a blog by Gemma Thomas.
It’s probably been about 25 years since I baked my first biscuit, and I still don’t think I have really got the hang of it. I used to make them with my Nan during the school holidays, when I would spend most days at her house. Some of my earliest memories are being stood on a chair at her kitchen worktop, covered in flour, with an apron fashioned from the tea towel we brought her back from a holiday in Mallorca, rolling out biscuit dough. Back then, I had her to supervise and they always turned out well, now I am on my own, not so much.
I’m not really sure what it is that goes wrong, just that I can never turn out decent-looking biscuits. My cookies always spread into mishapen blobs, crispy around the edges and all raw dough in the middle; my shortbread is too crumbly; and don’t even get me started on my macarons. When it comes to tea time, I often stick to cake; or go out and buy biscuits. It’s usually the safest option.
I must have, therefore, taken leave of my senses when I decided to bake biscuits for some friends who were hosting us for Sunday lunch a while back. Knowing what good cooks they are, I wanted to give them a gift to impress them. Also, they have young children, the harshest of critics. There was a moment, when I started weighing out the ingredients when I started to think “given your track record of biscuit-making, is this really a good idea?”
Well, as you can tell from the picture: they worked (phew!)
I cut this recipe out of an old copy of Good Housekeeping some years ago and found it when I was clearing out my desk recently. It is a very basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, with the addition of some oats to give it an additional, wholesome textural element. There are very few processes for making them; I did all of it in my KitchenAid food mixer, but you could also make them by hand using just a bowl and wooden spoon. The dough is not overly wet, so they do not spread and lose their shape in the oven, and they cook evenly throughout, being neither dry nor raw.
I want to say that these are great cookies to give to children, but fear the wrath of the healthy eating police, so will just make the claim that they are a great family cookie that do not exclude the children with ingredients that they would find unpalatable.
Most importantly, they are east to make – even for people who are crap at making biscuits.
Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g porridge oats
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
200g chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180ºc and lightly grease two baking sheets.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a freestanding mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and oats. Sift together the flour and the baking powder and fold through until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to a baking sheet and flatten gently with a fork. Leave enough space between them to allow for a little spreading. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until turning golden but still quite soft. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Adapted from a recipe cutting from Good Housekeeping. Makes about 15-20 cookies.