Thursday 18 April 2013

(Nearly-)Whatever-You-Want Chocolate Cookies

Spring seems to have finally, finally sprung.

I'm having to adjust to taking pictures with sunlight streaming into my kitchen instead of the beautiful muted light we've had all winter. I went out yesterday without a coat or thick scarf or boots or socks. The woollen throw has been tossed off my bed. The violets are flowering in every nook and cranny of my little garden and the buds on my apple tree are bursting open.

To celebrate, I've made cookies.

About ten years ago, mum bought a simple, magazine-style cookbook from the Australian Women's Weekly series. She spent a year working in Melbourne before I was born and I think she came across the series at that point. We've only ever made one recipe from the book: the chocolate cookies. They've evolved over the years but they're still essentially the same - thick, crispy-on-the-edges, squidgy-middled and wonderfully deep with muscavado and plenty of cocoa powder.

I've made them to say thank you. I've made them for picnics. I've made over a hundred for a catering job. I've made them when friends have come to stay. Mostly, I've made them when I really wanted a chocolate cookie.

Since I first posted about them in 2009 (they were the eighth recipe I posted on here), they've got a little lost in the archives. I wanted to talk about them again, so I thought I'd see what else you could fold through the dough. I usually use pecans with whatever other chocolate I have on hand - usually dark. So I could try a few different things, I split one batch of dough into three: Crystallized Ginger & Dark Chocolate, Double Chocolate & Walnut and Freeze Dried Raspberry & White Chocolate.

I used:
80g dark chocolate
25g crystallized ginger pieces

40g dark chocolate
30g milk chocolate
45g toasted walnuts

100g white chocolate
7g crushed freeze dried raspberries

I haven't tried baking freeze dried raspberries into anything before and sadly it didn't work here - any bits on the outside burned and I wasn't happy with the flavour (so the recipe went from whatever-you-want to nearly-whatever-you-want). Despite that, the ginger variation was great (though I might add a little more ginger next time - I was nervous as this packet seems extremely fiery) and I'm always a massive fan of the nut-chocolate combination.

What combination would you try?

(Nearly-)Whatever-You-Want Chocolate Cookies
(adapted from an Australian Women's Weekly book - I'm not sure which as I can't find the book)

125g unsalted butter
200g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
185g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Mix in:
350g of assorted chocolate, nuts etc

Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Put the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and briefly beat to soften it up. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate, baking powder and salt and mix on the lowest setting to combine. Stir through the mix-ins. Use a couple of teaspoons to create smallish heaps of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet. Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes (12 if from frozen). Leave to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack.

The dough can be chilled for about 24 hours and frozen for a few months. I freeze formed ready-to-bake cookies on a tray then transfer them to a zippy bag. You can then bake them straight from the freezer whenever you want fresh cookies.

(Makes about 25-27 small cookies)

Three more posts about cookies/biscuits:
2012: Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
2011: Sesame Wafers
2010: Peanut Butter Biscuits


  1. I would try ginger and dark chocolate! I think I'm going to make a vanilla ice cream and add the cookies!

  2. These look great! I make a variation with a similar recipe, using white hot chocolate powder (available at Whittards), lemon, white chocolate and poppy seeds...if I don't just go straight for triple chocolate :)

    By the way, where do you buy your freeze-dried raspberries?

  3. PickupZtiramisu19 April 2013 at 03:20

    Its not an original combo... but mint and dark chocolate would be nice especially if having for dessert :-)

  4. I could really go for some of these right about now.

  5. I've been thinking about reposting some recipes from the archives to give them a new lease of life. I'm SO glad you posted these - they look amazing!

  6. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:22

    They are! What type do you like the look of most?

  7. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:22

    Oooh ice cream! Such a good idea.

  8. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:24

    That sounds amazing, I love the idea of using white chocolate powder. I bought mine online from here - website looks a bit old fashioned but they're cheaper than anywhere else I could find and the quality seems good.

  9. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:25

    Mint! Hadn't thought of that. Would you just add chunks of minty chocolate?

  10. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:25

    Glad you like them!

  11. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:27

    Wow! That's awesome, I'm so glad you've told us about all your experiments. They're perfect presents :)

  12. poiresauchocolat19 April 2013 at 08:28

    Thanks! I have changed a few things over the years, so it seemed like a good idea (temperature and salt among other things and the recipe was messy and a bit confusing).

  13. I remember this recipe. I think it was originally published in the 70's biscuit and cookie edition of the AWW cookbook series. None the less it is classic, I love to add dried cherry puree, coconut and dark cocoa nibs to mine. Wonderful pictures

  14. I think everyone needs a perfectly chocolatey cookie recipe that can take anything (almost) that you can throw at it. I'm currently a little obsessed with the chocolate/coffee combination so I think I would go down that route but you can't go wrong with chocolate/ginger either.

