Annie Bell’s soft-bake chocolate and fennel cookies
Annie Bell has kindly shared her soft-bake chocolate and fennel cookie recipe from her Baking Bible with us. Fennel, folks, in a biscuit, and they’re triple tested so they must be good, not to mention deliciously gooey. Over to you, Annie Bell.
I love dreaming up slightly outlandish combinations of flavours, and biscuits in particular allow for this. There is something in their character that accommodates a bold hand – dark chocolate, apricot and fennel? It works, I promise you. These blowsy amorphous cookies are crisp around the edges and chewy within. They look something like a treasure island map with their nooks and crannies.
Ingredients (makes approximately 20)
125g unsalted butter, diced
200g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g ground almonds
75g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
100g dried apricots, chopped
200g dark chocolate (approximately 70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
2 non-stick baking trays
Pestle and mortar
Unsalted butter for greasing
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan oven/220°C electric oven and butter a couple of non-stick baking trays. Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the ground almonds, flour and baking powder and process to a soft dough. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Coarsely grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and stir into the cookie batter with the apricots and chocolate.
Drop generous heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking trays, spacing them well apart – I allow about six per tray – and cook them in two batches. Bake for 8–10 minutes until golden around the edges but pale within. The lower tray may take a little longer than the top. Leave the cookies to cool for 3 minutes, then loosen them with a palette knife and leave to cool completely. They are at their best the day they are made, while the chocolate is gooey and the outside crisp.
This winning recipe is taken from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible.
And, for more inspiration, have a read of Annie Bell’s 10 top baking tips.