make wonderful American-style soft cookies
Cookies are wonderful, when they are perfectly under-baked in the middle. When they’re over-baked, you end up with a crisp biscuit, which is fine too, but nothing like as deeply soothing and satisfying as a soft, chewy, buttery cookie.
The main way I decide what to bake next is, more often than not, about something that needs eating up. I classify things as ‘needing eating up’ either because they’re taking up too much room in my kitchen cupboards or shelves or because I have suddenly realised that they are past their use-by date.
On this occasion, I had bought some nougat from Marks & Spencer, which was cheap as it was already at its sell-by date. When I tried it, I wasn’t blown away by a piece on its own so, as usual, I took to the internet in search of a recipe to use it up, and hopefully elevate it, at the same time.
I stumbled upon a recipe for Nougat cookies on ‘The Perfectionist’ website (http://www.theperfectionist.co.uk/2013/02/nougat-cookies.html) and the results were outstanding. I had more mothers and babies than our living room could cope with coming round that afternoon and these freshly-baked, buttery, chewy cookies went down a storm.
I was so impressed with the texture and the taste of the cookie itself that I have made them more times than I can count since but nougat has never made it back in.
I’ve tried many variations and here the recipe for my favourite: pecan & chocolate chips
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First, switch the oven on at 170°C and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
Combine the flour, bicarb, baking powder and pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Cream the butter, muscovado and caster sugar in an electric mixer or with handheld electric beaters for 5 minutes.
Mix the egg and vanilla into the butter and sugar mixture.
Next, fold in the dry ingredients gently.
Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
Use an ice cream scoop with a release to make mounds of cookie dough and space them well on baking sheets lined with baking paper.
Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just slightly darker than the middles.
Whip them out immediately and leave to cool before you try to pick one up or transfer them to a plate, or they’ll fall apart.