Tuesday, February 21, 2017

All-day Everyday Chocolate Cookies

A cookie that is more chocolate than it is cookie? It does exist.

Start with 6 oz (that's 170g, about 2 cups chopped, or about 1 and 3/4 Lindt 70% blocks) of chocolate. You know today will be a great day.

Melt it all down gently. When chocolate is the star ingredient, take the time to treat it graciously. For this I recommend using a bain marie, or a water bath.

Pour about 1/2 inch of water into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium or medium-low heat. Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl - such as a metal or tempered glass bowl - that is large enough to rest atop the saucepan but small enough that its bottom fits snugly inside. Not too snugly that it touches the water, but enough that the edges of the bowl are not stretching past the rim of the pan. That means they are exposed to dry heat and is more of an issue if you are using a gas flame. This is less of an issue with an electric stove top.

Set the bowl containing the chocolate over the saucepan and let the steam from the simmering water melt it gently. Stir it occasionally to melt evenly. Once melted, set it aside to cool slightly so that it doesn't melt your creamed butter and sugar mixture.

The texture of these cookies is almost like a shortbread thanks to the high-melting point of cocoa butter that gives these a brittle but delicate crumb. And as with most tender cookies, begin with some light creaming of butter and sugar - not to "light and fluffy" - but just until smooth and paste-like. Over-beating at this stage would make them toooooo crumbly and we have limits here. (Limits that are not obvious when I suggest eating chocolate cookies all-day, everyday.)

Mix in an egg, some coffee and vanilla. Add that cooled melted chocolate followed by the dry stuff. The natural acidity of chocolate will help react with baking soda providing an open crumb, a crackly top and slightly crisp edges.

I hope you make these today, and maybe almost everyday. Why? Because they are easy and they are chocolate and let's not have regrets, ok?

Big love,

All-day Everyday Chocolate Cookies
makes about 24 cookies

6oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa), chopped
6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (145g) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp espresso or strong coffee (1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

Gently melt chocolate in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan containing ½ inch of simmering water and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar using a wide rubber spatula until light, creamy and smooth. It should look like damp sand and more like a paste than an aerated mixture. Mix in egg until well incorporated. Add melted chocolate, coffee and vanilla extract and stir in until combined. Sprinkle flour, baking soda and salt over the chocolate mixture and fold it in evenly.

Turn the soft dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a 12” log, using the plastic to help you roll it out without sticking. Wrap the log in the plastic and twist at the ends. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, until firm. It will firm up quickly as the chocolate sets. If it becomes too hard, let the log stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing.

Slice the log into 24 ½-inch rounds and place on prepared baking tray, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until puffed, slightly cracked and dry looking but still moist in the middle. They will still feel soft when ready but will set as they cool. Transfer trays to a wire rack and let cookies cool for a couple of minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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