I’m pretty sure the recipe came from my Aunt Joyce, the Queen of Baking in my world. And I’m also fairly certain that the recipe is in my mother’s recipe book. So, if I really wanted I could no doubt get back the original, and make them exactly as they were in those eternally sunny summers back in the mid 70s. But I also recall that they had half lard, half butter (or even marg) … and I know that using half lard can make pastry beautifully short, but I don’t think I want to use lard in my biscuits any more. So, if I’m going to play about with the recipe anyway, I may as well just find a new one, and adapt from there.
So, this weekend I did some internet research, so you don’t have to. Although if you really want to find out more, you can do worse than starting out here on my friend wikipedia.
Preheat oven to 170C or Gas Mark 3. Grease at least two baking sheets. Or I guess you could line them with baking parchment instead.
170g unsalted butter
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp salt
200g dark brown or muscovado sugar
100g light brown sugar (or caster)
1 TBSp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
200g dark chocolate, chopped into wee chips
125g mixed nuts, chopped into wee chips. I’ve not tried it, but you could probably use salted nuts if you’re a fan of the sugar-salt-choc thing.
- Melt the butter in a big bowl (this is the bowl that the whole mixture is going to end up in so make it big enough). I use a microwave to melt the butter, but of course you could melt it in a pan and then tip it into the bowl.
- Sift the flour, bicarb and salt together in a different bowl – this is really just to mix it together, as most flour these days doesn’t need sifting – but it’s an old habit with me, so I like to sift it all
- Add the sugars to the melted butter and beat with an electric beater (or a wooden spoon if you want to work off those bingo wings) until you have a light fluffy mixture
- Now add the vanilla essence and the eggs and beat some more
- Mix in the flour and stuff with a wooden spoon, then mix through the nuts and chocolate chips
- Depending how warm your kitchen is, you’ll either have a soft-ish batter, or a much stiffer dough… my kitchen was baltic this weekend, so the butter cooled down quickly and I had quite a stiff dough
- Now, how big do you want your cookies? I use about a soup-spoonful of mixture in a big lump, and they spread out to around 3-4 inches diameter. But you might want to make ENORMOUS cookies like those ones you get at train stations… you’d probably need about 4 TBsps of cookie mixture for that size.
- Remember to leave gaps between each dollop of mixture – the larger the dollop the bigger the gap required. For the enormous ones you’ll need at least 3″ I’d say.
- Bake for about 16 minutes, but this will depend on which shelf they are on in your oven, how hot the oven actually is and what size you’ve made your cookies. Ideally you need to take them out when they are golden around the edges, but not toasted in the middle. Leave them on the baking tray to cool down, they will continue to cook. Then remove them to a cooling tray. This will give you a slightly chewy cookie, if you prefer them crisper, just keep them in the oven a wee bit longer, till they are uniformly coloured.
- Once they are cool, transfer them into two separate airtight containers. Keep one lot at home, and take the rest to your colleagues, or to someone you love (not mutually exclusive).
- Milk & Cookies Parfaits (or Trifle) (thesmartcookiecook.com)