There is something deeply satisfying about a cookie, especially when it is fat and plump, cake-like on the inside but crackly crisp and caramelized around the edges -- like the ones at Hayley’s Cafe in Sinsa-dong, Seoul.
The bakery-cafe chain, which opened its third outlet near Apgujeong Station last November, serves five kinds of cookies, including an oatmeal raisin and a cranberry variation, but it is the dark chocolate chip that is the most popular at the Sinsa shop, says owner Cho Jae-kun.
Hayley's Cafe opened its third outlet last November in Sinsa-dong, Seoul. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
“We use 75 percent cacao chocolate for the cookies,” said Cho, 35, who studied pastry and confectionary at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney before launching Hayley’s Cafe in 2011 with current locations in Yangjae-dong and Sinsa-dong.
Cho broke down the various components that goes into making his cafe’s toothsome cookies, including when and at what speed to incorporate the eggs to resting the batter overnight in the refrigerator and adding an extra ingredient at the end to give the cookies that special crunch.
Hayley`s Cafe`s massive dark chocolate chip cookie (left) and an Australian-style flat white (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Cho paused, voicing a fleeting concern about divulging all his cookie-making details, before deciding to elaborate further on how he manages to achieve that textural marriage of a snappy, sweet crust with a soft, blondie-like fluff.
Cookies are not the only draw at Hayley’s Cafe.
The Australian-style coffee menu, which features long blacks and flat whites, are equally solid.
Considering that both Cho and the cafe’s managing director Hayley Park, after whom the cafe is named, lived in Australia for over six years, it is not surprising to see flatties, essentially espresso topped with thick, satiny steamed milk called “microfoam” and other coffee-based drinks prevalent in Australia and New Zealand on the menu.
Cho describes the flat whites served at Hayley’s as “nuttier than a latte,” before explaining how he and his managing director extract three espresso shots and create soft, smooth microfoam for a brew that is mild yet potent and creamy.
For those who want a stronger brew, Hayley’s also serves piccolo lattes, which are smaller than flat whites and are crafted with two ristretto shots for a drink that boasts a pleasantly acidic wallop and a prune-like endnote.
All these brews pair well with the desserts and baked goods at Hayley’s, from the popular Earl Grey cheesecake -- a fragrant, near-mousse-like dessert -- to the egg-free Good Morning scone, with its fortifying filling of nuts and dried fruit.
Hayley’s Cafe Sinsa Store
Hayley`s Cafe in Sinsa-dong, Seoul (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
566-10 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, closed Sundays
Desserts cost 3,800 won to 7,000 won, coffee-based drinks cost 4,000 won to 6,300 won
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org