Monday, August 5, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The only job I could find after graduation was as a cook in a nursery, I was there for a little under a year and learnt more than I ever expected to about chicken nuggets and fish fingers, but there was also room for something more like real cooking and I got to bake a lot of birthday cakes and biscuits. It's also where  first became really interested in food politics. I worked there for most of 1997 and as would have been the case in all the homes of the 80 or so children a day we cooked for meals were a mix of things made from scratch and those good old standbys like the chicken nuggets. When we cooked from scratch we weren't allowed to add any salt at all at any point to the food (something which has done me good in terms of my own salt consumption) but the chicken nuggets and turkey bites were stuffed with salt - it didn't make much sense then and makes less sense to me now. It was also where I really learnt about the economics of scale and how poor quality some of the things we used were.

My favorite biscuits were these chocolate chip cookies (I wonder what the difference between a biscuit and a cookie is? I think of these as very definitely cookies) which I haven't made in years. Back in nursery days the baking fat was a particularly nasty margarine (with pockets of oil and water in it - there was a slightly superior version for spreading but it was still pretty foul) and the cooking 'chocolate' was that odd stuff that isn't really chocolate. Because of the margarine the biscuits spread like mad on the baking tray, the 'chocolate' chips tasted slightly greasy, and the cookies always went really soft and broke apart very quickly but me and the kids were all fans and I always made extra so I could take some home.

Made with proper butter and proper chocolate chips however (not, I find, the same as chipped up chocolate) these are really really good (I'm wondering about adding a few oats or some chopped nuts another time). Squidgy in a good way and no longer prone to ripping apart they're just really pleasing and simple, they are also egg free which is great as I have a friend with an allergy. I bought a huge tub of chocolate chips in a foray to costco so can make loads of them (there you have the economics of scale again - small manageable packets of chocolate chips are prohibitively expensive, buy a kilo of the things and they cost a fraction of the price - you just have to hope they don't all melt together in their bucket on a hot day... I am very keen to find things to do with them mow I have them - other than eat them straight from the bucket of course)

I think this recipe originally came from an old Be-Ro flour book or something similar, I used to make it in industrial quantities but this amount is sensible - you get about a dozen digestive sized biscuits from it.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5/180 degrees C. Beat 4 ounces of butter with 2 tablespoons of golden syrup and 3 ounces of soft brown sugar until light and fluffy, add 6 ounces of self raising flour and up to 2 teaspoons of milk if the mixture is very stiff. Throw in 4 ounces of chocolate chips and mix those in too. form into roughly circular dollops and put on a baking tray (probably with grease proof paper on it) and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, allow to cool thoroughly before eating or you get melted chocolate everywhere. They keep well for a few days in something reasonably air tight and have improved both my post gardening Sunday evening and Monday back at work. 


  1. Those are some fancy cookies - Biscuits here are used for strawberry shortcake:)

    1. They went quickly! I think of biscuits as being crunchier and these are definitely on the softer side. I want one now...

  2. They sound wonderfully moreish! 'Biscuits' in Oz - though one sees 'cookies' creeping in to the vocab.

  3. they are terribly moreish and I don't have much self control, better I don't make any more for a while!

  4. If there is a national cookie of the United States, it would be the Chocolate Chip Cookie. IMHO, it is the best cookie ever invented. My husband John makes the the best version ever. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are also good. You can even stir in dried cherries or cranberries. I don't like nuts in mine though.

    You should visit DC. We can have our own little Bake Off.

  5. Thomas, please send me a genuine American chocolate chip cookie recipe!