and almonds. Dump the dough into an 8-inch round cake tin and use the back of a spoon to gently press into the tin. Tightly wrap the tin in cling film and leave in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Once you're ready to serve the cookie, preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan 180˚C/gas 6 and bake for 18 minutes, or 14 minutes for a gooey middle. Cookie lasts for 3 days if covered.
Waitrose might have nailed gingerbread this Christmas, but they also have a lovely collection of chocolate cake recipes on their website. I made their ganache covered red-velvet-like layer cake and filled it with tangy freeze-dried strawberries, which was dense and hit all the right choco-spots. You can find the recipe here, along with lots more chocolatey goodness.
Love Em xx