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  28. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen19 April 2013 at 18:43

    A very chocolatey cookie that is open to additions is a must-have recipe. I love the idea of ginger, and dried raspberries sound amazing too!

  29. Delicious cookies! I just made them and have already eaten way too many. I had a bit of trouble with the recipe (which could have been my mistake with the measurements), as it was very dry, almost powdery. I happened to have an egg white in the fridge and threw that in, hoping it would help. Seems to have done the trick and they turned out very nice. Anyone else have this problem?

    I love your blog, by the way. I made your pear and chocolate cake to celebrate my son's birthday (he is away at university, so I sent him photos of the cake) and it was a big hit. Thank you!

  30. 感谢分享! 44

  31. Very confused - I've made this so many times and the mixture is always uniform and doesn't border on dry - could it be a measuring problem? I can't imagine what else it could be - unless your egg was tiny? I always use large eggs. Glad you still enjoyed them & liked the pear/choc loaf too :)

  32. Where do you get your freeze-dried raspberries from? I really want to get some!

  33. These all sound so good! White chocolate and raspberry is my all time favourite flavour combination, so I think I would have to go for those!

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  37. I'm glad your mum picked up a classic Australian Womens Weekly cookbook when she was in Melbourne, they are the recipes every Aussie kid grew up on and have used as a springboard for their own baking. I'm always partial to ginger baked goods and think the dark chocolate & crystallized ginger sound pretty perfect.

  38. I too remember the Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks from my Aussie mother. Thank you for giving them an airing here. So often we discount old cookbook offerings. Beautiful photos as always.

  39. Genevieve Martin22 April 2013 at 23:05

    Made these with the ginger and chocolate, added a little more ginger as you suggested and they were wonderful. (Just a note though - at the end of the ingredients list you said 350g chocolate, nuts etc, is this a typo? The combinations you suggest are only 105g total)

    As for CamCam's comment, the mixture did seem a little dry at first when the flour was added but came together after a couple of minutes with the electric beaters, perhaps you just needed a little more time :)

  40. I picked up some espresso powder when were in the US recently which would probably work nicely and then maybe some cocoa nibs to add that little bitter crunch?

  41. poiresauchocolat23 April 2013 at 12:57

    I got them here - it looks a bit dodge but they're tasty and cheaper than elsewhere.

  42. poiresauchocolat23 April 2013 at 12:57

    I'm glad you like them. I think I should have put that the raspberries didn't really work further up - it makes me sad how many people would want to eat them ;(

  43. poiresauchocolat23 April 2013 at 12:58

    I love recipes that become part of the fabric like that - a bit like some Delia recipes here. The ginger is definitely a good choice.

  44. poiresauchocolat23 April 2013 at 13:00

    I love old cookbooks - when you get past the photography (or lack of it) and the inconsistencies in measurement and so on they're just as good.

  45. poiresauchocolat23 April 2013 at 13:04

    Ah, maybe I should have made it clearer - I put those amounts up above because I split one batch of dough into three then added those smaller amounts to try different ideas out. The 350g is correct for the whole batch of the recipe. The 350g is normally for nuts and things which can take the full weight, whereas for instance the raspberries barely weigh anything, hence that the total of the smaller additions doesn't make 350. Does that make sense?

    Glad you liked them anyway - and you're right, the mixture does take a moment to combine.

  46. poiresauchocolat23 April 2013 at 13:06

    Ah yes - I have some espresso powder I love using. Cocoa nibs sound good. Perhaps some of those chocolate covered coffee beans too? Though they might be a bit crunchy.

  47. It is a stir in. You make paste from soaking and then blending dried sour cherries. I guess most AWW republish good recipes all the time, that's what makes them so good

  48. I love the idea of splitting one batch of dough and flavouring each portion differently! and I love your flavour combinations!

  49. When I spotted freeze-dried raspberries in Whole Foods a while ago I giddily picked up a bag, despite the hefty price tag. I thought they would be perfect for baking into cookies, flavouring truffles etc. But I agree with you, they are a somewhat tricky ingredient - the consistency is funny and they have an odd aftertaste. I loved them in some truffles but have held off from baking with them so far (and your post makes me think I was right in doing so!). I am hoping they will be good for flavouring meringues and such like, otherwise I see a lot of raspberry truffles in my future! At least you can never go wrong with chocolate cookies!

  50. Can I ask how these compare with Ben's Cookies (in Oxford and elsewhere...) I've been searching for a suitable home-made approximation of these for years, since I no longer live in Oxford or anywhere else where they have a stand - boo hoo.

  51. Oh I see! The confusion is mine then, thanks for clearing it up :)
    (And I will have to retract my comment about the extra ginger as in that case I used much less than you, only 40g for the whole recipe)
    Really want to make these again with pecans and dark chocolate, will up the amounts this time. Thanks for a great recipe!

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