This may seem like nothing out of the ordinary, but I’ve returned from Barcelona with a new food addiction – not paellas, tapas, or food that can even be considered authentically Spanish. No, folks, I confess that I’ve fallen for cookies, and not just any kind – the chewy, chunky, crisp-at-the-edges, yet gorgeously soft-in-the-centre kind.
And I know exactly what started it all. It was one, just the one – no more, no less – amazingly soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie, at a Starbucks Coffee outlet in the famed, old Gothic Quarter of Barcelona’s city centre.
I don’t patronise Starbucks all that frequently at home, opting instead for my preferred cup of locally brewed kopi-c, but I do enjoy the ocassional caramel machiatto (my absolute favourite), latte or cappuccino. So there I was, sipping on a comforting, frothy, milky cuppa and soaking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful city, and biting into what I deemed at the time, was a decidedly good option for a quick, convenient, and light pick-me-up treat.
I have to admit that when paying at the Starbucks counter, I was thinking “this cookie had better be worth the 2.80 euros (SGD 4.50) I’m about to fork out…”, and regretfully wondering if I should have just walked a little further to find a local Spanish cafe to indulge in typical Spanish tea. But I had been walking for goodness knows how long or how far without stopping, and my body was starting to do a little circus act on its own from the waist down, so yes, I felt a desperate need to sit and feed myself some much needed sugar to re-energise.
But I was not disappointed! Warmed up, this cookie was absolutely delicious – it was just crisp at the edges, giving way to a soft, chewy centre, where biscuit dough met molten chocolate. Supremely sublime! And I would have had a second if not for the price tag (but as it turned out, I did have a second cookie with hubby a couple of days later at the very same Starbucks outlet!).
When I returned to Singapore, I went to a couple of Starbucks Coffee outlets here to get my cookie fix, but was surprised to find that the cookies here aren’t quite the same (maybe different suppliers for Starbucks outlets in Singapore?). The ones here were thicker, and not quite as soft and chewy. Well, I always say, if you can’t find it, just make (or bake) it!
So, it was just my luck that I found a really, really great recipe for these chewy, chunky, chocolate chip cookies! This recipe had rave reviews, and is rated 5-stars – the instructions are spot on and easy to follow, but most importantly, makes the most wonderful cookies!
The only changes I made were to replace shortening with (Planta) margarine, and I opted for semi-sweet dark chocolate (70% cocoa content), which I roughly chopped up, in place of chocolate chips. And for a little crunch, a handful of macadamia nuts was just perfect. However, I think using margarine in place of shortening makes for a softer dough, so the cookies tend to spread out and become thinner as they bake (it so happens that I like them this way), whereas if you want thick cookies, you might want to stick with the shortening (or replace with all butter). Seriously, I think this cookie dough would make an excellent base for any nut, oat or fruit cookie you might fancy, so don’t pass up on this! This is satisfaction, guaranteed!
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening (or margarine or butter)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 350 g chocolate chips (or chopped semi-sweet chocolate)
- 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 190 deg C (375 deg F). Line baking tray with baking sheet or greaseproof paper.
In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
In a mixer bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and shortening (or replace with margarine or all butter) at medium speed until light and creamy, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add sugar and vanilla extract, and beat at medium speed until well blended.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed to mix well, then increase to medium speed to blend until well incorporated.
Stir in chocolate chips (or chopped semi-sweet chocolate) and nuts.
Drop batter in 2-tablespoon portions, spacing about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
Bake in pre-heated oven until edges of cookies are brown, while an area about 1-inch (2-cm) wide in the centre, is still pale, about 9 to 10 minutes. If using 2 pans in the same oven, switch the trays (top to bottom, bottom to top) half-way through the baking time. Repeat until all batter is used up.
Let cookies cool on the pan (they will still be quite soft when just out of the oven), for about 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks with a spatula or pastry blade. Serve warm or cool. These cookies keep well in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.