Choc chip cookies: a recipe

This recipe comes courtesy of the generosity of a certain Cyril Lignac (@cyril_lignac), responding to an early case of a lockdown blues by doing what he’s best known for (baking sweet stuff), and – with the aid of his iphone – streaming the session Live from his Paris apartment – for the benefit of all those locked in at home who cared to join him, seeking consolation, connection, comfort and – of course! – cookies.

It was the charmingly analogue, amateur precursor for what eventually became a hugely popular national TV cook-a-long show (more of which on another blog post), but this recipe is brought to you pretty much ‘as witnessed’ from that very first cook-along in his home kitchen, as he too observed lockdown rules along with everyone watching.

Cyril Lignac, chez lui, Paris

Full recipe (with tips and hints) below, or scroll down for the ‘Quick and Dirty’ version that cuts out all the chat!

Cyril Lignac’s Lock-Down ‘Cookies aux 2 Chocolats’

Ingredients:

120g soft brown (muscovado) sugar
120g caster sugar
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
175g unsalted butter
A large egg
200g (or thereabouts) milk and dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Measure out, and have ready all of your ingredients (you can add the baking powder to the flour, and stir together – Cyril added it just before he added the egg, but I can’t think of a good reason why he would do that!)
    (Erica’s Pro Tip: if your ‘soft’ brown sugar is left over from last Christmas and seems a bit hard (mine was both), weigh it, put it in a bowl, soak a super clean cloth with clean hot water, squeeze it out, then ‘drape casually’ over the top of the bowl (without actually touching the sugar) for an hour or two – it can sit by the butter and keep it company. The sugar will spend this time absorbing moisture and softening back to its prime.)
  2. Cut the butter into squares and leave to soften (NOT to sweat/melt) – at room temperature – near a sunny window will speed this up
  3. Chop the chocolate into bits and pieces – not so large that the dough can’t easily hold them together, but large enough to matter in a final cookie. (Substitutions: ‘as much chocolate as you have’, if you don’t have as much as the recipe; you can also add or substitute nuts and/or dried fruit)
  4. In a large bowl, using a whisk/wooden spoon/spatula or any combination of the three – whatever works best – beat the butter to make it smooth. Add the (two) sugars, and keep on beating until all are blended (‘official’ baking term: you are ‘creaming’ them together.          (Pro tip: you can also use a stand mixer or an electric blender if your butter is not quite soft enough (I did, eventually!), but if the butter is soft enough you don’t need special tools for this recipe.)
  5. Crack your egg into a cup/small bowl and break up with a fork; add to the sugar and butter; mix together well.
  6. Add in the flour (sifting in the flour together with the baking powder will help mix these evenly). Mix the flour into the ‘creamed’ ingredients – you don’t need to beat, just mix enough so that you can’t see any white flour. Then do the same with the chopped chocolate – stir it in just to mix it through fairly evenly.
  7. You now should have a ‘dough’ – a stiff and shaggy mix that needs taming into a shape like a log. Put the dough onto your (clean!) work surface (probably best on a sheet of baking parchment or clingfilm) and push it and roll it and pat it together until it is log shaped.
  8. Now chill it – Fridge it, Freeze it, Blast-chill it (thank you AEG for making a domestic Blast Chiller – I love this gizmo), just enough to let it feel cool and to stabilise it as you cut it into pieces – it should not actually freeze.
  9. Set your oven to 170ºC, fan (fun fact: Cyril uses a Miele oven at home – we recognised its ‘tune’); when it is at temperature, cut the log into 20 discs of cookie dough, place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment (allow the cookies lots of space around them to spread out while they bake). Cookies will take about 10 minutes and should be a bit golden when ready; but no more than 12 to 15 max – you want them to stay soft in the middle even after they have cooled.
  10. Cool on a wire rack, don’t try and move them too early (we did, and we had at least one casualty – which had to be eaten IMMEDIATELY! (just to save our blushes!)

‘Quick and Dirty’ Version

(after ‘source and weigh ingredients’)

  • Set aside butter to soften at room temperature
  • Chop chocolate into cookie-chunk-sized pieces
  • Cream together butter and sugar(s)
  • Stir in egg
  • Sift in flour and baking powder (together); stir to a stiff dough
  • Add chocolate chunks
  • Take dough and form into a log shape
  • Wrap in clingfilm (or baking paper) and chill wherever is coolest in your kitchen (fridge, freezer, blast chiller)
  • Pre-heat oven: 170ºC (fan oven);
  • Cut dough log into discs – place on baking sheet (lined with baking paper)
  • Bake! – approx 10 mins (until golden and looking like a cookie!)
  • Cool on a wire rack
  • Share with us on Instagram (using #dtfamily)
  • Enjoy!

Witnessed and Written: Erica

Streamed: 19/03/2020

All images: @cyril_lignac (Instagram)