Cacao al Pepe Chocolate Chunk Cookies


I’ve of course chosen the chocolate species of cookies that are sumptuous, classic, easy and a favourite staple in almost any home.

Mum was nagging at me to use the pot of Cacao al Pepe that I got from Chocolat, Milan and since I hadn’t made like real, man-sized cookies in a long while, I figured it was a pretty good opportunity to make them. Besides, the torrential rains (I exaggerate a little) were getting me down and there’s nothing like a good bake-day to put a smile on everyone’s face.

I’m faced with the problem of choosing a chocolate cookie recipe every time because there are really great ones all over the web, in my trustie cookbooks and so forth - but I’ve yet to find the perfect cookie recipe. Then it hit me that my Nigella Express was sitting in the kitchen cookbook cupboard and I hadn’t even touched it since I was given it as a present from my parents last Christmas. The recipe I found in it was perfect for what I had in mind, although in all honesty I was pretty torn between this, a recipe I found off the web and another NY Times recipe . 

But I decided to go with Nigella because letting this cookbook sit for another month really isn’t the best thing to do. My relationship with Nigella needs to be strengthened as I’ve left her on the backburner for too long now.

I quite liked these cookies. Straight out of the oven, they smelt amazing and had a really good crunch but gentle chewiness in the middle. Although I didn’t quite like the look of them. Somehow, they didn’t turn out as hard as I usually like my cookies and because they spread a little too much, they lost the chunkiness I wanted and lacked the cracked look of regular chocolate chip cookies. Also, I forgot what country I’m living in now and left the cookies out to cool for a little too long so they got kinda spongy at the edges when I was packing them into an airtight container.  But mistakes aside, a few minutes in a toaster and a glass of cold milk made things right again - no harm done.

This recipe has been adapted to cater to my specialty cacao. If you’d like to try something similar: you could use regular cocoa and a good pinch of white pepper for the same effect. The notes on the side are ingredients that I’ve used instead of the what the original recipe called for. The directions for this recipe will be directions for my ingredients. Drop me a comment if you need the original directions from Nigella Express.

Also, I’ll be posting up some pictures from my week in Taipei very soon. Stay tuned! The food may not be very posh or gorgeously presented but it sure teased my tastebuds so very much and I thoroughly enjoyed the vitality of the night markets. Till then.

Cacao al Pepe Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Totally Chocolate 

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies, p.190, from Nigella’s Nigella Express)
  • 125g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids (4 tbs Cacao al Pepe)
  • 150g plain flour  
  • 30g cocoa (Cacao al Pepe)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g (+ 4 tbs unsalted butter), softened
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, cold
  • 350g Tollhouse chocolate chunks
  • Preheat oven to 170d Celsius.
Sift flour, cacao, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. Beat in the vanilla and cold egg, then mix in the dry ingredients in 2 parts. Finally, fold in the chocolate chunks, leaving about a 1/4 cup for pressing onto the cookies.

Scoop out the cookies into golf-ball sizes and place on a greased/lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Drop some chocolate chunks on them but DO NOT FLATTEN them as these cookies will spread.
Cook or 18-20minutes and test with a cake tester to make sure the insides are cooked through. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to harden as they cool. Thereafter, eat slightly warm with a cold glass of milk (or soymilk for some!) and box up the rest to keep fresh throughout the week.


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