Tag Archives: chewy

Customise your chocolate chip cookies

Yum yum yum

So many places promise that their cookie is the best, or their recipe will spring forth the best cookie. But in lockdown, my youngest and I sought to find a way to make a recipe for what WE wanted in a cookie. We started with an amalgam of cookie recipes we had made (see Hugh’s Ten Minute Cookies as a starter, ) and then we looked at this excellent ‘parametric’ of how to make cookies just as YOU want them, and we experimented.

You may need to sign up to read all the data but it’s free and I think Chef Steps is brilliant. We specifically wanted to ‘step up the chew’ and Chef Steps told us that to do this we could do all, or one, of a few things, namely: increase the hydration. In our case we added an egg white. Melting the butter also releases the water in it so we know do that instead of just using softened butter. Change the flours, we introduced bread flour – I know! – into our recipe. Change the sugars, we upped the brown sugar to white sugar proportion. By carefully decreasing the cooking time you can also add to the chew, but if you get this wrong – dah dah DAH – you’ll just end up with a soft cookie. That ain’t no bad thing but it won’t be che-wy.

Anyway, I’ve had this recipe under a magnet on the fridge for two years now and I live in fear of losing it. We took ages to get it how WE wanted it. So I’m committing it to here so it’s forever saved. You may also enjoy it but you can now experiment and make YOUR cookie the best.

125g butter, melted and cooled. I use unsalted but if you use salted butter don’t add the salt mentioned later.

150g soft brown sugar

75g granulated

1 whole egg and one egg white (I save the yolk for brushing atop bagels and these ‘almost’ brioches I make regularly)

Two teaspoons of vanilla extract

75g white bread flour

75g wholemeal spelt (I tend to use Baker’s Blend as that’s what we have which is mostly wholemeal with some white spelt)

Half a teaspoon of baking powder

A pinch of salt if your butter wasn’t salted

150g chocolate chips

100g chopped nuts

Oven to 175C fan so you can do two trays at once. Bake time is 7/8 minutes.


Cream together the 125g melted and cooled butter and the 150g of soft brown sugar and 75g of granulated sugar. You can do this by hand or in a freestanding mixer with the whisk attachment. Then add your one whole egg and one egg white (you don’t need to whisk the egg white first or anything like that). Then the two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Now add your 75g of white bread flour and your 75g spelt with half a teaspoon of baking powder and the pinch of salt, if using. If you’ve been using a freestanding mixer, untether the bowl form the mixer and manually mix in the chocolate and nuts.

Use a tablespoon to put dollops on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in a preheated 175C fan oven for 7/8 minutes. This mixture keeps in the fridge for a few days so you can have fresh cookies in an instant.

Apricot, amaretto and almond cake

It’s Monday morning as I write this. I was promised sunshine and warm weather and yet, as I sit here in my Uniqlo padded jacket and thermal socks, it is grey outside and I feel depressed.

This is why I am writing about cake. Cake is a happy, safe word, with its promises of tea, friends, chat and warmth.

I made this at the weekend, for a birthday treat for a loved one. It’s a recipe I’ve had for many years (from Waitrose magazine). Most unprepossessing, and even a little bit gauche to look at maybe, but what drew me in was the introduction (I love an introduction in a recipe) which said, briefly but fulsomely:

“This is one of the best cakes in my repertoire, it has a very intense apricot flavour”

(I don’t know who wrote it so apologies.)

That confident appraisal, “one of the best cakes in my repertoire”? Well it rather throws down the cakey gauntlet, doesn’t it?

This is a magnificent cake. Not, of course, if you don’t like almonds or apricots. And each time I make it, it’s slightly different. One time it was so moist at to be barely sliceable – but still delicious – yesterday when I made it, it rose more than ever before, and didn’t sink in the middle (it usually does, a dip which acts as a useful pool for the yoghurty, creamy topping) and was definitely a spongey cake. Anyway, try it and see. It really does have a wonderful flavour, and on a depressing, grey, Monday when the weekend is all behind you still, that’s what you need.

You’ll need, for the cake:

115g unsalted butter, softened

325g caster sugar

50g marzipan, cut into little pieces

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

50ml amaretto, plus an extra as a sip as it’s delicious

3 eggs

165g plain flour

25g raising flour

a quarter of a teaspoon of salt

a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

75g ground almonds

125ml sour cream

125g read to eat dried apricots, chopped


You’ll need, for the topping:

225g thick Greek yoghurt

4 tablespoons of whipped up double cream

125g soft set apricot jam

50g toasted almond flakes

a little icing sugar for dusting.


This is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 170C. I use this time to toast the flaked almonds for 5 minutes or so. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. I use a spring-form 23cm cake tin which I parchment line the bottom of.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, either by hand or in a mixer. Then add the marzipan bits and blend well. Now add the eggs, beating well with each addition. Now add the vanilla and amaretto. MIx together the flours, salt and bicarb and the ground almonds. Now add these dry ingredients to the mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Finally, fold in the chopped apricots and bake in the oven for 1hour to 1 hour 20 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean, but the cake shouldn’t be too cooked, if you follow.

Let it cool completely, then run a knife around the edge and take out.

Now mix the topping ingredients together: the yoghurt and the whipped cream first, then marble through the apricot jam. Spoon on top of the cake. Some times, if the cake hasn’t sunk much, then I feel like I’m left with too much topping. In such cases, it’s best not to put all the topping on, but reserve it for spooning it up when you slice up and serve the cake.

Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top, dust with icing sugar and slice and eat.

Store in the fridge when not being eaten.