Friday, 20 August 2010

Chocolate and Cherry Cookies

I've been incapacitated with a flare up of arthritis in my knees for most of the week, and thought I was going to have to face the family with nothing in the cake tin and no opportunity to buy anything either.

However, by Thursday afternoon the medication was kicking in properly and I felt I could stand long enough to make a quick batch of cookies.

This recipe, oringinally for Blueberry Choc-Chip Cookies, is from Dan Lepard's most recent Guardian column, and seemed to fit the bill for something quick and easy. I had to make a few adaptations so that I could use store cupboard ingredients - I only had strong wholemeal bread flour, I used vanilla instead of almond extract and dried cherries instead of blueberries. The dough was quite dry and crumbly when first mixed, but held together well when formed into balls by hand. My usual cookie recipe is quite wet and difficult to handle, so I might make this my basic recipe from now on. I got 20 small cookies from one batch of dough.

Unfortunately I chose a chocolate from the storecupboard which melted during cooking, so some of the cookies didn't look very pretty after baking, with puddles of chocolate on top, or dribbles around the edges. However, once the cookies had cooled and the chocolate had hardened, they were just as nice to eat as the prettier ones! Lesson learned for the next time I want chocolate chunks though - Green and Blacks Plain Chocolate for Cooks is only for melting!

I used the maximum amount of chocolate suggested, which made these very rich. They were nicely chewy too. My only criticism is of my variation - I wish I'd taken the time to cut the cherries in half, as they were quite large, so not evenly distributed. There would have been no problem with smaller blueberries or cranberries. A cranberry and orange variety would probably work very well - dare I mention Christmas yet!


Foodycat said...

I certainly wouldn't reject a cookie just because it had chocolate dribbles on it! Sounds like a virtue really.

Lucie said...

They look lovely. Hope your knee is improving.

Brownieville Girl said...

Hope you are feeling better very soon :-}

Those cookies look really good.

Gillian said...

Oh dried cherries in cookies - yum. I rather like the rustic chocolate dribbles;

You are not the first one to mention Christmas recently ... market stall owners are already planning their packaging etc so you are well within you rights to plan ahead!

I hope you feel better soon Suelle.

C said...

I must try this recipe soon, it sounds really good! Have you got any particular recommendations for a dark chocolate that doesn't melt too much during cooking? I have to admit that I prefer to use chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips because I love proper dark, bitter chocolate. I tend to just put up with the puddles, because as you say, they taste just as good!

I hope your knees have settled down now and the pain has improved.

Joanna said...

I blame the weather - hope you feel better soon. Small chocolate poultices are very beneficial for bad knees, only to be taken internally of course :)

Suelle said...

Thanks for your good wishes everyone - knees are almost back to normal (which is nothing like perfect!). I'll remember the chocolate poultice trick next time, Joanna.;-)

C - I don't usually have melting problems using ordinary eating chocolate. The ones I use most often are Waitrose Continental Plain chocolate (quite economical in 2x200g packs) and the Tesco's own brand which has the very large writing on the front - 60% Madagascan and a 72% which I've forgotten the origin of - I think it just used to be labelled 'plain' but they rebranded recently.

The Green and Black's which melted was labelled 'chocolate for cooks' and stocked in the cooking section - it says on the pack that it has extra cocoa butter, so I guess that chocolates with low cocoa butter will be the ones not to melt.

As you say, it often doesn't matter anyway, as the chocolate dribbles are on the outside; inside, the texture of the cake often holds the chocolate in place if it melts. It's only bad if the cake batter absorbs the melted chocolate, leaving no hard bits when cooled.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Oh no, please don't mention Christmas yet! :)

Your cookies look lovely, and I hope you're on the mend soon. How did you find the strong flour in the cookies, Sue? Did they end up more chewy because of it?

Thanks, Celia

Suelle said...

Celia - hard to say whether the flour made any difference without a proper side by side testing with a batch made with ordinary flour. If it did make any difference it wasn't detrimental.