Friday, 30 August 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake/Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you're from the UK, chances are you've heard of, seen, or perhaps even tasted the 'giant cookie cake' from Millie's cookies. In essence they're just huge cookies that are iced with special messages and are completely customisable for any occasion. They're great, but the price of them isn't. Upwards of £15 for a biscuit (albeit a giant one) seems a little much to me when you can make your own for under a fiver. They're fun to make and even more personal than ones you buy in the shop because you made it yourself. You don't even have to be that skilled with a piping bag, just load your cookie up with smarties and icing and you're good to go.

I thought I'd try out a recipe I found online for this giant cookie for a friend's 18th. The recipe is just a base and you can of course load your cookie with any kind of chocolate or sweets that you want, but I used milk and white chocolate chips. I decorated the cookie with royal icing, half a batch of which I flavoured with cocoa powder, and half with butterscotch, the butterscotch being split into two portions and one half being coloured pink.

The first attempt at icing I used a wilton 1M tip to do the writing that turned out to be far too big for the writing to fit on the cookie (even though it was 14'' wide!), so after trying and failing to scrape it off the naked cookie I had to come up with a plan B. I thinned down some of the chocolate icing a little more with some water, so it was more of a spreadable consistency than a piping consistency, then spread a thin layer all over the cookie. I then used the slightly thicker chocolate icing that was still in the 1M piping bag to pipe a border on the cookie, something which they do in the shop, then I decorated the border with smarties. I learned my lesson and switched to a smaller writing tip for the rest. After writing my message on the cookie in white, the decoration was still looking a little flat, so I coloured the remaining icing pink and piped over the white. One box of royal icing sugar was plenty for this project.

I would definitely recommend using royal icing for cookie cake because it dries hard and is a little bit more durable than a buttercream or standard frosting. Royal icing can also be flavoured and coloured a million ways and is great for sticking smarties and other sweets to for decoration.

In the original recipe it was noted that the same cookie dough could also be used to make a large batch of smaller cookies, so when I was asked to make some biscuits for an afternoon tea I knew I had to try them again. They came out prefect, chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside. I expect that the raw dough would freeze quite well too. Whether you're making a whole batch or one giant cookie for a special (or not so special!) occasion, these cookies really are delicious. They also smell incredible - it's hard to resist having less than three pieces when it's just sat there, wafting under your nose!

border finished...

a double thickness white layer...
...and a single layer of pink on top

Giant Cookie
Makes one 14'' cookie, or approximately 22 standard cookies

170g softened butter
200g soft brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
vanilla extract
250g plain flour
a pinch of baking powder
200g of dark/milk/white chocolate chips, or 200g of any chocolate/sweets you want to use

1.Line and grease a 14'' cake tin, or several cookie sheets. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Beat the butter and sugars until combined and light and fluffy.
2. Gently mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. Fold on the flour until mixed through, then stir in the chocolate chips. You may have to do this with your hands to incorporate them evenly.
4. Press all of your mixture evenly (about 1cm thick) into the lined cake tin if using, or shape large tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and slightly flatten. The cookies spread a little when baking so leave space in between them to do so.
5. Bake the giant cookie for about 30 minutes until it is golden brown but still slightly soft in the middle. Bake the normal sized cookies for 20 minutes until they reach this stage. If you like your cookies to remain chewy a few days after baking, try baking them for a slightly shorter time. Because cookie cakes are so large the middle will stay softer for longer than the middles of normal sized cookies. If making a giant cookie, run a knife around the inside of the tin a few times when taken straight from the oven and the cookies is still soft enough to be cut very easily. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes until firm enough to turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Cool smaller cookies on a wire tack too.

6. If you want to ice the cookies, prepare royal icing according to box instruction, divide and flavour/colour, then decorate as you wish.

Cookie cakes will last well for a few days in an airtight tin, as will normal sized ones.