While the rest of the world has refined the art of intricate gateaux, tortes, and truffles, us Americans like to keep it simple. We want a sweet, unhealthy, chewy thing and we want it now. Give us pancakes drowned in maple syrup, give us pie swimming in half-melted ice cream, or just go ahead and give us a burnt marshmallow on a stick. These wonderful things can be difficult to find in Poland. Sure, cupcakes have popped up on the radar, but who actually likes the taste of cupcakes anyway?
In the realm of life’s simple indulgences, cookies are surely king – chocolate chip, freshly baked and with a glass of milk, of course. What better way to banish the winter blues than with a handful of gooey, chocolatey goodness? This version uses the conveniently in-season orange for an unusual citrus kick, but purists are welcome to stick to the basics.
A few tips: The usual vanilla extract has been substituted for vanilla sugar, which is much easier to find in Poland. The most important thing with these cookies is to use good quality chocolate. Look for gorzka czekolada with an absolute minimum of 65% cocoa in the ingredients (70% Lindt is my personal favourite) – just don’t skimp and buy the cheap junk that’s pumped full of sugar. You might as well skip making cookies for your American experience, and go eat the red jelly off the top of a Polish cheesecake.
1 cup/250g butter (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 packed cup/200g dark brown (Muscovado) sugar
1/4 cup/60g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 cups/250g flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 bars/200g dark chocolate
Preheat your oven to 190C. Prepare the chocolate by roughly chopping into chunks (about 1cmx1cm will do). Mix the sugars and butter together to a soft, fluffy cream in a large bowl. Shave off the orange rind (if you don’t have a tool for this, use the fine part of your cheese grater, being careful to avoid the bitter, white pith) and set aside. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a glass. Add about one tablespoon of the juice to the butter and sugar mix, and drink the rest (surely this healthful moment will offset the three dozen cookies you’re about the scoff). Add the eggs. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, soda, and salt) in a separate bowl. Add this mix to the first bowl and mix. Finally, add the chocolate chunks and orange zest. Spoon small balls of dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet, several centimetres apart. Bake each batch for approximately 10 minutes, and leave to cool. Pour a tall glass of fresh milk and enjoy!