I find it all too easy – especially in the tedium of lockdown – to become obsessed with perfecting a recipe. In January, I was determined to find the trick to making the ultimate gluten free choux pastry (still an ongoing quest). After a long conversation about cookies with my friend Anda a few weeks ago, it became my mission to make the perfect gluten free white chocolate and miso cookies. I’ve made countless classic chocolate chip cookies in the past, but I knew that the addition of miso and white chocolate would change the structure and quality of the dough.
The first batch I made were good – but not good enough. They were too thin, which made them bendy once stored, and they were ever so slightly greasy to the touch. Chocolate chip cookies are strangely deceptive – although they seem like an accessible, ‘Everyman’ bake, even the slightest change to the recipe can produce fairly drastic results. The type of sugar, for instance, is instrumental to a good cookie dough; using only white sugar will yield a pale and more brittle cookie. I find that a balance of caster sugar and dark brown sugar here gives a result that is crisp-edged, chewy in the middle and wonderfully caramelised. Some bakers barely cream the butter and sugar, others beat them together for up to ten minutes, whilst some swear by browned butter. The ratio of raising agent is also very important. Too much, and the cookies will rise too high and then deflate; too little, and the cookies will be dense and cakey.
This recipe uses the ‘pan banging’ technique popularised by Sarah Kieffer, which essentially ensures a flat cookie with a crisp edge and chewy middle. Try not to skip the chilling process here – the world won’t stop spinning if you do, but chilling the dough will drastically enhance the texture, flavour and appearance of the finished cookies.
A note about miso: brands can really vary in their saltiness and pungency (I use Waitrose white miso). I recommend adding it to the batter a teaspoon at a time and tasting as you go to find a balance that works for you.
Makes 16-18 medium sized cookies
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
85g caster sugar
65g dark brown muscovado sugar
4 tsp white miso paste
1 large egg, at room temperature
200g plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm gluten free plain flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped
- In a medium bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and fork together to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand-held electric mixer and a large mixing bowl) beat together the butter and sugars on a medium speed until fluffy and very pale in colour – about 5 minutes. As you mix, scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula to ensure everything is thoroughly and evenly mixed.
- Add the miso, mixing until just combined, then add the egg, again scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and mix at a medium low speed. Beat until roughly combined, and then add the remainder of the dry ingredients and beat for about 10-15 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.
- Tip in the chopped white chocolate and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a lid, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably 8-24 hours.
- When you’re ready to bake the dough, preheat the oven to 160°C fan (or 180°C) and line two large sheet pans with greaseproof paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and, using a tablespoon measure or small ice cream scoop, scoop out as many cookie dough balls as you can from the dough. Arrange the balls of cookie dough on the sheets, leaving plenty of space for them to spread – I do about 4 cookies per tray. (If you have any cookie dough you don’t want to use right away, you can freeze the balls of cookie dough and bake straight from frozen at a later date).
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. About 8 minutes into baking, open the oven door and raise the cookie tray by a few inches, then use a little bit of force to tap the tray against the oven rack, so the cookies deflate a little. Close the oven door and let the cookies bake for another minute, then tap again. Bake them for another minute, then tap for a third time. Bake for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until they are golden, crisp around the edges and just set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the trays for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat as necessary until all the cookies are baked. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.