recipe

Photography by Earl Carter
Photography by Earl Carter
Photography by Earl Carter
Photography by Earl Carter
Photography by Earl Carter Photography by Earl Carter
Photography by Earl Carter
Photography by Earl Carter
Credit: Photography by Earl Carter

Chocolate chip cookies

Annie Smithers is the owner and chef of du Fermier in Trentham, Victoria. Her latest book is Recipe for a Kinder Life. She is a food editor of The Saturday Paper.

Credit: Photography by Earl Carter

How do we find favourite recipes these days? There are, of course, books and magazines for inspiration, and newspapers, but so much of our world is now online. For me, inspiration is often found in the images that flit by while scrolling through this or that social media feed. My feeds are littered with cats, gardens, sheep and food. It’s often a startling view into what makes me smile and how algorithms work. But it is these images that can sometimes lead to treasure.

I love the idea of a chocolate chip cookie. However, they are almost always disappointing. When I google “best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe”, all the images look disappointing. If I am ever scratching around in a late-night service station or a kiosk at a hospital, the nasty cellophane wrapped cookies always catch my eye. If I drop some coin on them, that coin is wasted, as they are always disappointing. I went through a phase of making some quite nice ones with the addition of thyme and salt, but they too have left me cold when I have revisited them in the past year.

Recently, flashing by on my Facebook feed was a picture of a biscuit that looked delicious. I stopped, scrolled backwards and looked at it more closely. It was a chocolate chip biscuit, but it looked far more delicious than usual. On closer inspection I realised there was wholemeal flour, oats and salt involved. So I made it. The result rocketed past my expectations and this has now become my “best ever” chocolate chip cookie recipe. The oats, the salt, the wholemeal flour, the raw sugar all combine to make an excellent texture. The amount of chocolate chips is generous, but not absurdly so.

The recipe comes directly from the pages of a well-known American food blogger. Deb Perelman’s “Smitten Kitchen” posts often make me stop to look. Anything I have cooked of hers has worked tremendously well. I reached out to Deb to see if she minded spreading the word on this wonderful recipe, but I am yet to hear back. She does, however, concede on her contact page that her life goes through incredibly busy patches and her inbox can bulge a little with unanswered questions. Sounds way too familiar.

Ingredients

Makes 16

Time: 15 minutes preparation and
12-14 minutes cooking

  • 50g raw sugar
  • 95g light or dark brown sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp salt flakes
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 95g wholemeal plain flour
  • 25g finely chopped walnuts
  • 120g rolled oats
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • flaky sea salt (optional)
Method
  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the sugars, butter and salt together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until mixed.
  3. Mix the baking soda, baking powder and flour together with a whisk. Add the chopped nuts and oats. Add to the creamed butter mix and mix until combined. Fold in the oats and the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Arrange 16 walnut-size mounds of cookie dough 10 centimetres apart on the baking tray. Sprinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on March 19, 2022 as "Chips ahoy".

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Annie Smithers is the owner and chef of du Fermier in Trentham, Victoria. Her latest book is Recipe for a Kinder Life. She is a food editor of The Saturday Paper.