Dear Nigella, many thanks for the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I just made it and it tastes very nice and crisp and the cookies look golden and nicely baked. I have a couple of questions though.
First, the chocolate inside melted out of the edges in few cookies. This didn't affect the taste but changed the shape and look of the cookie. I had used a mix of dark chocolates, some containing more than 80% cocoa. I read your previous comments just now to use lesser cocoa content chocolate. However, is it also because I had roughly chopped them with a pestle so the chunks weren't too small ? The chocolate was so hard that my mixer/grinder blade broke so I had to do it with a pestle.
I made half the recipe, so halved all ingredients, but didn't exactly halve the bicarbonate of soda. Would this have an effect? And although I scooped the dough with an ice cream scoop the shape of the cookies were not consistent, some are fine but some elongated.
Many thanks for the recipe again and for your response!
Nigella's Chocolate Chip Cookies (from KITCHEN) are chunky cookies studded with chocolate chips. Nigella uses milk chocolate chips for her cookies and generally neither milk nor dark (bittersweet) chocolate chips melt out on to the baking sheet when baking cookies as they are insulated by the cookie dough. However, if you used a pestle and mortar to crush the chocolate then there is the possibility that you have some small shards of chocolate that could have melted out because of their small size. You may find it easier to cut bars of chocolate into even-sized chunks (approximately 5mm square) using a sharp, heavy knife.
Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is the leavening used for the cookies. It is a small quantity but helps the cookies to rise slightly. If you halve the ingredients then you should halve the bicarbonate of soda accurately as too much can cause the cookies to spread and this could be the reason for some of the cookies becoming misshapen. It may also help to chill the cookie dough after shaping but before baking, as if the dough is very soft it will also spread more easily and could affect the shape of the baked cookies.