Recipe | Chocolate chip cookies from renowned chocolatier
Chocolate enthusiast Naheed Ahmed, who is founder and managing director of The Chocolate Bar an artisan chocolate company based in Nairobi, Kenya has solidified his name in the sweet delicacy world at the tender age of 30.
Ahmed, whose company manufactures a wide range of high-quality chocolate products, started his journey of chocolate making after graduating from Capsicum Culinary Studio obtaining an International Professional Chef Management diploma, Professional Patisserie Programme, Advanced Professional Chef Management Programme and Professional Chocolate Arts and Confectionary Programme.
“As a child, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen hanging around my late grandmother, whom we called ‘Maa’, watching her work her magic,” says Ahmed. “At the time, she was a professional chef and served as an executive chef in various institutions as well as working at five-star hotels in Nairobi.
After completing high school, Ahmed decided that his future lay in a career in the culinary world and he enrolled at Capsicum’s Cape Town campus as a foreign student.
“My time at Capsicum was great! The facilities, the equipment and the quality of lecturers were second to none and they had an extensive list of courses suitable for a chef student like me to explore all areas of the culinary world.”
After graduating at the end of 2013, Ahmed returned home to Nairobi and the start of his entrepreneurial journey.
“I started a small chocolate company in 2014, where we made gourmet pralines, truffles and bonbons and had a small chocolate shop at The Village Market Mall in Nairobi. The kitchen where I made the products was only 55 square metres and I had one employee.”
Fast forward to 2021 and Ahmed now oversees a factory ten times that size and employs nine additional workers, manufacturing chocolate from bean to bar and creating products from truffles to pralines, slabs to spreads and drinking chocolate to ice cream.
Where does Ahmed see himself in five years’ time?
“With continuous investment towards improving our facilities, I hope to increase the annual manufacturing capability from the current five to six tonnes we produce annually to around 20 tonnes or more.”
To celebrate World Chocolate Day - which takes place every year on July 7 - Ahmed shared with us his recipe for the ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Ahmed’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a mixing bowl combine butter, both sugars and cream together.
Add the eggs one at a time while mixing well at each addition. Add vanilla extract
In a separate mixing bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and mix together.
Mix the dry ingredients in thirds into the butter mixture to blend.
Fold in the chocolate chips using a spatula or wooden spoon.
Using a trigger release ice cream scoop, portion the cookie dough onto a lined sheet pan leaving 3-5cm gaps between each cookie.
Bake one sheet at a time at 175°C for 13-15 mins or until the cookies are golden brown.
Visit The Chocolate Bar for more information.