Around this time of year, my thoughts turn to chocolate. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding eating too much of it, but when the weather is damp and it gets dark in the early afternoon, all I seem to want to do is consume copious amounts of dark chocolate (along with copious amounts of red wine). Eating with the seasons, you might say.I’d bought some ludicrously expensive chocolate, some sugar and butter to use for a work related photo shoot, so the obvious next step seemed to be baking. I had a distracting craving for chocolate cookies, so voila.
This was my attempt to follow a recipe, which I’ve had to accept is something I’m not very good at. I’m not a naturally defiant person, but there’s something about a precise list of ingredients and a specific method that makes me want to veer rebelliously off course. So, this recipe was originally for chocolate chip cookies, which I decided wasn’t going to be chocolatey enough to satiate my craving, so added cocoa powder. I also threw in some fig jam, a random addition mostly due to the fact that it had been lurking in my cupboard for weeks.
Lo and behold, the cookies came out fine, reaffirming my belief that recipes are, in my eyes, for guideline purposes only. The first batch of cookies bled together when they baked, forming one large gooey sheet. Leave about 4cm of space around each one and you’ll be fine (unless making one large cookie the size of a baking tray is the aim). They cookies will look endearingly misshapen (mine certainly did), but thanks to the trend of ‘rustic’ baking, let’s not worry.
Makes about 20 cookies (roughly 6cm diameter)
1/2 tsp salt
150g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg yolk
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 tbsp fig jam
Line 3 baking trays with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170C. Cream the softened butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla, salt and cocoa powder, then the egg and egg yolk. Sift in the flour. Stir in the chocolate chunks and fig jam. Dot dessert-spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets, leaving about 4cm of space round each one. Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are starting to firm up. Leave to cool on the baking trays.