• 250g unsalted butter
  • 112g caster sugar
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g mini fudge pieces
  • 150g roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel

The lovely Jaime of Jaim’s Kitchen came along to my cupcake class and was a superstar. Then she came along to my bread class was a superstar and brought these biscuits for me. They’re so good you need them in your life. Here’s their story and recipe in Jaime’s words…

Cookies have a special place in my heart, and home.

I have lost count of how many batches of cookie dough we’ve gone through. My latest obsession (and my husband’s too) are these Walnut, Fudge and Fleur de Sel Cookies I made for friends over a week ago. They are so easy and quick to make, but I remember a time when baking cookies were well, not so easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

Before an electric hand whisk made it into our home (and way, way, way before powerful stand mixers entered it) we creamed butter and sugar by beating it with a wooden spoon. Every couple of minutes or so, I would ask my mum if it was ready and she would answer, “Check if the sugar has dissolved. If not, keep beating.” I was a scrawny kid. Later, after what seemed like an eternity of whisking and swapping from left hand to right and back again my mother would nod in approval and tell me to stop; the mixture is ready. But my joy is always short-lived when I see the eggs…and the beating resumes.

Oh but why bother, you might ask? Because cookies are good! In fact some are so very good, like my mother’s pineapple cookies, but unfortunately also happened to be the most tedious and difficult to make. And this is after she had already pre-cooked her own pineapple jam.

Sometimes I would deliberately appear incompetent and my mum would take over. She tuts jokingly and in Hakka tells me I will never gain strength in my arm without hard work. As a fidgety teenage, neither patience nor endurance were my forte (I’m glad to say this has massively improved with age) and repetitive tasks quickly lost its charm. So I ignore the dig, thankful to be spared further bicep-developing tasks for I had gone from an excited state to exhaustion, and was now on the verge of plain boredom.

But I liked watching my mum work at lightning speed. I would stay sitting close by, asking questions and making small talk until the cookie dough is formed and we could start shaping them (yes, the easy part). As I got older and electrical appliances arrived at our home, I grew to appreciate that wooden spoon more. Once albeit in a very long while, I take mine out to cream butter and sugar with. It is a great reminder that good things are really worth striving for; that the reward will taste oh-so-much-better when all of your heart, might, soul and love have been poured into it.

Walnut, Fudge and Fleur de Sel Cookies

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, softened

112g caster sugar

100g light soft brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

400g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g mini fudge pieces (I love the ones by Morrisons)

150g roughly chopped walnuts

1 tsp fleur de sel (French sea salt)

Preparation

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract using an electric mixer (or wooden spoon?). Start from the lowest speed, increasing the speed setting as the mixture comes together. Continue beating at high speed until the sugars have dissolved, the colour of the mixture has lightened and the texture is fluffy. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

First, sift 240g (equivalent to 1½ cups) plain flour into the creamed butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract. Fold in using a silicone spatula until well combined.

Next sift in the remaining 160g (equivalent to 1 cup) plain flour together with the teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. Fold again until well combined. Working in two batches will make it easier to work the flour into the creamed mixture.

Now add the fudge pieces, walnuts and fleur de sel. At this stage, the best tools to combine all the ingredients are your hands. So give them a good wash and dry, and get stuck in. Gently knead and form the mixture until the cookie dough comes together into a ball.

Chill Time

Turn the cookie dough out onto a large piece of cling film, wrap tightly and refrigerate between 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking.

Oven Settings

Preheat your oven according to these settings.

Type

Temperature

Bake Time

Halogen

160˚C

25 minutes

Conventional / Electric

180˚C

15 – 20 minutes

Gas

Mark 4

15 – 20 minutes

 

Baking

Remove your cookie dough from the fridge. It should be firm, but not rock hard. I used to roll the cookie dough between my palms to form a perfect round but of late, I have been favouring a more rustic look. Pinch about 30g worth of cookie dough and place it in the palm of one hand. With other hand, use your fingers to pat the cookie dough into a rough round. Place it on your baking tray/cookie sheet and gently pat it down to slightly flatten the dough. Work quickly to avoid warming up the dough too much as you will lose the lines in the dough. Those little lines form lots of little cracks in the finished product, giving the cookies that lovely homemade feel.

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