In the run-up to Christmas this year with the Explorers, we made cookie dough which we baked for our Christmas Party. It’s a recipe that I’ve been using for a few years and my kids and I love to make a batch on Christmas Eve as our own little family tradition. I think the recipe came from a TV show on the BBC I watched but honestly, I can’t remember now. In any case, I thought that I would share the recipe so that if you are looking for something to bake at home to enjoy over Christmas, you can try them out.
- 350g of plain flour, unsifted
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 225g of unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 350g (or more) of your favourite chocolate
If you want the cookies to be a bit darker in colour with a richer taste, you can swap out the soft light brown sugar for a darker sugar. What chocolate you use is entirely up to you but I personally like chocolate M&Ms.
Getting the chocolate ready before you start I find works best but if you are doing this as a family, one person can do this while another is getting the rest of the mixture sorted. I like to use chocolate M&Ms but any chocolate will work. Whatever you use, it needs to be crushed up. How much you crush the chocolate is the key to this recipe.
If you want the cookies to come out with a darker brown colour without too many big chunks, crush it lots and go for a chocolate powder consistency. If you prefer to have bigger chunks of chocolate then crush sparingly and avoid turning it into chocolate dust. Personally, I find it quite satisfying albeit time-consuming, to use a pestle and mortar to individually crush the M&Ms: they tend to break up into five or six pieces giving you bursts of colour and good sized chunks.
In a large mixing bowl, add the caster sugar, the soft light brown sugar, and the butter. Churn it all together and it will turn to a light brown creamy mixture. I find this much easier if the butter is soft and I also cut the butter into small cubes before mixing so that you can blend it in more easily.
Next, add the flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda to the butter mixture. Mix it all together and then add the vanilla extract and the eggs. At the same time, add the crushed up chocolate chunks. Now you have a choice. You can either use a spoon and stay clean or, if you are feeling mucky, you can get in there with your hands and mix it all together: guess which method the kids like!
Once you’ve blended it all together and are happy, split the mixture in two. With each half, roll it into a sausage shape about 10 to 12 inches long and tightly wrap it in cling-film. Once wrapped, pop the rolls into the fridge overnight. I’ve also frozen batches in the past and thawed them out the day before I want to cook them.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to about 180 degrees. Using a bread knife or another sharp blade, cut the dough into slices. The thicker the slices, the more the cookies will spread as they cook. I aim for about 1.5cm each. Pop the slices on a baking tray and cook them for around 10 minutes.
10 minutes cooking time should give you a slightly crispy outside but a soft inside. If you want them softer, cut down the cooking time to 8 or 9 minutes. If you want them crispy all the way through then increase the time to 11 or 12 minutes. My oven isn’t perfect so times may vary. I also have to turn the tray halfway through to make sure they all cook evenly. Just remember to space them out on the baking tray so that they don’t join to make one giant super-cookie while cooking.