Crisp, crunchy and crumbly I hold a deep fondness for biscuits, particularly with a cup of (leaf) tea. However, as faithful as I try to be I find myself powerless to resist the seductive allure of a sweetly sumptuous, yielding cookie. In this recipe I have used tangy candied orange, bitter dark chocolate and creamy Brazil nuts which all bounce off each other brazilliantly (I'm sorry I couldn't resist), building to a rapturous cookie crescendo of flavours and textures. I refuse to be so brazen as to proclaim any of my recipes to be "the best" or "the ultimate", but these are without doubt amongst the most pleasing and gratifying things I have ever baked. I implore you to try them for yourself.
Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus some chilling time)
Baking time: 15 Mins
100g Dark Chocolate (Broken into squares)
100g Candied Orange Peel (Chopped)
120g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
115g Light Muscovado Sugar
75g Caster Sugar
1 Large Egg
1tsp Vanilla Extract
150g Plain Flour
1/2tsp Baking Powder
100g Brazil Nuts (Roughly chopped)
The first task is to envelop the candied peel in smooth, luscious chocolate. Melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave, then add the candied peel. Stir the peel around to coat, then spoon out onto a flat tray lined with baking paper and spread out evenly, separating any clusters of peel that may have formed. Place into the fridge to chill for an hour until set, then remove, peel from the paper and break up into a small bowl, along with any excess chocolate shards.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a large flat baking tray with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and both of the sugars, then beat in the large egg along with the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt, then fold through the chopped brazil nuts, candied peel and chocolate shards. There's no need to chill the mixture prior to baking, so just take a dollop, slightly larger than a tablespoon and place on the baking paper evenly spaced apart, as they will spread during baking. To be safe I bake them in batches of five (as I can only trust the temperature of one shelf of my old oven), one in each corner and one in the middle. Place in the centre of the oven for around 15 minutes until light golden and just darkening at the edges. Carefully slide the paper off of the tray onto a wire rack, then repeat the baking process for the rest of the mixture. You should be rewarded with 14-15 of the most delicious cookies. When the cookies have cooled for around 30 minutes, gently peel them from the paper and they are ready to greedily scoff at your leisure.