There is a very dangerously placed Ben’s Cookies that stands between my office and the tube platform, and it is only a slight exaggeration to say that restraining myself from nipping in for one of their milk chocolate praline numbers is a daily battle. But everything is better for you if you make it yourself, right? Thus, inspired by Ben’s, I gave my usual Eric Lanlard cookie recipe an update. Here’s the result – soft, chewy, chocolatey, nutty glory.
100g blanched, roasted hazelnuts
175g unsalted butter, melted
200g soft dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
250g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g milk chocolate chunks
1 box Guylian shells (or similar), chopped into chunks
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Divide the hazelnuts into two batches of 50g. Using a food processor, blitz one until the nuts are in small, rough pieces. Blitz the second to a fine grind. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and two sugars together until smooth. Then add the egg, yolk and vanilla extract and beat again until the mixture is light and creamy. Next, sift in the flour, ground hazelnuts and bicarb and mix until combined.
With a wooden spoon, mix in the roughly chopped hazelnuts, chocolate chunks and chopped Guylian shells.
Drop heaped dessert spoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays, around 6 cookies per sheet (they spread a lot). If you want to get your cookies perfectly round, I recommend using a small ice-cream scoop or melon baller to get a sphere of dough. Don’t flatten them out – they will do this themselves in the oven.
Bake for 17 minutes, or until the edges are golden. They will feel very soft when you first take them out of the oven but will harden up as they cool so don’t be tempted to leave them in for longer if you want that lovely gooey centre.
Cool on baking trays and tuck in!