Friday, April 24, 2009

Super Chocolatey Cookies

Most "chocolate" cookies are not very chocolatey. I believe the problem is that they are normally made from cocoa powder, which contains only chocolate solids. Cookies made from coca powder will not have any cocoa butter, which gives richness and savoriness that is sorely missed. These cookies have no cocoa powder at all - all the chocolate flavor comes from actual chocolate - 3 kinds in fact (semi-sweet, bittersweet, and unsweetened) - complete with the cocoa butter. The presence of all that fat makes these cookies quite fudgy - more like brownie bites than cookies. One important thing to note is that this cocoa butter will crystalize and become grainy if it cools too quickly. To prevent this, it is recommended that you let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet set on a cooling rack.

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (not chopped bittersweet bar chocolate - the texture won't be right - I prefer Ghiridelli's 60% cacao chips)
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature (put cold eggs in hot tap water for 2-3 minutes to warm them up)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Hershey's are good)

Create a chocolate melting rig by wrapping a small metal bowl with an electric heating pad and putting that in a large glass bowl. Put the unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate along with the butter in the metal bowl and turn the heating pad on high. Stir every few minutes until the chocolate is smooth and glossy, between 30 and 60 minutes. Remove metal bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly. If you're in a rush, you can use a double boiler, but the heating pad is a lot less stress.

Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer on medium-high until very thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in chocolate mixture until combined, 30-60 seconds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a large, stiff rubber or silacone spatula, fold the flour mixture and semi-sweet chips into the chocolate-egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let thicken for 20-30 minutes, until the batter looks like thick brownie batter or ganache.

Meanwhile, put the oven racks on the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and drop by heaping tablespoonfulls, 2 inches apart (I use a #60 disher). Bake until cookies are shiny and cracked on top, 11-14 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through the cooking time. Let cool completely on the baking sheets set on cooling racks before serving. Makes between 35 and 50 cookies, depending on how heavy you scoop the batter.

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