Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Triple Chocolate Cookies
It's because I don't have any of these cookies sitting around, and they are highly addictive. So much so that taking time to write about them makes me twitch, wondering when I can have them again.
I'll try to restrain myself. After all, I've already made them at least twice in the last three weeks, and one of those times it was a double batch for a little occasion. And Thanksgiving, with lots of pie, is just around the corner, followed by the entire month of December, which is a non-stop onslaught of hard-to-resist deliciousness.
But you have likely not had them yet, unless you've been by in the last few weeks, and even then you haven't had too many (like me). So you should make them. Because they're extraordinarily easy to make. As long as you have chocolate around.
But, see, I'm avoiding the subject again. Let me start from the beginning.
I recently picked up a gem of a cookbook. It's not often I find a new cookbook that is worth its paper to me (though I find many useful cookbooks I would recommend to others) because I have a good collection of books and other recipes. And there's typically nothing really educational or new that I will likely make more than once because it's not a fit for me and my family or because it's just not that good. But when I started picking through Chocolate Obsession, a book from Michael Recchiuti (this one, not this one, though I'd be thrilled to meet either), I felt inspired, culinarily-speaking.
I love his simple method for making chocolates. In the past, I've made my fillings, chilled them, rolled them into balls (a sticky, disgusting mess on my hands), chilled them again, then dipped them. Michael recommend making a filling, pouring it into a plastic- or parchment-lined container, setting it up (or chilling it, as I do), turning it out, cutting it into squares, and dipping. If you've ever dipped chocolates, that probably sounds way easier to you. If not, you may not get it. But I'll have another post about dipping chocolates in the future and then you can try it out.
His book also has a recipe for homemade graham crackers that I was anxious to try after having delicious s'mores with freshly made grahams at Pizzeria 712 in Orem (where the s'mores were amazing, but the pizza was, too). I wasn't a fan of Michael Recchiuti's grahams, but it was a good starting point for me, so I can start experimenting to get the flavors and texture I want.
But, so far, my favorite find in the book is these cookies. I rarely find a new cookie I especially like. I've got my favorites: chocolate chunk, cinnamon, molasses-ginger, what else is there that is really, really worth the calories?
The base of these cookies is a sandy, chocolate dough. It has no egg in it, so it has some of the texture of shortbread, but it has some leavening in it, so it's fluffy. The cocoa and butter make it a moist treat that melts in your mouth. To add to the experience, generous chunks of milk and dark chocolate are interspersed throughout the dough. The cookies are small, about two or three bites each (unless you're anxious, I guess), but they're rich and delicious and plenty large for their content.
Since the dough is refrigerated for at least three hours and up to three days, they can also be very convenient. Mix the dough today, bake them off after dinner tomorrow. If you can wait.
Triple Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Michael Recchiuti
1 1/2 c. (7 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 c. + 1 T. (1 1/2 oz.) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 t. baking soda
12 T. (6 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
3/4 c. (4 1/2 oz.) dark brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped*
1/2 t. Kosher salt, or fleur de sel**
3 oz. milk chocolate, roughly chopped
3 oz. dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together in a bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with both sugars, vanilla, and salt on medium, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, incorporating each before adding the next. Mix just until the dough is consistent throughout. Add the chopped chocolates and mix on low until just incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Knead a few times if necessary to incorporate any crumbs.
Divide the dough in half. Form each half into a log about 1 1/4" in diameter by 12" long. Keep the logs an even thickness and tightly formed, with no air pockets inside.
Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days.
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325˚. Line the bottom of a half-sheet pan (12"x18") with parchment or a silpat.
Remove the logs from the refrigerator and unwrap them. Using a ruler to guide you and a sharp knife, cut each log into rounds 1/2" thick. Reshape any slices that crumble. Place the rounds on the prepared pans, 1 1/2" apart.
Bake cookies in the middle of the oven until set but soft enough to hold a slight indentation when pressed with a fingertip, 14-15 minutes. Let cool completely on the pan, then remove to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
*Note: If you don't have a vanilla bean, increase the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon.
**Note: If you are substituting table salt because that's what you have hanging around your kitchen (I'm resisting unkind remarks here, but you should know that table salt is much more bitter), please reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.