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My obsession with cookies started with Sarah Kieffer’s first book The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog – her pan-banging becoming a regular occurrence in my household – and Thalio Ho’s beautiful pictures of glossy chocolate oozing from golden baked dough. I’d make them in times of weariness, for grab and go moments, for times when I required comfort and familiarity. But also when I was happy, and vibrant; when my heart wanted to share the goodness of these cookies with friends – like a virtual ‘hug’ from afar. They’re funny things cookies. They seem to know when you’re feeling meh, misshapen, knobbly and irregular but also come out the oven perfect round and flooded with dark rivers that sing YESSS we got this!

Walnut & spelt choc chip cookies

Personally I like my cookies with a beautiful crackle because it creates the perfect meander for melted dark chocolate to run through. These are fudgy and chewy in the middle, without being underbaked and have a gentle crisp outer edge for that perfect cookie crunch. They’re also amazing because they don’t require you to bring *anything* to room temperature prior to baking, meaning you can make them from start to finish in about 30 minutes.

I kept them classic, with a twist. If there ever was such a thing. Filled with amazingly rich pools of dark chocolate, the slightly bitter taste of walnuts, the nutty bold undertones of browned butter, sweet spelt and flecks of sea salt, they’re homely and comforting. Here, I’ve melted the butter down slow and low until it starts to turn a beautiful golden brown. Be patient with it, and it’ll bring you the most fantastic flavours.

Walnut & spelt choc chip cookies

These cookies are perfect in times of craving: for 4pm with tea, midnight snacks, middle-of-the-night bleary-eyed munching, and for bringing warmth to these surprisingly chilling British days. You can freeze the dough (wrapped in parchment and then in a sealable bag) for a few months and in moments of weakness and saccharine impulse, simply break off chunks to bake in a matter of minutes.

Walnut & spelt choc chip cookies

Walnut + spelt choc chip cookies

220g butter, browned
400g white spelt flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g light brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
2tsp vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
300g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
100g walnuts, roughly chopped {optional}

  1. Melt your butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. There should be no sizzling as you want as little of the moisture to be lost as possible. Stir regularly until all of the butter has melted and turned a beautiful golden brown.
    http://nowfoundation.org.uk/e-card/ N.B. Be patient as this may take 10-15 minutes but you don’t want to heat it too strongly otherwise it may burn.
  2. Sift your spelt flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Add the salt and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and add your sugars. Using an electric whisk, mix for a few minutes until everything relaxes. Leave to cool for a minute or two, then add your eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla bean paste.
  4. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix in the dry ingredients. I like to do this in thirds to combine evenly and because it’s slightly easier to form a dough.
  5. Make sure you have no white flecks of flour before adding 110g of your chopped chocolate and walnuts (we’ll be using the other 40g chocolate to press into the top of the cookies once they’ve been scooped).
  6. If your dough is still warm or has started to look glossy, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool down.
    http://canalsideconferencecentre.co.uk/?option=com_acym N.B. I like to leave my dough overnight in the fridge to allow for the flour to soak up some of the sugars and fats for a fuller flavour but you can bake these straight away. If you decide to refrigerate, bring the cookie dough out 30 minutes before you decide to bake them so the dough comes back to room temperature.
  7. Preheat your oven to 180C / 360F and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
  8. Using a cookie scoop, measure out balls of cookie dough (you can also use a tablespoon to measure out 50g of dough before shaping into balls) then place on your prepared baking sheet.
  9. Press the remaining 40g dark chocolate into the top of each cookies then sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt.
  10. Bake for 12-13 minutes until the cookies have spread out and the tops are slightly golden and cracked. Leave to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before removing to a rack to cool completely.