This is quite a grown-up recipe, not too sweet, with a generous amount of dark chocolate and quite a savoury undertone from the oats and toasted hazelnuts. I like them warm from the oven, finished with a sprinkle of salt over the molten chocolate, but they are just as good left to cool when they take on a pleasing crunch.
The joy of this recipe is that once the dough is made, they live in a box in the freezer and can be baked straight from frozen whenever you like.
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and optional freezing time
Cook time: 25 minutes
60g blanched hazelnuts
150g unsalted butter, softened
120g soft brown sugar
60g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp flaky sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
180g self-raising flour
125g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until they’re slightly golden and have a lovely nutty crunch.
Leave to cool, then roughly bash into smaller pieces – don’t go too fine. Next, cream the butter with the two sugars. I use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but a deep bowl and hand whisk work well too. You want the butter to go pale and fluffy, so it’s aerated by the sugar. But be careful not to overwhisk the butter, as this will adversely affect the cookies later on; it should only take 2-3 minutes tops. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the sugar is evenly incorporated.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the vanilla extract, then with the mixer running, pour the egg into the butter a little at a time until incorporated. Turn the mixer off, and add the salt, oats and flour. Turn back on and mix into a cohesive dough, again scraping down the sides a few times as it mixes.
While the chocolate is still in its packet, smash it a few times against the work surface to break it up, then pour on to
a chopping board and chop into large chips with a sharp knife. Add the chocolate and nuts to the dough and fold in by hand with a spatula.
Roll the dough into 60g balls and place in a Tupperware box in the freezer, with baking parchment between the layers if you’re stacking. I keep them like this and bake one or two at a time straight from frozen when needed, as I like them warm from the oven.
Place on a tray with a sheet of baking parchment and bake at 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6 for between 13 and 15 minutes – this really depends on whether you like a slightly gooey middle, or a crisper cookie. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for another 5 minutes while they continue to set before tucking in.
Sprinkle with a generous touch of flaky salt and enjoy!