All my life I have been searching for two perfect recipes: shortbread and chocolate chip cookies. I haven’t yet found ‘the one’, but I think this recipe for chocolate chip cookies comes a close second to the real deal. The only reason it’s not dubbed ‘perfect’ (although I’ve made these twice already) was because I needed them to be more soft and squishy in the middle. I like my cookies piping hot out of the oven (I have inherited my mum’s asbestos mouth), with a crunch just around the edge of the cookie, then slowly getting more and more chewy and unctuous in the middle. For me, the best bits are the melting oozy bits of chocolate that, mind you, always leave inevitable stains on the only good white shirt I own (I can’t wear white just because I am a terrible messy drooler!)…
I’m kind of glad I haven’t found the be all and end all of chocolate chip cookies yet. Life is nothing without the endless chase for the next recipe to better the one we have now (the grass is always greener after all), so I look forward to writing more on this topic later.
This recipe is from superstar Claire Ptak, who has just published her debut cookbook The Violet Bakery Cookbook, which is brilliant. I had the pleasure of working with Claire on a couple of books, while I was working in London and editing food books, and she has always had such a way with food not to mention the rare ability to style it so well. The key to this recipe, as Claire says in her book, is in the egg yolk – no egg whites allowed here. The yolk is just so important in terms of creating the rich and gorgeous texture of these cookies. It’s like those tasty treats you find in real French bakeries; I always sit there wondering, how do they get it so right? Well, it’s all about the yolk people! Throw away those whites to the wind. This recipe makes so many cookies so I would actually recommend halving the amount and using one super large egg yolk instead of one and a half. I think this cookie wouldn’t be so bad with the odd macadamia nut thrown in too. Oh god … I might have to go bake some now.
Egg yolk chocolate chip cookies
Makes about 16 large cookies
250 g soft unsalted butter
200 g light brown sugar or dulce sugar
100 g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
3 egg yolks
325 g plain flour
1¼ tsp fine sea salt, plus extra to sprinkle (I am in love with David’s Kosher Salt)
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 g milk chocolate (use really good-quality stuff if you can), broken up into chunks
Beat the butter and sugars with an electric hand-held beater until combined but not too creamy. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add this to dry mix to the bowl with the egg mixture along with the chocolate and mix well.
Shape into a cylinder and wrap with clingfilm. Put into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. When you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the cookie dough into rounds and place on the lined tray, leaving enough space between each one so they can expand as they bake. Sprinkle with a little more sea salt flakes and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the centre of a cookie is slightly soft but the edges crispy. Remove and cool on the tray for a few minutes or just eat them immediately being careful not to burn your mouth too much.
(Recipe slightly adapted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, Square Peg, 2015)