Chocolate Chunk and Marzipan Cookies

Amongst heaps of other festive foods, I absolutely love marzipan. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Nigella and certainly have never made my own. There's been a supermarket box stashed away in my kitchen for some time. It did have grand expectations of making its way onto this year's Christmas cake, but that never happened. Neither did plan B, stollen bites. And so, when I finally decided I really ought to dust off my apron and get baking I opted for something far simpler and far quicker. You may not be a fan of marzipan, but I am fully confident that these guys will convert anyone.

These chocolate cookies are perfectly gooey in the centre, crisp on the edges and stuffed full with big chunks of dark chocolate and marzipan. I would say that I took some into the office for my colleagues like I intended, but its probably more honest to say that I demolished the lot myself. I intend to make a further batch to stash away in the freezer ready for boxing day or any cookie related emergencies in the next coming weeks, if I don't eat them first. If you wish to do so too, just form the cookie dough into a sausage and wrap well in cling film. From frozen, slice into half inch thick discs and bake for 12-14 minutes until crisp on the edges and wobbly in the centre. Otherwise just read on and follow the regular recipe.

C H O C O L A T E   C H U N K   &   M A R Z I P A N   C O O K I E S
(Makes 16 cookies)

125 unsalted butter, softened
200g soft light brown sugar
1 medium egg
2tsp vanila extract
175g plain flour
25 cocoa powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g marzipan, chopped into small cubes
100g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract gently until combined. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a separate bowl to remove any lumps. Add to the butter mix and mix with a spatula until just combined. Fold in the marzipan and chocolate chunks and chill the cookie dough in the fridge for an hour.
  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line two baking sheets.
  • Use a tablespoon to dollop small balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to grow.
  • Bake for 11 minutes until crisp on the outside and soft in the centre. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes on a wire cooling rack before serving.

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

We may well be fully in the midst of winter now but I'm still not completely done with Autumnal recipes. This week I've already eaten pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta and now pumpkin brownies. The partnership of rich, dark and fudgey brownies goes brilliantly with a little swirl of spiced pumpkin. Trust me, give it a try.

S P I C E D   P U M P K I N   S W I R L   B R O W N I E S


3 eggs
275g caster sugar
175g salted butter
300g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
175g plain flour

Pumpkin swirl:

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 tbsp caster sugar
170g pumpkin puree

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 20cm square baking tray.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined and set aside.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate together over a pan of barely simmering water, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Return to the eggs and sugar and whisk once again until pale and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture and combine.
  • Gently fold in the flour using a spatula, careful not to over mix.
  • Mix together the pumpkin ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin. Dollop the pumpkin onto the top and swirl using a skewer.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top will be firm with a wobble in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to fully cool on a wire rack before chilling in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours (I like to leave mine overnight). This allows you to slice the squares neatly. Serve from room temperature though to ensure the optimum level of fudginess.