One of my very nicest postdocs just discovered that the freezer had defrosted, taking all her experiments with it. Her partner, another particularly delightful postdoc, had a Bad Grant Day. And one of the PhD students came into my office asking the sort of questions about my job that suggest that her write-up is not going well. Altogether a No Good, Very Bad Science Day.
It will come as no surprise to you that my response to distressed scientists (to distressed anyone, really) is to feed them. Besides, my lab is full of deserving scientists who could use more chocolate in their lives…
Your Shopping List75g butter, softened 60ml canola oil (1/4 cup, if you are going metric) 100g caster sugar 110g brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg 100g rolled oats 150g plain flour 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 180g good quality dark chocolate, chopped. I mean it! 70% cocoa or more, please – choc chips just will not have the same effect.
Now what will you do with it?
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line two or three baking sheets with baking paper.
Mix together the butter, oil and sugars until well combined, then add the egg and vanilla. Mix well, then stir in the rolled oats.
Add the flour, bicarb and baking powder together, and mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate. While on the subject of the chocolate, please note that you really shouldn’t try to use more than 180g. The original recipe, before it mutated, called for 150g of chocolate, and I kept increasing the chocolate until I was using so much that the biscuits all fell apart because there wasn’t enough dough to hold the pieces of chocolate together. So I can tell you with authority that 180g is the most you can get away with here. Maybe 185g, but don’t tell anyone I suggested that. Besides, if you use 180g, then you have 20g leftover, which isn’t really enough to save for another recipe, so you’d better eat it. Also, I highly recommend Lindt 70% dark chocolate for these cookies – but if you are making a double batch, I’ll sometimes use some Lindt 85% and some Lindt 50%, just for variety in each mouthful.
Anyway, now that you have stirred in the chocolate, roll the dough into little balls and put them on the baking tray. The little balls should each be about the size of a walnut, but mine frequently become chestnut sized. Or larger.
If you make them smaller, they will work just as well, but your biscuits will be more modest (and you should probably reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes). But the good thing about smaller biscuits is that you can feed them to people who wouldn’t eat the large ones because they are on diets or trying to be healthy (and how silly of them – what could be better for you than low-GI rolled oats and really good, high-antioxidant dark chocolate? Not to mention all the endorphins that come from eating such a yummy snack…).
Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until very lightly browned. They will be very soft straight out of the oven, so cool them on their trays for five minutes before transferring to a rack. Have one right now, warm, with a glass of milk. Quality control is important – you can’t go feeding your traumatised scientists insufficiently delicious cookies!