If you spend a lot of time on the food internet it’s almost certain you would have encountered the now-famous Alison Roman’s salted butter & chocolate chip shortbread cookies. They went viral. I saw them so many times it was impossible to ignore them. I also thought I simply HAD to make them because how good can a chocolate chip cookie actually be?
She claims to have made her favourite rendition of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, preferring to embed the chips in classic shortbread dough and then roll that in brown sugar giving it an insanely delicious crunchy texture. It’s genius!
I grew up loving Angel biscuits in South Africa. Soft biscuits shaped like angels’ wings half-shrouded chocolate, and I couldn’t get enough of them. Sadly these were discontinued but the taste will live forever. Alison Roman’s cookies took me straight back to the taste of Angel biscuits, and for that, I am truly grateful.
I’m obsessed with shortbread and I even included four different versions in my cookbook Sweet. There was one with chocolate middles (probably coming close to the flavours going on with these cookies), and then the best ever-classic recipe I had encountered. Adding chocolate to shortbread just makes it a whole lot better.
This recipe was easy to make and I followed it to a T. The only thing I found was that once the dough had chilled in the fridge it became quite hard, making it more difficult for the sugar to really stick when you rolled it. Next time I will do the sugar rolling before it goes in the fridge.
She uses salted butter like it’s a revelation, but I only ever use it. For one, unsalted butter is even more outrageously expensive than salted butter in South Africa and I have baked with both and can never tell the difference. In 95%- 100% of baked recipes where unsalted butter is used salt is added, so until someone can explain to me in a way that I can understand how taking the salt out of the butter first and then adding it back into the recipe makes it better, I’m not buying it.
Salt amplifies the flavour of sweet (salted chocolate and caramel duh), so why would you want to take it out? I love that she used it in the recipe and then added a sprinkle of sea salt flakes to finish too. This is the way I like to roll.
I gave most of the cookies away because I simply have to around here, but stashed a few in the freezer for when I want to bring back childhood memories. Also when I want to eat something delicious. If I’m going to spend the calories, I want to make them count.
By the way, they freeze very well and are completely delicious eaten straight from frozen which is just 100% pure TROUBLE.
Just make these soon and be happy that you have a delicious baked treat in your repertoire.
You should of course use really good quality couverture, but I ended up using a lower quality dark chocolate and they were still delicious.
Also, I’m #sorrynotsorry I took so many pictures of these cookies. I got carried away in the moment of shooting them. These things happen around here.
The recipe is slightly adapted (metric measurements and method) from Alison’s cookbook Dining In on the Bon Appetit site
Alison roman’s choc chip cookies
- 260 gm/ 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 2¼ sticks cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
- 175 gms / 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate roughly chopped (you want a few bigger chunks)
- 1 large free-range egg beaten to blend
- Demerara sugar for rolling
- Flaky sea salt such as Maldon
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, two sugars and vanilla on medium until light and fluffy (about 3 -5 minutes)
- Scrape down the bowl and then continue mixing on low. Add the flour slowly while the mixer is still running. Then add the chocolate in the same way.
- Divide the dough and half and roll each half into a log shape of around 5 1/2 – 6cm / 2 1//4 inches in diameter.
- Brush the outside of the logs with beaten egg and roll them in demerara sugar to form a light crust. It is easier to do this while the dough is still soft.
- Wrap the dough logs in cling film and put the fridge to firm up for a few hours.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180c/350F and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
- Cut the cookie into rounds about 1.2cm or 1/2 an inch wide and place them spaced out on the sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes and until the edges are just starting to turn brown.