Don’t you just love that feeling when something you bake turns out right, and I mean really right, almost, dare I say it, perfect? I know I posted a few months back about searching for my favourite cookie recipe. And the one I found was pretty impressive. But last week I decided it was time for further research. First I turned to Nigella Lawson, who, in her little (who am I kidding, this is Nigella) in her extensive introduction to her chocolate chip cookie recipe, claims to have undertaken extensive research to come up with the recipe for the ‘perfect’ chocolate chip cookie. Well, Mrs Lawson, either your recipe failed me, (or I failed at it), or we have very different ideas regarding the ‘perfect’ cookie. These cookies just didn’t cut it for me. Warm from the oven they were almost verging towards cakey textured. Once they’d cooled down they were better, crisp outer, slightly soft biscuity inner, but not a great deal of chew. And I think, for me, I want that chew! I want that slightly undercooked doughy, chewy inner (warm and gooey when it’s still warm from the oven) and a crispy outer. Nigella’s outer was perhaps more of a crunch than a crisp.
And so, after my disappointment with Nigella’s recipe, I made it my mission to focus all my baking attention on cookies until I found a recipe I was happy with. I imagined several weeks of living off various batches of cookies. But my predictions turned out to be inaccurate. The perfect cookie recipe was far closer than I expected. First I turned to Gizzi Erskine with her white chocolate and ginger cookies. Hello! My attention always perks up at the word ginger. And I didn’t have to turn to any other recipes after that. As soon I bit into one of these cookies my inner-me did a kind of happy dance (you know that feeling right?) and I knew I had found it already. Perfect. Cookie. Recipe. Chewy inner, crispy outer and great taste. The sweetness was just right and reminded me of fudge, the vanilla was came through just enough without being too much (more about the vanilla in a bit) and the white chocolate and ginger combination…amazing! (Although my brain is currently fixated on the words dark chocolate and ginger…I foresee dark chocolate and ginger cookies very soon! But which will be the best, white or dark?) At least I know I don’t have to hunt around for and take a gamble on what cookie dough to use. I have my new favourite, the best I’ve found to date, right here. Even if Nigella disagrees…
White Chocolate and Ginger Cookies
(adapted from Gizzi Erskine’s Kitchen Magic)
Makes about 18
- 150g butter
- 150g light brown sugar
- 50g dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract (see below)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 225g plain flour
- 3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 150g white chocolate, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped stem ginger
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease two baking sheets.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and pale.
- And the egg and vanilla extract/paste and beat until combined.
- Add the flour, ground ginger and bicarb to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a firm dough.
- Fold in the chocolate and stem ginger.
- Form the dough into golf-ball sized balls and place on the baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for spreading.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies are just turning golden on the edges. They will still be very soft in the middle but will firm as they cool.
- Remove the trays from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Or eat them warm, of course.
A little note about Little Pod
One of my closet friends works for Little Pod Vanilla Company and I am now about to unashamedly rave about my tube of Little Pod vanilla paste, which is currently one of my favourite things to cook with. It’s so much better than the bottled stuff I used to use! It smells better, looks better (you can see all those weeny vanilla seeds), the packaging is silver and shiny, the logo is cute, the name is super cute and squeezy tubes are just far more fun than bottles of liquid! (I even got coloured paper pompoms in my vanilla paste package which now function as kitchen cupboard door knob decorations!) Little Pod also sell bottles of vanilla extract (not essence, which is a chemically produced flavouring, not the real, natural thing) and vanilla pods, but I’m currently having fun with my squeezy tube of paste. Go check out Little Pod’s website and have a look at their products, especially if you’re guilty of stocking vanilla essence rather than extract in your kitchen. Buy the real, responsibly sourced, beautifully packaged thing! There are some great recipes on the Little Pod blog too, although please don’t forget about me!