I had been intending this post to be about chocolate chip banana cake. Unfortunately the cake deflated during cooking, and whilst is tasted lovely (as LBB will happily testify) it really did look far too awful to find its way onto this blog. If you are a keen voyeur of truly awful cakes, however, let me point you in the direction of cake wrecks. Somehow, the fact that the bakers are doubtless oblivious to their awfulness makes it all the worse.
So, instead I made chocolate cookies to celebrate the belated birthday of one friend and the recent house purchase of another. Apparently moving house is one of life’s most stressful events, along with divorce and death (presumably for the people left behind in the case of the latter). Like childbirth I feel that the pain of moving house is something your body conveniently forgets to allow you to repeat the process. Also like childbirth, you probably don’t want to do it that many times in your life.
In order to ease the pain I can heartily recommend these cookies from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (“HBC”). Previous experience with HBC cookies had led me to the conclusion that the recipes produced approximately 50% more cookies than stated. This is not the case with these beauties; although they are incredibly rich (not to mention expensive to make), so you may want to go halves in any event.
Makes about 12 large cookies
Ingredients:50g unsalted butter, softened 450g dark chocolate, chopped 2 eggs 170g light soft brown sugar 85 plain flour ½ tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp salt ½ tsp baking powder
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3 and line two baking sheets with non-stick liner (or just use non-stick baking sheets – easier all round really). Heat the butter and half of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. When it has all dissolved, stir gently and set aside for a few minutes to cool.
Meanwhile, cream together the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract for about 3 minutes in a free-standing mixer, scraping down the sides and bottom if needs be. Pour in the melted chocolate/butter, continuing to beat the mixture in the bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add this to the bowl. Beat again until everything is thoroughly combined and then fold in the chocolate chips/chunks using a spatula.
Using a small spoon, scoop up little balls of cookie dough and place in a mound on the tray. Squish briefly to flatten a little. The cookies expand quite a lot so you’ll probably only get 6 per tray.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Resist the temptation to eat them all yourself. Up to three is totally fine. Maybe even four if you’ve had a bad day.