There are two things I avoid making or buying: cookies/biscuits and crisps (or chips for you Americans out there). There’s just something about the chewiness of cookies, the crunchiness of biscuits and the crispiness of crisps that I cannot resist, and the result is that I can’t control myself and I keep eating them until I feel sick and beyond (and sometimes slightly guilty). They have the perfect addictive texture that my brain and mouth enjoy too much to just tell my tummy to stop eating them.
When I first moved to the Netherlands and was stuck all day studying in my little studio apartment, I needed something to cheer me up and take my mind off all the deadlines and worries that come with starting university and living in a foreign country. Cookies were my solution. I also needed some kind of reward system for every completed reading and assignment. Cookies were my reward. So basically I created many situations and excuses for which cookies were the perfect sweet and chewy answer. I would bake them, buy them, munch on my friend’s stash. But cookies soon became my problem. I put on a loooot of weight. I had definitely gained the famous “Freshman 15”, but instead of being caused by partying, alcohol and fast food ( I don’t really do any of those three), my extra weight was mainly caused by my love for cookies. Once my jeans were too tight and I ended up with a wobbly muffin-top, I decided to go cold-turkey and say bye-bye to my crunchy, chewy, sweet, chocolaty goodies for a while.
After a cookie-free period I can now control my cookie addiction, more or less, and I make them only if other people are around to contribute to the cookie eating ritual and I know I won’t be left alone with them (which increases the risk of compulsive cookie eating). I also tend to just bake a small amount per session to avoid having lots of cookies left over, looking at me on the kitchen table praying to be eaten (or so it seems in my head). I’ve also tried to make them healthier so I don’t feel as guilty when I eat more than a few with a glass of cold milk.
When I want cookies, these are my favourite. The recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen. I have swapped the raisins for some chopped chocolate and the regular flour for whole-grain flour, just to trick my brain into thinking that these cookies are healthier (let’s just ignore the amount of butter and sugar). The oats make them quite filling and extra-hearty. They are perfect for people who, like me, love the texture and taste but need a filling cookie to avoid over-indulging. I do think that using raw demerara sugar, oats and whole-grain flour does help improve the overall healthiness of these sweet treats, so in the end I don’t feel so guilty when I make them. All I can say is that I really love these cookies, they are chewy, chocolaty and almost healthy, the perfect combination. They are so good that even my boyfriend, who claims not to like anything sweet, will eat multiple of these chewy, chocolate-oozing cookies and even fight me for the last one.
Ingredients (makes 12 medium cookies)
120g butter, room temperature
115g demerara sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g whole-grain flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
125g rolled oats
100g chocolate, chopped into small and medium chunks
Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth and creamy. Whisk in the egg and the vanilla until incorporated. In a separate bowl mix the flour with the baking soda, salt and oats. Add to the butter and egg mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Finally add the chocolate chunks and mix until they’re evenly distributed through the cookie dough. Put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You want the dough to be nice and firm when you shape it into cookies, this will give you lovely super-chewy cookies (if you’re in a rush just chill it for 10 minutes, they will still come out nice and chewy, but will spread a little more when baked). While the dough is chilling in the fridge preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Once the oven is ready, scoop the dough with a tablespoon onto a baking tray lined with baking paper leaving some space between the cookies. Once you’ve scooped the cookie domes, flatten down the tops a little bit with your fingers. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Once ready, let them rest on the baking tray for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy moderately to avoid addiction.