Monday, 21 June 2010


...It seems that maybe, just maybe, Britain might get some summer. For some reason it hasn't felt like there's been much summer here yet, despite the slightly depressing fact that it was apparently the solstice yesterday. Perhaps I missed it all being stuck in the office, whereas in previous years I have been blissfully at home and therefore able to appreciate each and every day when the sunshine peeks out and the temperature creeps above ten degrees Celsius.

I'm sure it was Molly who once mentioned that bloggers can have a habit of posting less during the warmer sunnier months. I think particularly for those of us who are less used to all this gorgeous weather, and who only get about three days of it a year (yes, I am indeed a jaded Brit), it is imperative to leave the computers behind and head out and frolic.

That's not quite what I've been doing. I would definitely be up for some frolicking in principle, however I have mostly spent the last week and a bit working. The shop I work in has been moving to a larger premises (hurrah!), but being a small business the shifting of boxes was done by us. There is part of me that relishes being back to physical work after months of being in a office. It reminds me of when I was working on the market and shifting palettes of bread every morning. It is a wonderfully satisfying way to spend a day.

But my muscles the following day were not amused, especially when I hauled them out of bed to do it all again!

However, despite the aches and pains and exhaustion that seem to be following me around, there is a huge plus to all this dashing around. You have full license to eat as much as you like! On the actual moving day, when myself and the lovely M shifted box after box and bag after bag from the van to the new shop, dodging pedestrians as we went, I probably ate my body weight in baked goods (and then we discovered the amazing local frozen yoghurt place! I LOVE our new location!), and that's not an insignificant amount. And yet, when I got home, I was still ravenous! Total result. I can once again bake my heart out and stuff my not-so delicate little face with cookies, cakes and tarts and totally justify it (did I mention that the new stock room is on the top floor...I've got a new love affair with all those stairs!)

With all this in mind I decided my co-workers and co-box-sifters might need a little sugar rush to keep the spirits lifted. On our first day open in the new shop I brought everyone cinnamon rolls, topped with my amazing new-found (Thanks Rosy!) cream cheese icing. The days before this, there was a endless supply of cookies.

Why? Because thanks to the advice of a certain young American, who knows her cookies, I was finally pointed in the direction of the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I shall forever be indebted to her, and her French source, for what will quite possibly now always be my go-to cookie recipe. It's crispy yet still chewy, better on the second day, and held up to some adapting. I made them last week, and we ate the remainder today (the recipe makes a LOT) and they were still good. In my eyes, that's the perfect cookie. They even stood up to what is my high water mark of cookies, the pecan and chocolate chip ones from Ottolenghi.

Go, bake and be sated...nom.

The almost-Nestle Tollhouse cookie - Makes enough to feed an army of movers.

2 1/4 cups strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups dark chocolate (I used 70%) chopped into chunks
1 cup chopped nuts (I'm a pecan gal myself, but walnuts, hazelnuts etc would work fine)

Preheat the oven to 190C and line all the baking trays you have in the house! No, seriously I used all four of mine a couple of times over as you only really want about six on each sheet in case of spreading. 

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a mixer, or by hand beat together the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Then gradually beat in the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture and combine. Then stir in the chocolate and nuts. 

Place rounded teaspoons of dough on the baking sheets a couple of inches apart. Bake for aprox. 8 - 9 minutes until they are just golden brown at the edges (this tip was thanks to M, who pointed out this would maintain a chewy centre. mmmm...)

They will keep for quite a while in a air tight box, but I would recommend them either just warm, or the next day with a nice cup of tea.


  1. Lots of yummy stuff here - brilliant. I've not had a cookie in FAR too long. Years, now i think of it! Not sure how this has arisen - i must make amends! And cinnamon rolls, yum yum.
    Hope you've gone some frolics planned after all that hard work!

  2. Oh wow, I wish I worked with you! Your co-workers are so lucky!

    Isn't being hungry one of the best feelings ever?! 'Oop, tummy's grumbling, time for some grub now!'


  3. Got up this morning and resolved to start a healthy eating/weight reducing regime (having seen shocking photographs of self from a weekend away). Read this post, found self drooling and resolve quickly dissipating.
    Must. Stay. Strong.

  4. Mmmm those were good cookies! How lucky am I to work with you?! :)