Sunday, 9 December 2012

Mary Berry's Mega Choc Chip Cookies

Yesterday I decided to make some cookies to take with me to a Christmas party. My boyfriend's mum Jane is a fantastic baker - her signature chocolate cake, a devils food cake with chocolate fudge icing, is the best I've ever tasted (the recipe is from the fantastic Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes - I'll have to do a post about it some time soon!) - so I called her up to get a recommendation.

She suggested the mega choc chip cookies from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book:


175g (6oz) margarine
225g (8oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
350g (12oz) self-raising flour
100g (4oz) chocolate chips (I double this, and used 100g each of milk and white chocolate chunks)

I love my Joseph Joseph nesting bowls set :)

These really couldn't be any simpler to make: after measuring out your ingredients you just throw everything together in a bowl and mix it all up into a smooth cookie dough.

 Chocolate chunk time!

Grease a couple of baking trays (I only have one, so I made the cookies in two batches) and scoop blobs of the dough onto the trays, flattening slightly with the back of a spoon. Make sure they are quite widely spaced as the cookies will expand a lot when you bake them.

 Not spaced quite wide enough....

 Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 10-15 minutes, until golden-brown but still slightly soft, then place on a wire rack to cool (or dig in - it's up to you!).

 All done! Now you can lick out your bowl...

Jane's top tips for a perfect cookie:

  • Don't skimp on the sugar: it may seem like a lot, but it doesn't make the cookies overly sweet; it just gives them a lovely caramel chewiness at the edges
  • Make sure you flatten the blobs of dough: if you make the cookies too thick they will turn into short-bread 
  • Use chocolate chunks rather than chips, the bigger the better (Waitrose sell them in their baking section)
  • Use a dessert spoon to measure out your dough for perfect-sized cookies
  • For something a bit different, add chunks of fudge along with the chocolate chips
  • Even if you do have enough trays, it's a good idea to bake in a couple of batches: all ovens differ and it may take a bit of experimenting to find the right cooking time for the perfect chewy consistency
 And one from me:
  • Place the cookie dough in the fridge for a while before you spoon it onto the baking trays - this will make the dough a bit less sticky and easier to work with (my first batch kept sticking to the spoon when I tried to flatten them!)
  • Go crazy with the chocolate chips. The original recipe recommends only 100g - I used 200g, and to be honest, I think they could possibly even have done with a few more than this!
These are English-style cookies - soft with a slight toffee crispiness at the edges - rather than the chunkier American variety. As far as I can tell, the main difference lies in the type of sugar you use: most US versions seem to use a combination of brown and granulated sugar, whereas the caster sugar in Mary Berry's version produces cookies with a finer texture.

For extra brownie points, make your own gift box

Stored in an air tight container, they should keep* for a couple of days, and would make a lovely home-made Christmas gift - simply pop them into a glass jar and tie on a festive ribbon for an easy but thoughtful present. I took mine to the party in a decorated shoebox, and they disappeared pretty quickly!

*I didn't get the opportunity to test this with my batch!