My delight in Nigel Slater’s prose continues. In yesterday’s Observer, he waxed lyrical on the beauty of the perfect Autumn day…”the sumptuousness of the autumn garden in its cobweb festooned cloak of burgundy and bronze, the mellow autumn sunshine..” and to complete this vision of perfection… ” smells of baking biscuits, of warm sugar and nuts and spices, all set against a backdrop of crisp leaves and golden autumn sun”. And he is so right, one of life’s great pleasures is a batch of cookies cooling on a rack in the kitchen, still warm and fragrant from the oven.
Nigel Slater’s Hazlenut Chocolate Chip Cookies
75g skinned hazelnuts
180g butter at room temperature
90g golden caster sugar
90g light muscovado sugar
100g plain chocolate
180g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Set the oven at 180C/gas 4. Toast the hazelnuts till they are golden brown. This is easiest done under a hot grill with a watchful eye, but you can do it in a non-stick pan if you prefer.
Cut the butter into small pieces and put into a food mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Add the sugars and cream to a light and fluffy texture – you may have to scrape the mixture down from the sides a couple of times with a rubber spatula. You can, of course, do everything with a hand-held electric mixer or even a wooden spoon if you prefer to do it that way.
Break the eggs and beat them into the mixture. Chop the chocolate into small chunks, the size of small gravel and add it, together with the sieved flour and bicarbonate of soda, slowly and at quite a low speed, to the dough.
Take a large, heaped 15ml tablespoon of the dough and put it on a non-stick baking sheet (or use baking parchment if you prefer). Flatten it lightly. Continue with the rest of the mixture, putting the dollops of mixture well apart from each other.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until they have spread and are golden in colour. Let them cool for a few minutes before lifting them off and transferring them to a cooling rack