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I’m not a big baker. While I do like to create the odd elaborate bake or twist on an old classic, at home the things I make tend to be the old steady favourites that I know everyone will love, that always come out perfectly, which work well for both a snack or for pudding, and which pack up well to go along with J’s packed lunches so I don’t have to keep adding Kit Kat Chunkies to the Ocado delivery. Things like Mummy’s Banana Bread, my Super Simple 3-Step Chocolate Brownies or my Easy Rosewater Biscuits.
Something I’ve been making on repeat recently because they tick all of the above boxes are inspired by the Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares from Californian mega-blogger Gaby Dalkin’s book What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food (ad), but basically re-written because American portion sizes are huge, and American ingredients baking ingredients don’t actually translate to British ones in following certain recipes where texture matters than you think.
They’re basically the crispest, gooey-est chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever had in easily sliceable bar form. They work better for packed lunches because their shape means they don’t crumble as much once wrapped in kitchen wrap and stuffed into whatever, and because you’re slicing the bars rather than measuring out cookies you have much better control over the portion size (e.g. I cut them to make 12 cookie squares, but you can cut them bigger or smaller!) without needed to mess with cooking times.
If you own a copy of the book (and if you do, please let me know what else is good because I’ve actually not yet explored it much past this amazing recipe, though the Winter Cobb with Kale, Bacon & Pomegranate, the Stone Fruit Salad with Burrata & Lemon-Champagne Vinaigrette and the Charred Octopus Tacos all sound amazing) you’ll notice that my cookie squares look a little different, less sexy almost. You see, the thing is that I’ve made many, many batches of these cookie squares and while scattering a few reserved chocolate disks over the top to actually show the chocolate chips inside the cookie squares before baking works well with American ingredients, here in the UK if you do that you’ll get pretty hit and miss results. As I mentioned, I’m not a big baker, so with a few exceptions (President Unsalted Butter, Neiman-Massey Vanilla Extract) I don’t really have go-to ingredients ands brands for my baking. As a result, I’ve made these with loads of different types, shapes and brands of chocolate chips, and while they came out beautifully the first time I made them with some super fancy Ghirardelli giant chocolate chips I was given at a press day, since I’ve had a few batches where the chocolate chips have sunk and over caramelised, which just doesn’t taste that good. So, I fold all 100g of chocolate chips into the batter.
These American-style chocolate chip cookie squares are like the softest, gooey-est chocolate chip cookie with a nice crisp exterior, happily cut into squares for easy portability. Adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food (ad).
110g (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
220g (1 cup) soft light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
125g (1 cup) plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch bicarbonate of (baking) soda
pinch sea salt
100g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees (350 fahrenheit). Grease a square brownie tin well with butter and line with baking parchment.
In a small saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and beat in the sugar and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and has formed ribbons.
Making sure the mixture is cool to the touch so that you don’t cook it (!) add the egg and beat well until combined.
Fold in the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and plain flour until just combined. Follow with a pinch of sea salt and the chocolate chips.
Scrape the cookie batter into the prepare tin. Smooth the mixture into the corners and level the top with a spatula before baking in the oven for 30 minutes. The mixture should be just set and crisp and golden on top. Leave to cool in the tin completely – this should take around 2 hours.
Turn the cookie slab out of the tin onto a cutting board before removing the baking parchment and cutting into squares. Store in an air tight tin for up to a week.
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