I remember when American-style cookies were quite a small player in the UK biscuit market. I also remember the vast majority of them being quite crunchy, and a lot smaller than most you get today. More like the British biscuits. Or, they’d be mostly crunchy, with a lovely, surprising bit of chewiness in the middle. An unexpected bit of indulgence, like you’d eaten it too soon from the oven.
One of my earliest childhood foody memories is visiting my grandmother (who had spent time as a 1950s American housewife) and tucking into her walnut and chocolate chip cookies. They weren’t like anything else I’d tried at the time.
Now, the big, blousy, entirely soft and chewy cookie is king, and they are ubiquitous in supermarkets and coffee shops. It’s actually much harder to find crunchy cookies. Burton’s Maryland Cookies are the only ones that spring to mind.
Of course, the Hummingbird Bakery in London has American baking as its raison d’être, so it’s no surprise that these chocolate chip cookies from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook are large, soft and chewy. Very tasty they are too, although I think I’d prefer a little more crunch, at least round the edges. The hardest part of this recipe is not eating all the cookie dough before you bake it. I now understand the parts of those American films and sitcoms where characters compulsively eat cookie dough from the packet.
Ingredients (makes 24):
The original recipe uses metric units; conversions are approximate
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the chocolate chunks and chill the cookie dough in the fridge. Try not to eat it.
Spoon balls of the cookie dough onto prepared baking trays. Bake at 170 C (325 F, Gas Mark 3) for 10 minutes or until golden brown.