There’s something in the air about miniature desserts. Dan Lepard profiled mini-cakes in Sainsbury’s magazine last month. Yotam Ottolenghi wrote a piece for the Guardian‘s weekend food column on miniature financiers, mini cheesecakes, mini cookies. Could the mini-dessert become (gasp) the New Cupcake? (or the new whoopie pie, by now). But foolish food trends aside, there is something quite compelling about demolishing a little cookie or a baby cake, in its entirety.
It was this that attracted me to Heidi’s Itsy Bitsy chocolate chip cookies when they appeared on her blog. I returned to the recipe recently when I wanted to make some cookies, and only then remembered that I had adapted it to be almost a one-bowl recipe, if you have a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can head over to 101 Cookbooks, and Heidi has great instructions for making this by hand. But I love the simplicity of this method, combined with the cute-factor of the tiny cookies, and the amazing toasted flavour that comes from the walnuts and the crisp edges. These are not chewy chocolate chip cookies – they are crisp little discs, with a nubbly quality from the nuts and chocolate rubble – perhaps invoking a souped-up hobnob? They are flavourful, but not cloying; crisp but not too crumbly or greasy – ideal cookie jar-cookies in other words.
Mini chocolate walnut cookies:
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks’ Itsy Bitsy Chocolate Chip Cookies)
Preheat the oven to 180°C /160°C fan / 350°F.
- 140g dark chocolate (I used Green & Blacks cooking chocolate, 72%, but something sweeter would also work)
- 70g walnuts
–> Break the chocolate into pieces, add the walnuts and process to rubble in a food processor.
- 140g wholewheat self-raising flour
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
–> Add to processor with the nuts and process again to mix everything together, and grind the chocolate and nuts a little finer.
–> Empty the processor contents into a separate bowl (you’ll add them back later). Add to this bowl:
- 110g rolled oats
–> Add to the empty processor:
- 110g butter, softened
- 120g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 120g caster sugar
–> Process together until fairly smooth and creamy. Add
- 1 large egg
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
–> and process again until smooth, scraping down the sides to make sure it is combined fairly evenly.
–> Return the chocolate, nuts and flour to the processor.
–> Process fairly briefly to mix everything together – you don’t want to overmix, or the gluten will start to develop and the cookies will get tough. Scrape down with a spatula to make sure there are no more floury patches.
Either refrigerate (for up to two days) or use immediately. Scoop off teaspoons of mixture, roll into a small ball, less than an inch across, flatten a little with a fork and bake at 180C/160C fan for 10-12 minutes, until slightly cracked around the edge and crisp. They will crisp up further as they cool.
[Refrigerating chocolate chip cookie dough is a NY Times recipe trick, attributed to Maury Rubin of City Bakery, and it does seem to develop a bit of extra flavour, but these are fine without it as well.]