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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cookie Therapy

I'm a pretty quiet person, I don't know many people over here in Australia- some might call it anti social, but when I have a problem it means I don't have many people to whinge to about it, which sucks when aspects of your life are going down the pan when others are going so well. Its pretty easy to slide into a bit of a depressive state however have found a much more creative way of dealing with feeling crap. Cookie therapy-sounds a bit like an excuse to stuff my face, and your not totally wrong, but its more my search to understand baking the perfect cookie. Although my partner could not give 2 hoots, my work colleagues have been gobbling them up and loving them -I miss people who appreciate my baking! Its always fun to have a project but one that you get to eat cookies (and more importantly the dough) is even better.

This is what I look like now.

So I started my search, and first off I tried the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe which has been tweaked out in various ways to produce slightly different versions. Some recipes used melted butter to help them 'caramalise' when baking. Others chill dough for 24-36 hours but the effect is more or less the same. Check out this blog for a good review of this classic cookie and various twists on it from Cooks Illustrated, New York Times and Alton Browns

They were nice,but much better out the oven, than when had cooled as a bit cakey and dry. The perfect cookie is very dependent on your taste but I was after more of a buttery crunch. I tried a totally different recipe from Nigella which are the ones pictured below. They were quite nice and more crumbly but still cakey. More flour than other Tollhouse based recipes

Nigella Lawsons Cookies

I knew I needed to do something very different. That is when I came across some perfect light airy textured biscuits at the Sunday Markets made from peanut butter and NO EGG. So I took a leap of faith and despite my very un vegan diet researched some egg-less recipes. Now I am getting somewhere.

First batch using oil and no egg came out okay but a tad dry (although can always thin out to taste with a little milk) so the next night tried the same recipe with about 20% more butter and about 50g of melted chocolate. which turned out much better-and lasted well too.
By changing the amount of butter-cookies more moist and greasy, sugar-sweeter, flour-more dry and crumbly, so I will put the recipe I used for this below but can alter the main 3 ingredients to you hearts content as long as final texture not too dry or too soggy.

Egg-less Chocolate Cookies

Heat oven to 180C and line 1-2 trays with grease proof paper-wax side up.

If want to use melted chocolate (optional) put 50g (roughly) of Dark chocolate buttons in a large ceramic bowl on low heat over a small saucepan of water to melt.

190g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda
Mix these together and set aside

95g Butter 
(softened and suggest whipping first to stop sugar spraying everywhere!)
60g Soft Brown Sugar
30g of Caster Sugar
Whisk in bowl on high until pale and less grainy, then add wet ingredients  (below) whisking after each one.

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
50g (roughly) of  Melted Dark Chocolate (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil (or egg if prefer instead)

Fold in flour mixture with a spoon- if becomes too dry and crumbly you wont have very flat cookies so add 1-2 tablespoons of milk until a softer texture and can easily roll into balls then flatten into a round cookie shape-but this is down to personal preferences.

Add Chocolate chips to taste-I use about 70g of white chips plus milk to decorate as already had some melted dark chocolate in dough. You can add as much or little as you like, can also add fruit, nuts or whatever you fancy! You can add extra bits on top once on the trays before you bake them to make them look more interesting

Bake for about 10-14 mins (depending on size of cookies) at 180C . I made about 12 cookies from this but can make more can keep dough in balls in the freezer ready to bake fresh.

Allow to cool for a few mins before transferring to a wire rack.

Amounts of things don't matter too much with cookies as long as the final unbaked dough is not too runny or dry-either way they are always better eaten fresh out the oven. I might be trying a little more butter next time but I like my food packed full of calories. I also may try using an egg yolk but not the white.

This has been way more fun than crying on the sofa and feeling sorry for myself- and my cookie baking skills are vastly improved!


  1. i'm sorry that you don't have a lot of friends here in oz ... i'm sure if I lived in Byron we would be friends. Cookies look amazing!

  2. If I lived out there I'd be stalking you (and your wardrobe) all the time! And now you've just given me another reason ;-)

    My favourite cookie recipe has chocolate and crystallised ginger in them, but they're soft, like the fresh cookies you get from Tesco...Damn it, it's breakfast time here and already I'm thinking about biscuits!

  3. I know how you feel been down that track alot ofver last 20months I keep to myself alot now thank goodness for blogging buddies.Your cookies have made me hungry for something sweet lol

  4. Give me a call, anytime. And if you would like to send your cookies to Melbourne, I'll find them a home ;) Hope you have a better week x

  5. Its more that all the things over the past 3 years that have been getting to me, and I solve it by working my arse off 24/7 (hence no time to meet people outside work) and now its only just over 2 weeks till liberation (for a month at least). Maybe I am subconsciously saving up all my happiness to go mental once I step on home soil. Slightly worried I may get arrested for cartwheels and trying to hug the passport stamping person.

  6. Sorry you are having a bad time - I hope the cookies are helping.

  7. Baking is very therapeutic. You might find some interesting recipes over on my website too under the Family Recipes section as we recently did a whole week on baking