Nigella’s Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies… With a Twist
It is perhaps a bit bold of us to come here and try and take one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes and try and make it better and yet, here we are with a variation on her sea salt chocolate cookies from Cook, Eat, Repeat. Never have I ever jumped from my sofa so quickly to attempt at recreating a recipe, but then again, Nigella is very convincing when it comes to selling her creations.
Before start blabbing about my newfound love for Nigella Lawson and her books and culinary TV shows, I’ll move to the recipe and will continue blabbing after. If you don’t trust me and rather have the original recipe from Nigella, I’ll forever be resentful but you can find it here.
Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies
- 50 g plain flour
- 10 g cocoa powder
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch fine salt
- 50 g butter or margarine
- 40 g brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp hazelnut spread
- 1/3 tsp sea salt flakes (or 1/4 tsp of rock salt)
- Turn the oven on at 160°C/320°F in fan mode.
- Mix together the powdered ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda and fine salt).
- In a separate, bigger bowl, whisk together butter, sugar and vanilla until it gets creamy.
- Start adding the dry ingredients a quarter at the time, mixiinguuntil absorbed before adding the next batch.
- Add the hazlenut spread and mix again.
- Divide the mixture into two balls, making sure that they are pretty much identical. Spread them with your hands to make a circle of approximately 7-8cm.
- Place on a baking sheet/parchment paper making sure that they are at the opposite sides of your tray because they're going to get bigger. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
- Place in the oven for 12 minutes. Take them out and ignore the fact that they look uncooked. Really. Nigella makes a point of saying this and still I thought I made a mistake: I did not, trust the process.
- Let them cool down for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack for a further 10 minutes. Use a metal spatula for this and be careful.
Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies: are they the best cookies?
I’ve tried many cookies in my life, but there is nothing that ever beat these ones. I don’t want to claim to be a connoisseur of cookies, because I am not, but I would challenge you to try these ones and tell me they are not the best cookies you’ve ever had.
Now, on top of that, these are also very easily customisable: if you want to impress a vegan friend, you can just easily get rid of the butter in the recipe and substitute it with a vegan block. For once, I would not recommend substituting with oil as I normally would do when trying to veganise a recipe. Texture and bonding here are keys, and butter (or vegan butter) will do a much better job than olive oil. Of course, if it’s for vegan purposes, make sure that your hazelnut spread (if using) is vegan as well.
If I close my eyes I can recall the first bite into one of these cookies. I remember thinking that whoever came up with using sea salt in desserts, cookies, or cakes, must’ve been an absolute genius. The salty (in lack of a better term) flavour of salt combined with the deep, earthy taste of chocolate and hazelnuts is something to die for. I never made cookies this good in my life. Which to be fair might not come as a surprise, as I am usually quite bad at baking cookies. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever succeeded in baking a batch of cookies without making a whole mess. So when I came across this recipe on TV and I thought to myself “wow, those really look great”, I was somehow dubious of my abilities to recreate them.
I think the main takeaway is resting. I am usually unable to stop myself from trying whatever I am cooking the second I put it on a plate. With baking, I had to learn at my expense that waiting is a key part of the process, lack thereof can lead to ruining the whole thing. While I’m learning at least, I can continue to add to our baking section.
On Nigella’s Cooking Shows (and these sea salt chocolate cookies) As A Cure for Hangovers
I have to come clean and say that I was not a fan of Nigella until very recently. If I have to sit down and think about it, I could not even tell you why that was the case, but I can tell you now that everything changed in one afternoon.
I am a massive fan of cooking shows (perhaps unsurprisingly), and while I do love a re-run of Masterchef, sometimes I need something more soothing, and Nigella’s cooking shows are the soothing treat I didn’t know I needed. A few months ago, I was feeling horribly under the weather. Culprits of my mood were wine and lack of sleep from the night before, so while I was ashamedly placing an order on Uber Eats for a fried chicken sandwich at a horribly high price, I started looking for a show that could help me go over my hangover. That’s when I was driven to the latest Nigella’s to promote her cookbook (all the episodes are on the BBC website) and perhaps the dark kitchen or her calm voice hooked me from the first minute.
I binged the whole series in one day. After that, I continued with the other shows, until I watched literally all of them. Now, I probably have to start again from the beginning. I have to thank Nigella also because the only thing I managed to do for myself that day was baking these cookies. Perhaps it was the feeling of having done something, or perhaps just the sugar high that I got from the cookie, but that really helped me overcome the hangover.