My Big Fat Chocolate, Ginger and Prune Cookies
These thrifty-as-they-are-tasty cookies are not really mine: they are Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s. I have adulterated them to make them slightly healthier. To be honest, I have succeeded in putting in some more fibre, and one of your five-a-day, but I have removed none of the sugar and saturated fat. Healthy depends on your viewpoint… Still, if you want a treat for the kids (or you?) that stills lobs one of their five-a-day into them, these deeply, darkly, chocolaty cookies are simple and quick, freeze well, and never fail to please the Tartanweans. I have been known to eat one or two myself. (HWF’s original recipe, topped with smarties, is also very, very tasty.)
- Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C/Gas Mark 5. Line two baking trays with baking sheets or remove the metal racks from your oven and place silicone baking sheets on top of them. (Silicone baking sheets have made my life so much less fiddly – you can get them in Lakeland, etc., but, for the thrifty record, I got mine in Aldi and have no complaints about them!)
- Roughly chop 6 chunks of crystallised ginger and then more finely chop 15 prunes. Scissors work fine for the ginger. If disguising the prunes is not an issue, scissors work fine here too. I use a demi-lune but you could also puree them in a food processor. If ginger is not your thing, leave it out and add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon with the flour later.
- Melt 125g butter, but don’t let it bubble. The microwave is perfect for this but you can do it on the hob. Put 100g caster sugar and 75g dark brown sugar into a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and stir until they are well combined. Beat in 1 large egg, 15ml milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence.
- Tip in 25g cocoa powder, and 125g plain flour, along with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt and the ginger and prunes. Mix it all together gently until no trace of the flour is visible.
- Dollop dessert spoonfuls onto two baking sheets, five to a sheet. Leave a good gap between them because they will spread. Pop them into the oven and leave for 12 minutes tops. Check them at 10 minutes just in case. When ready they will have spread and flattened and the surfaces will be cracked. The insides will be soft as putty though so leave them on their baking sheets for five minutes to firm up. Transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. If you can.