Ever since I moved to London with the husband, I have been baking quite a bit. And because it was only the two of us, I tend to spread the calories love by bringing some home-baked goodies to the lab that I do my PhD in.
On one occasion, I made some chocolate chip peanut butter and pecan cookies, the crunchy sort, and brought them to the office. It was then that I received my first ever cookie education.
“These look great, Rachel. Thanks!”
“You’re welcome, hope you like them.”
“Oh yeah, I love cookies. They are quite different from biscuits. You see, biscuits should be crunchy and cookies should be slightly chewy, at least in the centre.”
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
I was really quite embarrassed, and I think my colleague must have been too, having made that comment right before he sank his teeth into one of my crunchy, not chewy, cookies. That piece of information stayed with me, naturally, and I’ve been on the hunt for a chewy cookie recipe ever since.
But seriously, why would I be on a hunt? The recipe was sitting right under my nose all along, and it took me long enough to realise that the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook always has the solutions to all problems in the universe.
I wasn’t contented though. I wanted to do something more. Give the cookies an extra lift, knock someone’s socks off, whatever. And because that someone in question is my husband, I decided to give it a little coconut-y kick.
And guess what? The cookies were gorgeous, the best I’ve had, if I can say so myself. Very slightly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside with sticky, gooey chocolate oozing out of the centres, and an alluring fragrance courtesy of the toasted coconut. I left them at room temperature on a plate for three days, and they were still good after that. I also made 50 cookies out of the recipe, but didn’t manage to bring any for colleagues or friends because trust me, you won’t want to share these calories.
So I guess I have to thank my colleague for that cookie education, even though it was a little embarrassing. If not for him, I wouldn’t have made the best cookies I reckon I will ever have.
Disclaimer: Whilst I am now partial to chewy cookies, crunchy cookies are still good in my books. After all, cookies are cookies and cookies are antidotes to any kind of pain, no?
Here is my recipe:
Chocolate Chunks and Flaked Coconut Cookies:
(adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
350g soft light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
400g plain flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
225g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used 70% dark chocolate from Lindt so the cookies won’t be too sweet)
100g flaked coconut
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. Cream butter and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well (scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula after each addition to incorporate the unmixed parts). Turn the mixer down to low speed and beat in the vanilla paste.
4. Add flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate chunks and flaked coconut.
5. Arrange 6 tablespoon-sized drops of cookie dough on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Ensure that these drops are spaced well apart to allow for expansion. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. At this point, the cookies will be quite flat, and frighteningly soft and pliable. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the tray before transferring the cookies onto the cooling rack.
6. You can choose to eat them while they are warm (not hot!) and wash them down with a glass of cold milk, or have them at room temperature. I loved eating them when they were warm. When the cookies have cooled completely, you might want to store them in an air-tight container, depending on the climate you’re in. And remember to keep a secret stash for that late-night indulgence!