There are cookies for different occasions. These ones are for the days when you’re just not sure what to say.

If that’s what your facing –  if you have a pressing need for a pliant, intensely chocolate flavoured cookie, made with unrefined brown sugar and ground oats instead of flour, skip straight to the bottom for the recipe. If you have a little time on your side, read on.

Celebratory cookies are an easy fix.  They’re ebullient and silly, sticky with sweetness and mottled with mix ins. I’m talking about cookies like these indulgent white chocolate and raspberry ones.  (Recipe here).

Functional cookies are a simple matter. They’re designed to address the issue of 10 am hunger pangs and midnight snacking. Cookies like these brown butter and date cookies are perfect, whether it’s to take to someone in hospital, when they’ve just come home, or fuel them through hours of study. (Recipe here)

Cookies to insert into a small chubby palm are often a matter of meld and mix with whatever is on hand. They call for earnest ingredients like quinoa and the brilliant pop of blueberries, so you don’t get derisive looks from the smug mums in yoga gear at the playground when your child toddles over demanding COOKIE at the top of their lungs. (Recipe here)

And then there’s the cookie for other occasions. For those times when life opens its maw and shows you its teeth. When grief knocks loudly on the door. When eating your feelings is the only real option, because at least that way, they’re being swallowed and constrained in some way. These are cookies for those times- for when you want to be able to convey to someone just how truly, truly sorry you are, but don’t quite have enough, or the right words – and you instinctively know that a bunch of flowers just doesn’t say it all.

The Hungry One and I did a good stretch of action research around grief eating. Our prime conclusion would be that it doesn’t always call for 40 course menus or long flights to far flung restaurants (though that can be a worthy distraction). Sometimes a stack of cookies and a little bit of silence is what’s best.  I tried a few versions of these before they found their way home. Some with pureed dates instead of brown sugar. Some with whole oats instead of ground. Some with no flour at all. But shitty times are not a time for puritanism. You want the chewy sweetness of dark brown sugar. You want the hushed comfort of oats (with the added benefit of the low GI oatflour helping to make the sugar high a little more sustainable). You want the brassy grunt of espresso to make the cocoa more pronounced. And you want two types of chocolate; both in the body of the cookie and in deft melty pockets inside.

What is optional is the bristling of sea salt flakes on top. They help bring balance and a savoury note to a sweet indulgence. To me the contrast is key. And if I remember anything clearly about wretched days, it’s that it’s nice for salt to come from somewhere else apart from your cheeks.

I highly suggest making a double batch and keeping one roll stashed in the freezer for when days turn dark for someone in your flock. Then just slice, bake, let cool and eat – then parcel in disposable tupperware and share.

Glass of red wine (or straight gin) on the side is entirely optional.

 Chocolate Oat Cookies

Makes approximately 15 cookies

Shopping/foraging

100 g unsalted butter
100 g brown muscavado sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup oatflour (blitz 1 cup of rolled oats in a food processor until it resembles flour).
3 tbsp cocoa powder
30 g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
1 tsp ground espresso (optional)
Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Method

 1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F and line one or two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2) Beat together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes until fluffy.

3) Add the egg and beat.

4) Fold in the oatflour, cocoa, espresso and chocolate chunks until you have a stiff batter.

5)  Transfer the batter onto a piece of greaseproof paper and roll it out into sausage, approx 5 cm in diameter. Roll both ends of the paper like a bon bon to secure and transfer to the freezer. Either keep it there to slice and bake another day, or leave to set for 10 minutes.

6) Unroll the sausage of batter and slice into rounds of cookie, approx 1 cm thick.

7) Transfer the cookie rounds onto the prepared tray, leaving 3 cm clear around each cookie. Top with a little flaked sea salt.

8) Bake for 10 -12 minutes, until the cookies are firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the baking tray. These will keep well in a tupperware in the fridge for 5 days.