I love watching cooking shows. Many cooking shows instruct the viewers on how to make an easy breezy dinner for four in twenty minutes or a eye popping dessert for your next potluck.
But to be honest, rarely do viewers actually make the recipes. We all know it’s way more difficult than it looks, and we really just enjoy the process and flavors vicariously without the need to experience it directly.
A few weeks ago, we watched Nadiya’s Time to Eat on Netflix with her simple recipes for busy parents. Despite being the target demographic, I wasn’t actually planning to make any of the recipes until she presented this crazy pan cookie recipe.
No rolling out individual dough balls. No monitoring oven temperature. Just everything in one pan on the stove. More than a dozen recipes in, I was down to try something new.
The recipe called for a 9 inch non-stick pan. I have a large 12 inch non-stick pan and a small 8 inch non-stick pan, both with flared sides. The 8 inch seemed closer, so I started on that by melting the butter and mixing in brown sugar.
The pan already seemed pretty full, so I considered switching pans. It seemed safer not to crowd the pan, but I wanted to stay as faithful to the recipe as possible, so I stuck with the smaller pan to add the dry ingredients.
Finally, I added eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. The last was a surprise ingredient, and I wasn’t sure whether it was common to British recipes, Nadiya recipes, or this recipe.
Then, the dough is patted down smoothly
And covered with 200 grams of chocolate chips. For fun, I decided to mix a few different types. Even accounting for the pan size, that is a ton of chocolate chips.
The next step is to let it cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat. She suggests putting a lid on it for the last few minutes, but I was concerned about it cooking all of the way through, so I put the lid on immediately.
I kept it on the heat for more than twice as long and kept checking, but it wasn’t baking through all the way to the center, where it was still raw (roughly 150F).
I considered how to fix it, but wasn’t thinking of good solutions. Whether popping it in the oven under a broiler or flipping it to get the heat on the top, the basic problem was that I had covered the top with chocolate that might burn before cooking the inside through.
Thankfully, at least the cookie was cooked across the bottom, so it slid out of the pan easily. I then went for the unusual move of scraping as much of the chocolate off as I could.
Then flipped it over in the pan and cooked it through.
After pulling it out and flipping it back over, I lightly fried the chocolate and batter mixture I had scraped off, then spread it over the top for a less than impressive presentation.
We let it cool briefly, then sliced it into 16ths to eat. The almond flavor was quite present. Overall, I think the cookies turned out surprisingly fine despite the baking mishaps, which confirms my theory that as long as you don’t burn anything, cookies will turn out fine.
So what went wrong?
Well, as I was writing this post, I went back to the recipe and saw that it actually says it has a “gooey centre.” However, if you look at the picture in the recipe itself or the episode, the center clearly isn’t raw like mine was. On a separate note, the recipe picture clearly has far fewer chocolate chips, and Nadiya uses M&Ms (actually probably Smarties in the UK), so there have been some adjustments.
If I did the recipe again, I would use my larger 12 inch non-stick pan. The 12 inch diameter is measured across the top, but if you measure the diameter of the bottom in contact with the stove, that’s closer to 9 inches. Looking at Nadiya’s pan, hers has straight edges, and the bottom diameter perhaps is a better measure for the necessary thickness.
However, I glad I went through this process. It validates the importance of figuring out how to adjust recipes for the equipment on-hand. Also it reminded me that I should really read a recipe more closely about what the expected result is.
If you want to try making a stovetop cookie in a sufficiently large pan, you can find the recipe on the BBC website.