My new cookie go-to recipe, plus walnut & ginger cookies
Every foodie that actually cooks and bakes has a repertoire of go-to recipes that become benchmarks that all subsequent recipes are inevitably compared to. This cookie recipe, adapted by 5 and Spice from Bouchon Bakery*, is now one of those benchmarks. From this point on, I’ll be forever comparing any cookie I eat to the cookie recipe to rule them all. Until now, I’ve made plenty of cookies that I’ve absolutely adored, but none so toe-curlingly magnificent, versatile and simple to make as these. That doesn’t mean I’ll never make my favourite wholewheat chocolate chip cookies, my favourite nutella cookies, or those oatmeal cookies I fell in love with last weekend. But when I want to make something new, this will likely form the new base.
So why the fanfare? There are plenty of cookie recipes that purport to be crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle, but these are crucially denser, which gives them a much more satisfying, almost fudgy centre (while still being soft but not doughy). That’s thanks to the very small amount of baking soda used, which can’t be tasted at all. Since they’re not as porous, one cookie is so filling and satisfying that you’ll surprise your friends and family with the surplus. My only gripe is that, like most otherwise-otherworldly cookies, the difference between same-day cookies and next-day cookies is stark. They lose their crispy-crunchy edges and do dry out a little, but are still pretty damn delicious.
To give them a rich, moreish caramel/malt flavour, a little extra molasses is used (or sub greater % of brown sugar). I upped this even more by replacing the salt with miso paste (sounds crazy, but it was a revelation I got from MillieMirepoix…have been sneaking it into cookies ever since!). I also added some bashed walnuts & ground ginger because I’m seemingly incapable of keeping things too simple when it comes to cookies, but feel free to take these in your own preferred direction, keeping in mind they are quite rich.
*I’ve read that the original recipe from Bouchon Bakery is pretty complicated, but I adapted it further below for the lazy baker – using one bowl, one fork and some spoons. I acknowledge that this probably compromises the original recipe somewhat, but I also know that not everyone has a mixer, and hey, why should they miss out on still-amazing cookies? That said the glowing reviews of Bouchon Bakery are incredibly appealing – it’s always so nice to know the whys and hows of professional baking – you save so much time and frustration, plus it empowers you to cook creatively.
One-bowl crispy-chewy cookies
makes about sixteen 8cm-wide cookies
- 167g unsalted butter (or omit salt if using salted butter), warm enough that it’s basically as easy as mixing stiff whipped cream
- 1/2 tsp – 1tsp salt, or 1 tsp white miso paste
- 135g brown sugar
- 2 tsp molasses (I just eyeballed this)
- 104g white sugar
- 1 large egg (size 7-8)
- 238g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- optional: 1c chopped nuts (I used walnuts, and would probably use more next time), dark chocolate or other adornments. I also added about 1 tsp ground ginger for extra warmth
With a fork or beaters, beat first five ingredients (plus any spices you’re using) together until uniform, then beat in the egg. It may look a little coagulated, but as long as it’s uniformly coagulated, you’re all good. Sift over the flour and baking soda, and fold through until there are only a few spots of flour left. Fold through any chopped nuts/chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least half an hour, cover if leaving for more than 2 days, freeze if leaving for longer than that. Preheat oven to 160C/325F, arranging a rack in the top third part of your oven. Grease a baking tray or line with baking paper/reusable baking sheet, and using spoons, place heaping tablespoon-size blobs of cookie dough 5cm/2″ apart on the prepped trays (don’t try and use your hands, as the dough is very sticky and fairly wet). Bake about 10-12 minutes, until the edges are darker than the centre and the tops are no longer wet-looking.
Let cool on trays for a few minutes before removing to a rack to fully cool and crispen up on the bottom. Enjoy with your favourite milk, or just on their own.