Fairtrade Brazil Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy New Year!

I have not written for a few weeks because of all the Christmas related rush and also because I suffered a minor concussion in a freak accident in the park (me being the freak)… which kept me away from my laptop. Anyway, I’m back and now that all the lovely Christmas -overindulging, buying way too much stuff you don’t need and generally ‘treating’ yourself and everyone you know-  period has passed, I started to think about what recipe I wanted to try next,  and I guess like everyone in January, I considered for a minute looking for some kind of ‘healthy’ recipe…but then I looked outside (cold, wet, dark and rainy… again!) and quickly came to my senses! there is no way I can deal with winter in the UK without something naughty to compensate for the lack of endorphins my body is suffering by not seeing the sun… ever….and so, for all of you rebels out there who are also resisting the urge to diet I selected a really naughty recipe that my husband has been requesting for a while… Fairtrade Brazil Nut and chocolate chip cookies (American style… big and gooey and yes… completely unhealthy!).

But before I get to the recipe itself, I wanted to just say a little bit about about my ‘star ingredient’:  Brazil Nuts. These delicious nuts only grow in the ‘amazing’ Amazon region (I’m sure the word amazing must come from Amazon!) mainly in Brazil and in the north of Bolivia… in the tallest and most majestic trees one can imagine. They are not ‘cultivated’ like most Fairtrade products and instead grow wild in the forest and are gathered by producers who often risk their lives going deep into the jungle to collect them. Fairtrade is incredible and transformative in many ways for many producers and  countries, but for me, Fairtrade Brazil Nuts represent an extra special success story that has the added benefit of having offered people from the region an alternative to cutting down the forest in order to obtain an income. I was lucky enough to visit the region a couple of times and it was incredible to fly into Cobija, in the north of Bolivia, and to see the devastation on the Brazil side of the border, where so much of the forest has been cut down in order to introduce bio fuels and/or cattle, and to hear from experts on the ground that once that forest has been cut… it will NEVER recover and grow in the same way again. Especially the Brazil Nut trees, which in many cases are hundreds of years old. The fact that there is an international fair market for Brazil Nuts has had a direct effect on the preservation of this incredible forest… and that really  makes me feel like buying lots more bags of stuff and  to feel less guilty about the naughty cookies I baked and ate! Ingredients: 250g plain flour 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 170g unsalted butter, melted 200g dark brown soft sugar 100g Fairtrade caster sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 egg 1 egg yolk 150g Fairtrade Dark Chocolate 150g Fairtrade White Chocolate 200g Fairtrade Brazil Nuts Method:  1) Sift together the flour, bicarb and salt; set aside. 2) In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and caster sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. 3) Chop the nuts and chocolate

4) Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand using a wooden spoon. 5) Let the dough rest. I read in many recipes that it’s great to ‘age the dough’ so I actually left it in the fridge overnight. 6) Drop cookie dough onto the prepared baking trays, with each cookie around 2 tablespoon of dough.  Do not flatten the dough. Keep cookies apart since they will grow. 7) Pre-heat the oven to 170C and then bake for around 12  minutes until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking trays for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Voila! The Verdict: AMAZING. I will definitely will make them again. Next time I will probably not use white chocolate, since it didn’t really add much and made them a bit too sweet for me… and might add some more nuts. TRY THEM, they are super easy and you will never crave another cookie so bad… Just a few photos of my visits to the Amazon below…