I requested John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes’ as one of my Christmas presents and was lucky enough to receive it. Yesterday was a day to bake cookies and after trawling through some recipe books I remembered spotting this one and decided to give it a go. I will be honest and say I wasn’t 100% happy with how they turned out. I’m not sure what quite went wrong (although I suspect it’s either baking them for too long or making them too small in size) but they still taste ok. They are crunchy rather than chewy in texture. The recipe is supposed to make 20 however I only managed to make 17.
100g caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
200g light brown muscovado sugar
150g salted butter (room temperature)
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract – I used vanilla extract)
1) Begin by making the caramel. Place the sugar and water in a pan and stir to mix them. Then place the pan over a high heat and allow to boil without stirring it again. After about 5 minutes the sugar will start to turn amber in colour and the bubbles will become smaller (you need to be paitent – it will happen). Pour onto a baking sheet and leave to solidify for at least 10 minutes (I lined my baking sheet with baking parchment).
2) Then make the cookie dough. Beat the sugar and butter together until pale in colour and lighter in texture using a freestanding mixer or an electric whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and mix by hand into a stiff dough (I started by using a wooden spoon but then had to use my hands). Place to one side.
3) Break the dried caramel into small shards (I used a rolling pin to do this) and add to the cookie dough. Stir or knead the shards into the dough until they are well incorporated. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4) Preheat your oven to 170C / Gas 3.
5) Divide and roll the dough into 20 small balls. Place these, well spread our, on baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies are baked and have turned golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
6) Enjoy with your favourite hot drink!