Saturday 23 March 2013
Chocolate Chip and Pecan Oat Cookies
According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word 'cookie' is simply the American word for what we in the UK call a biscuit. Yet to my mind, there is a distinct difference between a biscuit and a cookie, the former being flat and crisp, the latter softer and thicker. Nomenclature aside, I love these sweet, baked creations when they are slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy within, which is exactly what these biscuit/cookies are.
The story of the original Chocolate Chip Cookies is well-known in the US and came about, as so many famous culinary creations often do (Tarte Tatin, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce to name but two), by mistake. In the 1930s, baker Ruth Wakefield had gained local notoriety for the desserts she served at her hotel, the Toll House Inn. One day she was trying to make a favourite chocolate cookie recipe but found that she had run out of baking chocolate. She did however have a bar of Nestle dark (bittersweet) chocolate, which she cut into bits and incorporated into the dough. Wakefield expected the chocolate to melt while baking, but to her surprise the morsels kept their shape and added a new chocolate taste and texture to the cookies. As the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe became popular, sales of Nestle's dark chocolate bar increased. Andrew Nestle and Ruth Wakefield thus struck a deal. Nestle would print the Toll House Cookie recipe on its packaging and Ruth Wakefield would have a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.
My cookies here aren't the classic Nestle Toll House recipe, delicious though that is (you can find it here). I wanted slightly more texture so I've included oats in the recipe which give added chew while still retaining the crunchy exterior. I'm entering these cookies into this month's We Should Cocoa challenge started by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and Chele from Chocolate Teapot. This month the challenge, chosen and hosted by Lucy of The KitchenMaid, is Fame - a lovely original theme and I really look forward to seeing what other people have come up with.
130g unsalted butter, softened
85g soft brown sugar
90g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g plain flour
85g porridge oats
half a teaspoon baking powder
half a teaspoon salt
120g milk or dark chocolate, roughly chopped
80g pecans, roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment
Cream the butter and sugar (with an electric mixer ideally but you can do it by hand if you prefer) until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined.
Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and oats into a bowl and mix. Then add gradually to the butter, eggs and sugar. Beat to combine, then fold in the chopped nuts and chocolate.
Place a large sheet of cling film on your work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Then using the cling film to help you, roll it into a log-shape and put it in the fridge for about 30 mins to firm up.
Slice the log into thickish slices (about 1.5cm) and place the biscuits onto the prepared trays.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until just turning pale gold. Leave for a few minutes on the trays before removing to a wire rack to cool fully.