Vanilla Cookies With

From: Mary Berry's Baking Bible (Vanilla Cookies) and The Australian Women's Weekly Chocolate 70 Wicked Recipes (Fudgy-Wudgy Chocolate Cookies)

Cookies with white chocolate

If you have the time it is worth experimenting with this recipe (maybe reducing the quantities) to get the type of cookie you like best, see note.  It is surprisingly difficult to get consistently good results at the cooking stage; always edible, but perfection requires practice.

Ingredients

Sufficient for 24 cookies (but see variation below).

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/gas mark 4.
  2. Grease two baking trays or, if you are short on baking trays, use the underside of a large baking tin.
  3. Mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and egg in a bowl (I used a food mixer with beating attachment for this part).
  4. Mix in the flour.
  5. Add the "with".  The "with" might be chocolate (two 100 gm bars, broken into the little square pieces and each piece cut into four) or, perhaps, the glacÚ ginger from the ginger rum recipe cut into 2 mm-wide strips, or raisins, or oats, or nuts, or whatever...
  6. Place walnut-sized blobs of the mixture onto the baking trays, leaving plenty of room for each blob to spread and trying to be as consistent as possible (since the spread is very sensitive to blob size), then flatten each one with a fork (this will ensure that they cook evenly); you will need to do this and the remaining steps in batches.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes; they will look under-cooked, still glistening slightly, which is what you want if you are to get goey cookies.
  8. Let the cookies sit on the baking tray for 5 minutes to solidify; if any have spread such that they are touching, use a knife to separate them now.
  9. Move the cookies to a cooling rack, lifting them carefully (e.g. by sliding a thin plastic spatula underneath them sideways) as they will/should still be gooey.
  10. Repeat from step 6 until all are done.
Walnut
                sized blobs
Walnut sized blobs
Blobs
                flattened with a fork
Blobs flattened with a fork
Immediately after removing from the oven
Immediately after removing from the oven
After
                10 minutes cooling
After 10 minutes cooling

Note: we tried a few variations of the plain/self-raising flour balance.  The original Mary Berry recipe produces relatively "cakey" cookies, with half the sugar, all self-raising flour and a slightly longer cooking time.  The original Fudgy-Wudgy recipe, on the other hand, is as above but with a 5:1 plain/self-raising flour mix.  It also has a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, however bicarbonate of soda needs an acid to interact with to make bubbles and the only acid in the recipe is the cream of tartar in the baking powder that makes up the self-raising flour, so it's difficult to see how it has a significant effect (hence we left it out).  Anyway, that recipe produces thin, flat, very sweet cookies.  If you take the recipe as set out above and change the flour to be all self-raising it doesn't produce more raised cookies, it produces more spread cookies as the bubbles in the self raising flour end up pushing the relatively loose mixture sideways; this is more a Millies Cookies style.  If you then halve the sugar and cook them until slightly brown you will probably produce the rather more cakey cookies of the Mary Berry recipe.  Fascinating.

Gluten Free Variation

We tried a gluten free variation of the above, replacing the total of 220 gm of flour with 220 gm of gluten free flour plus 0.25 tsp of xanthan gum.  In doing this we also used a great tool to get the volume of material in each cookie nice and consistent: a very small ice cream scoop, volume about 1.5 teaspoons, so about 10 ml.  Using a generous scope, making sure it is over packed, you can actually get more like 48 cookies out of the mixture, very consistently, which is useful if you have many mouths to tempt.

Small ice cream scoop  The scoop end, about 1.5 teaspoons
        in volume

Be aware that the gluten freeness produces a less gloopy and more crisp cookie, so the taste is quite different.

Generous scoop-sized blobs
Generous scoop-sized blobs
Blobs
                flattened and rounded
Blobs flattened and rounded
Immediately after removing from the oven
Immediately after removing from the oven
After
                10 minutes cooling
After 10 minutes cooling


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