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Spiced double chocolate cookies

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Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 24-48 hours chilling Cook time: 12-14 minutes

Makes 14

I love to watch the recipients of these cookies rifling through their flavour memory bank, seeking to put a name to the layered spice flavours in their mouth. These’ll keep tickling your taste buds and have you coming back for more.

Inspired by lebkuchen, a festive German cookie, you don’t have to wait till Christmas to enjoy them.

The cookie dough keeps well in the fridge for a week, or you can freeze the dough balls and defrost slightly to soften before baking.

INGREDIENT­S

– 290g unsalted butter – 260g caster sugar – 260g light brown

sugar

– 190g strong white

bread flour

– 190g plain flour

– 140g cocoa powder – ½ tsp ground

cinnamon

– ¼ tsp each grated nutmeg, ground cardamom and ground white pepper – 1 tbsp bicarbonat­e

of soda

– 1 tsp baking powder – 40g full-fat milk – 250g dark chocolate,

roughly chopped

– ½ tsp flaky sea salt

METHOD

Place the butter and two sugars in a bowl or a stand mixer. Gently beat until the mix is well creamed but not airy (otherwise the cookies may collapse when baked).

Sieve the two flours, cocoa powder, all the spices, the bicarbonat­e of soda, baking powder and ½ tsp fine sea salt, then whisk together to combine. Add the dry mix to the butter mix in three additions, alternatin­g with the milk between each addition. Beat briefly to combine but don’t overmix. Add 200g of the roughly chopped dark chocolate (reserving the rest for later) and briefly mix to combine. Place in your fridge to mature for at least 24 hours but 48 is even better.

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

Place two baking sheets in the oven. Scoop the cookies to approx 100g each (14 in total) and briefly roll each one into a ball between your hands. Remove the sheets from the oven and carefully place the cookies on to the hot sheets, smooshing them down slightly as you push a few chunks of the remaining chocolate into the top of each one. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt and bake for 12-14 minutes, turning the sheets after 10 minutes. Cool on the tray.

Uncooked, these cookies will keep for up to a week in your fridge and freeze well once they’ve been shaped. You can also bake them directly from frozen, just add a couple of minutes to the bake time.

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