I have a big secret… I’m a nutritionist with a big sweet tooth.
I mean, nothing’s wrong with that once I can control it. I’ve been this way from since I was little and I doubt that’ll change any time soon. I’ve actually been visiting le BF in Namibia for some weeks now and though I’m quite impressed by the selection of pastries here – pre-lockdown, of course – it’s been a while since I’ve been away from my usual sweet fixings.
Unfortunately, I’ve been craving some chocolate chip cookies for 3, maybe 4 weeks. We finally bought some from the store, and gosh were they weird and lacking chocolate. Le BF seemed to enjoy them, although they were rock hard. Definitely not what I was expecting from a cookie unless it’s a Bajan Rough Top.
I can’t quite get a taste for the cookies here. I don’t know what it is, but it seems that all of what I’ve tried are really sweet, dry with a slightly coconutty taste. And I feel like they’re missing something – aside from moisture – but I don’t know what it is. It’s a bit weird!
Fed up, I decided I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies and searched for dark chocolate each time we did a quick supermarket run. For the essentials, you know. Then last week I finally found a 500g bar in SPAR for N$46 (which is BB$5 or US$2.50). Not bad at all!
I enjoy baking once I have the time, and I’ve made cookies plenty of times before. I’m accustomed to using the creaming method with my perfectly measured out ingredients and my army of baking tools is great but, here I was out of my element – we even had to borrow a baking pan – and I couldn’t even find a scale.
So, one wet-ingredient measuring cup, a mismatch of different spoons, forks and bowls, no electric mixer and some hours later, we made it happen!
I’m so proud of these babies, even if my hand did hurt from hand-mixing and my back from standing so long in the kitchen. We had to make some ingredient swaps too, but I think these are some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made! When you don’t have a horse, ride cow.
I’ve actually taken recipes from bon appétit and BuzzFeed’s Tasty and modified them to suit what I had. But I’d been seeing plenty of videos in the last few months about cookie making (subliminal marketing much?) and I’ve noticed this trend of making brown butter for the batter. I decided to give it a go this time and I was impressed by the difference it made. Now although I didn’t exactly use butter, I actually browned the margarine which had milk solids and got a similar effect. I then chilled my browned “butter” in the freezer for 10 -15 mins just to speed up the cooling process but ensuring it was still liquid, before whipping it to the sugars with a fork.
I typically like to buy brown sugar, but we were running out and only had white sugar left, so unlike both recipes which have a larger brown to white ratio, we did the opposite! But it didn’t seem to affect the cookies as much as I thought it might. So, meh!
Each cookie is 175 calories on average. Don’t be too worried about the fat and sugar content. As long as you’re not eating cookies every day or this whole recipe in one go, you’ll be fine. But I did have some moments of weakness too since these are delicious! It’s ok. Share some with your neighbours! We’re all going through a tough time right now.
To add some richness to the cookies I added instant coffee granules. I didn’t have espresso powder as the original recipe suggested, so I used the back of a spoon to grind 1 tablespoon of instant coffee while watching le BF play Fortnite.
Also, because I really enjoy a nutty taste in my chocolate chip cookies, I’d typically add almond essence, but we only had vanilla and way too many jars of peanut butter. So, I added about 2 teaspoons into the wet ingredients when I was whipping up the sugar. It seemed to have worked some magic for the finished cookie. If you have nuts or crunchy peanut butter, definitely use them instead of smooth PB for added crunch. If you use peanuts subtract ¼ cup of flour, or your dough will be drier.
And for the pièce de résistance! The dark chocolate chunks… which were hand-chopped and applied lovingly to the dough. Of course, you must add extra on top of your dough balls just before you bake too. That way there’s no false hope of chocolate in your cookie.
Make sure you rest and chill your batter for at least 1 hour before you bake any cookies! It’ll allow the flavours to really meld together and chilling makes the dough spread more slowly in the oven. Meaning you can get a thicker, chewier cookie.
I used two random spoons to make dough balls and after the first batch I tried with rounded dough I decided to squash the doughballs slightly to make room for more chocolate and to make more spread cookies. I like my cookies slightly chewy, but still a bit crispy. Obviously, test it out and see which you prefer, but I think the thinner versions are just as yummy and got nice and golden brown on the edges. Plus, it took a little less time to cook! Especially important when you want to go to bed.
Anyhow, that was a lot to take in! Let me finally share the recipe with you. This recipe would definitely take less time with an electric mixture but making the brown butter and resting the dough makes it worth the wait.
Here’s a printable PDF version of the recipe.
Or you can keep scrolling for the recipe card as an image.
Feel free to save this recipe to your Pinterest, trust me, you’ll want to remember this!
- Prep time: 25 minutes
- Mixing time: 20 minutes (by hand including breaks)/ 10 minutes with an electric mixer
- Rest time: 1 hour
- Baking time: 10 – 15 minutes per batch.
- Total time: 2 hours
- Makes about 28 medium cookies (2.5 inches to 3-inches in diameter)
- 2 ½ cups – White self-raising flour
- 225g (2 sticks) – Margarine/ Butter
- 200g – Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped)
- 2 – Medium Eggs (room temperature)
- ½ cup – Brown sugar
- ½ cup – White sugar
- 2 heaped tsp – Smooth Peanut butter
- 2 tsp – Vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp – Water (or as needed)
- 1 tbsp – Instant coffee granules or powder
- 1 tsp – Table salt
- To a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat.
- Bring the butter/margarine to a rolling boil and stir frequently with a long wooden spoon. As the milk solids separate from the emulsion, they will start to get burnt at the bottom of the pan creating a brown colour. Continue to stir constantly to ensure that the browning happens evenly. There will be some foaming but keep a close eye on the colour of your liquid. Remove from the heat if it splatters or foams too much and keep stirring. This should take around 8 minutes or less, depending on the size of your pan.
- Once the butter is a nutty brown you may turn off the heat, and carefully transfer the butter to a heat resistant measuring cup and let sit for 2 – 3 minutes. As the butter cools, you may top up the volume to 250ml of liquid using a few tablespoons of water, then stir the mixture. For your safety, please do not add water to piping hot butter! When I used margarine, less water was lost so this may not be necessary.
- Place your browned butter in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool. Ensure that it is removed from the freezer while it’s still liquid.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add sifted self-raising flour and salt then set aside.
- To a large bowl, add brown and white sugar, vanilla essence, coffee powder, peanut butter and finally your brown butter. Cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Then add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients ⅓ at a time until sufficiently incorporated with mixer. (Add ¼ at a time if you are mixing by hand.)
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the ¾ of the chocolate chunks and scrape the additional flour from the sides of the bowl until everything is just combined.
- Rest the dough in the fridge for 1 hour, or overnight if you have the time to spare.
- Preheat your oven to 350˚F / 180˚C and grease a baking tray or line it with parchment, if you have.
- Using two tablespoons, form dough balls and space them 3 inches apart. Smush them slightly on the baking sheet and add additional chocolate pieces on top.
- Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 2 minutes on the baking tray before moving to a cooling rack.