Wednesday 26 October 2016

Triple chocolate and orange cookies

One of my favourite memories from when I was little - a food-related memory, obvners - is of the lady who lived next door to us making Bonfire Toffee every year for Guy Fawkes'/Fireworks Night and being kind enough to give some to mumma for me, my brother and twinny to happily rot our teeth on.

Being a ziggypiggy even at the tender young age of five, I suspect my poor siblings didn't get much of a look in with not just the toffee, but any food in the house. Still, I suppose that would explain why all the Asian auntie-jees, upon seeing twinny and I together would cast their critical eye over me before gleefully stating "Achaa [I see], so you're the chubby one".

Anyway, glossing over the kind, gentle auntie-jees with their innocuous observations and returning to toffee, sadly, as we well know, all good things must come to an end. We moved house, and for whatever reason, the next-door-neighbour refused to come with, meaning the ready supply of Bonfire toffee was no more. Hmph.

Now that I'm a fully-grown ziggypiggy, every year when Guy Fawkes' Night comes around, I hunt in vain for Bonfire Toffee and never seem to have any luck. Worse still, what saddens me is that instead of preparing for Fireworks Night, the supermarkets prefer, increasingly, to push Halloween. Since when did the Amreekanism of dressing up as ghouls and goblins and going trick or treating get so big here in the UK?

What's particularly galling is that a few years back, when my mum answered the door to some trick-or-treating teenagers, they rejected the sweets she kindly offered them and instead demanded money! Poor, naive K-Dub, robbed on her own doorstep by a bunch of ghosts! (I'm pretty sure I suggested to her at the time that we turn off all the lights and spend the evening in total silence so that any little treat-seeking opportunists would think no-one was home, but would she listen?!)

Despite my disapproval of the UK's new-found love for Halloween, I will acknowledge that not all American influences and imports are bad; it has also given us greatness. In no particular order, Chris Pine and cookies spring to mind.

Cookies. Which brings me neatly onto this recipe: one from my old girl-crush Nige. These are mahoosive mounds of ridiculously chocolate biscuit. I say biscuit because although technically they are chocolate chunk cookies, they're not chewy and are almost a little shortbread like in their crumbly texture. They require chocolate in three different formats, hence the name, and you can leave the orange zest out if you want, but that would just be silly of you. Enjoy.

Makes about 12 large cookies
  • 125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 125g soft, unsalted butter
  • 85g soft, light brown sugar
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (cold from the fridge)
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 350g plain chocolate (40-50% cocoa), chopped
Preheat the oven to 170C (150C for fan ovens)

Break the 125g dark chocolate into large pieces in a bowl and melt either in the microwave or a bain marie, then set aside to cool a little.

Into another large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

Using either a freestanding mixer (with the paddle attachment) or a handheld electric whisk, beat together the butter and two sugars until light and creamy.

Add the melted chocolate to the butter and sugar mix and beat again until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract and egg and mix to combine.

Tip in the sifted ingredients and mix through, before finally adding the orange zest and chocolate chunks and stirring through once more until everything is combines.

Use a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop to measure out 12 large balls of dough and place them about 5cm apart on a couple of baking sheets. If the dough balls prove reluctant to come away from the spoon or scoop, a palette knife will help to prise them out. Don't worry about having nice, perfectly rounded balls of dough, you want them to be lumpy and bumpy. And don't flatten the tops of them!

Bake for 18 minutes, then leave to cool and set a little.