While I am not a great baker, in my view there are certain essential recipes that everyone needs in their portfolio. A good recipe for muffins and cupcakes, one for brownies, one for cookies and one for sourdough bread. I can promise that, if you’ve never tried making your own cookies, once you do you will become addicted. They are really easy to make and if you don’t want the temptation of a large batch lying around ready to eat, you can freeze some of the dough or store it in the fridge for a few days till you are ready for more.
My basic cookie recipe is adapted from one by Donal Skelhan on the BBC website. His is a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is intended to make very large cookies – the sort where one would be more than enough. I use smaller quantities of ingredients and make smaller cookie rolls – for smaller cookies. With around half the ingredients he uses, I still get 18 cookies. I generally divide my dough into halves or thirds and make no more than eight cookies at a time.
Once you’ve found a cookie recipe that you like, it’s very easy to mix it up and make different flavours. I love ginger in all forms and use the basic recipe for these ginger chocolate chip cookies with Opies stem ginger. I’ve also made double chocolate cookies, ginger and lemon cookies and even just plain butter cookies. The basic cookie dough is really easy to work with.
Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 150 g unsalted butter softened
- 150 g soft light brown sugar you can use all caster sugar for a lighter biscuit
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 240 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50 g Opies stem ginger chopped into small pieces
- 100 g good quality chocolate chips
- 1 pinch salt
- Put the sugars and the softened butter into the largest mixing bowl you have
- Cream together, either with a wooden spoon or (preferably) with an electric whisk till you have a smooth mixture that has lightened a little in colour.
- Add the egg and mix well with the electric whisk
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture
- Using a spatula or metal spoon, fold the mixture together till you have a cohesive dough
- Stir through the chocolate chips and chopped ginger
- Cut out two large pieces of cling film
- Divide the dough roughly in half and put a piece of dough on each sheet of cling film
- Spread them out into a rough log shape with your hands or with a spoon
- Use the clingfilm to roll up into sausages, making sure there's an inch or so of film at each end of each sausage to seal up the rolls
- Put the sausages in the fridge and chill until firm - around an hour minimum
- Set the oven to 175c and line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicon film
- Take one sausage out and slice off around 1/2cm (1/4 inch) rounds. You only need to cut the number of cookies you want to bake. You can store any remaining dough in the fridge in clingfilm or freeze it
- Bake the cookies in the oven for 10-15 minutes till they are a golden brown at the edge.
- Take the tray out of the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack
- Eat while warm or allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight tin
- For chocolate chip cookies, use 150g chocolate chips and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Add the vanilla with the egg.
- For double chocolate chip cookies, proceed as for chocolate chip cookies but replace 50g of flour with cocoa powder
- For plain cookies, just add a teaspoon of vanilla essence with the egg.
- For ginger cookies, add a teaspoon of ground ginger to the flour and use up to 100g of stem ginger.
What now? Do try these deliciously morish ginger chocolate chip cookies that you can make in advance and freeze for when you have a cookie craving!