Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snip Snap Chocolate Biscuits

Hello dear readers! This is me. I am still here. And I have now returned from the underworld of PhD writing that had accosted me for a while. I do apologize for my absence and will make more effort to give you my full attention in the future. But what I'm really here to talk about is these amazing chocolate biscuits.


These are biscuits folks. Not cookies. They're thin and snappy, hence the name. They are not soft in the middle. And they are so full of chocolate it will make you weep. Yes, I said it. Weep. In short, they are the kind of biscuit to make when the world stresses you out and you want to curl into a small ball and weep. These biscuits give you license to do so.

These are adapted from Tea with Bea. You may remember, and here is the link if you don't, that I few months ago I visited Bea's of Bloomsbury in fabulous London town. The Princess and I went just after Thanksgiving and so I got the full works of Thanksgiving dinner followed by pumpkin pie. It was amazing. The book is amazing too. It full of the kind of cake, biscuits and slices that inspire you to actually get into the kitchen (as opposed to drooling uncontrollably on the pages but never taking any action). The cakes look particularly inspirational (watch this space for vanilla cake which I'm going to make next week...) but these cookies were on my mind last week and I eventually found time to make them on Tuesday afternoon. This was strategic because I had class on Wednesday and therefore had willing biscuit consumers at my beck and call. I love all things sweet but even I can't manage an entire batch of these biscuits. It took me most of the afternoon and evening to bake them but that is because I have the world's tiniest oven and on top of that, I ran out of baking paper so I was chilling the biscuits in the fridge, then baking them off and allowing them to cool before placing them on the bread board and then spooning more dollops onto the baking paper to chill and so on and so forth for hours. It won't take you that long because you will be organized and have multitudes of baking paper and more than one baking tray and space in both fridge and oven for at least two trays. I say this because that is what I fantasize about having. (It's the small things.)

I digress. I changed up the sugars in this recipe. I only had 60g of soft brown sugar to hand so I used that and more caster sugar than the original recipe calls for. I also only used 225g of dark chocolate, again because that is what was in the cupboard. Also, don't skimp on the chocolate quality here. Chocolate is the predominant taste in these biscuits and it needs to be good quality - between 62% and 70%. Just don't use 85% because that is for savoury cooking and will make your biscuits unbelievably bitter. The recipe suggests scooping the dough out with an ice-cream scoop but my ice-cream scoop is clearly more substantial and makes giant biscuits. I used two teaspoons and because of the way the dough melts down in the oven, this worked fine. Just make sure to leave enough space between dough lumps because these biscuits spread in a rather violent way. I did 8 to a round tray after my first attempt with 10 led to me pulling apart weird square biscuit shapes. This made loads of biscuits, about 30 at least.

Snip Snap Chocolate Biscuits
Adapted from Tea with Bea
180g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
60g soft brown sugar
220g caster sugar
1 egg
1 yolk
some vanilla extract
240g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarb
1 tbsp milk
225g dark chocolate 

In your darling standing mixer, or with an electric beater, beat the butter, salt and sugar until white and fluffy. If, like me, you have neither, beat the butter in a bowl using a spatula. Once the butter is malleable and soft, add in the sugars and salt. Beat as best you can until the mixture is slightly lightened. (Let's be honest, no one has time to beat butter by hand until it turns white. Just give it a good mixing.)


 Beat the egg and yolk together with some vanilla before adding to the butter mixture. Add in half the quantity of flour and mix before adding in the milk. Add in the rest of the flour as well as the bicarb and mix to form a dough. If doing this by hand at this stage it is in fact easier to use your hands. Finally chop the chocolate into pieces and add it to the dough.



 Preheat the oven to 180C. Using two teaspoons, drop lumps of the dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper, allowing space for spreading. Place this in the fridge for 20 minutes then pop them straight in the oven. Bake for about 11 minutes. I noticed that 12 minutes made the biscuits quite dark. You won't be able to do the thumb test so leave the biscuits to cool on the tray completely before storing or scoffing. Run your palate knife under the cookies to release them from the baking sheet.


 I found that the cookies tended to stick if I didn't do this first. Eat whilst warm or store in an airtight container for a week.

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