Monday, 15 November 2010

Gooey chocolate and almond cookies

Ah...cookies. My life-long weakness. Ever since I was a kid, I've lived on cookies, any kind of cookies. Apologies to the severely British, but I can not call them "biscuits". Biscuits in my severely sugar-damaged bread are something salty, not sweet. Like a cracker kind of thing. Sort of.

Anyway, back to cookies. I buy them. I eat them. Every day. Around 11:30 to 12:00, all my colleagues will testify it's cookie-munching time. If I miss them one day, I get grumpy. Can be any kind of cookies, but chocolate chip ones are a definite favourite. By "can be any kind of cookies" I mostly mean cookies with some form of chocolate in or around them. If I had to define the perfect one, would probably be the chocolate covered speculoos. Simply majestic. Anyways, needless to say, I also make them. I've tried many kinds, but never these ones, as I generally don't like chocolate too much (just a little bit) but these are just the right amount of gooeyness and cheweiness, they stay like this for quite a few days, and they're enough to share with friends (which all my friends will verify is NOT something I usually do with cookies. With cakes maybe. NOT with cookies).

In Greece the typical breakfast is a coffee and a cigarette, or - if you're not a smoker - a coffee and a cookie or a pastry of some kind. Seriously. When Greek people marvel at the fact that I can eat a full English/Mexican/Asian breakfast with cooked things in it, that are not sweet but salty, this is the reason why, because it's extremely atypical to find anything non-sweet in a Greek breakfast. On the other hand, the American "milk and cookies" at night thing, that we don't have. Cookies are for breakfast, or for elevenses, not for dinner or post-dinner. How weird we Greeks are...

Gooey chocolate and almond cookies
Source: Inspired by 17 and baking

Makes about 40 cookies

  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 150g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups icing sugar

Mix the almonds with the sugar. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave and set aside. Sift the flour together with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the butter with the brown sugar at high speed with an electric mixer until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until they are fully incorporated. Fold in the melted chocolate and add the milk and vanilla. Finally slowly add the flour mixture and mix until all is combined.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the icing sugar in a big bowl and scoop out little heaped tablespoonfuls of dough, roll them into a ball and coat them with the sugar. Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, leaving at least 5cm breathing space between each cookie ball. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until they are cracked but not completely firm. Cool them on wire racks.
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