One of the things that makes me happiest is a big baking project. Whether it’s a birthday, researching recipes for this blog, a celebration cake or a big family party (for recipes from our recent engagement do, click here and here), I love everything about the process from planning it all in and thinking up new ideas through experimenting in the kitchen to the look on peoples’ faces when they taste my food.
When people ask about our upcoming wedding, one of the first things they always want to know is whether I’ll be baking my own cake. Although it’s something I did initially consider, I’ve since explained my reasons against the idea so many times that I’m pretty positive that I’ve made the right decision not to.
First up, I’m not a professional. My methods of transportation tend to include oversized cardboard boxes, balancing acts with mismatching dishes and a roll or two of cling film. Size is a second factor: with 150 people expected at the wedding I’d be attempting something bigger than I’ve ever baked before. We’re absolutely unanimous in our choice of chocolate over a traditional fruit cake which means no baking well in advance of the actual date and, although I’m currently feeling extremely serene, I’ve been warned that those last few days before the wedding can be busy at best, seriously stressful at worst. I don’t really want to add to that.
I do, however, want to make my baking mark on the wedding in some way. Celebration equals baking in my book and it would feel weird for such a momentous occasion to be completely lacking in anything I’d made. After considering one of the incredible dessert tables I’ve seen on countless gorgeous wedding blogs (want to lose a few hours to wedding cake porn, vintage dresses, miles of hessian and candy-striped baker’s twine? Head over to Rock My Wedding or Style Me Pretty), I realized that we wouldn’t really want one in addition to the showstopping centerpiece of a cake we’re planning to commission.
What we really want is something small and simple, something that can be eaten as dance floor fuel, munched on in a taxi home or taken away and treasured as a tiny gesture of our gratitude to all the amazing friends and family who’ll be joining us to celebrate this special day. Call it a favour, a thank you or just an excuse to be a tiny bit greedier that you normally would, this is what I want my contribution to the big day to be.
All of which is a very roundabout way of saying I’m going to be making chocolate chip cookies as favours for my wedding. Suffice to say you’ll be seeing a lot of cookie recipes here over the next 10 months as I search for the perfect one. And while I may well end up making the most basic of cookies – large chunks of chocolate, crispy edges, chewy middle, no nuts – I hope you’ll indulge me and join in my experiments, let me know your favourites and help me pick the perfect one. Starting with this rather lovely (but possibly slightly too unorthodox) crispy oat, milk and white chocolate chunk version.
Crispy Oat, Milk & White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(makes about 25)
80g unsalted butter, room temperature
60g golden caster sugar
60g brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large free range egg, beaten
110g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g milk chocolate chunks
100g white chocolate chunks
Beat together the butter, sugars and vanilla extract until light and creamy. Beat in the egg, a little at time.
Sift together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda then stir in the oats. Add to the butter and sugar mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks then refrigerate the mixture – one hour minimum but ideally overnight (if in desperate need of cookies, I’ve been known to pop it in the freezer before).
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Line two trays with baking parchment.
Scoop heaped tablespoons of cookie dough, shape them into a rough ball with your hand then place on the prepared trays, spacing well apart. Squash the cookie dough balls slightly flatter then bake for 10 – 15 minutes. I’ve left this slightly vague as everyone’s oven seems to bake at a slightly different temperature. Your cookies should look crispy and golden round the edges – the longer you bake them the crispier they will be.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack. Once firm to the touch, but still warm, eat with a large, cold glass of milk or a big scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.
These cookies should keep in an airtight container for several days. The longer you keep them, the softer they will be.