Saturday, 15 March 2008

Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies

After indulging in Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies recently, I have been hankering for more. However, I am lazy and wanted a relatively effortless cookie. I can't say I found a recipe that was as effortless as I wanted, but it did soothe the angry voice inside me demanding a rich, chewy, chocolatey cookie fix.

I recently joined America's Test Kitchen TV OnDemand, as I am obsessive about almost all cooking related shows and this is heaps better than YouTube. As I was thinking about cookies, an email from ATK popped into my inbox with a link to some other type of biscuit, so I clicked it and went off on a merry little search exploring all things cookie in ATK-land. It was quite amusing to DD that once I clicked on the biscuit recipe it dawned on me that it was an American biscuit - aka a scone - and I exclaimed aloud in disappointment. I moved past this though and found the cookie section.

The (perhaps slightly lofty) goal of ATK with these cookies was to find a recipe in which

... the first bite of the cookie would reveal a center of hot fudge sauce, the texture would call to mind chocolate bread pudding, and the overall flavor would be of deep and complex chocolate.

When I read that, I was a little doubtful. However, I did have quite a bit of semisweet chocolate knocking about in my pantry (which included two half-opened packets - one is better quality than the other, so I half and half them) and everything else was easy to hand, so I gave them a try.
Firstly, right at the end of the recipe ATK warns you "Size Matters! The balls of raw dough should be able the size of a golf ball. Don't skimp". The recipe is supposed to make about 3 1/2 dozen cookies, I halved it and made 2 dozen, so mine were a little smaller than a golfball. They were around the dessert spoonful sized and they still turned out huge. I like my rich, chocolatey cookies in smaller doses, so next time I'll make them maybe half the size.

The sizing thing is the only thing I could possibly find wrong with these cookies. They were definately more chewy than the World Peace Cookies, and I found they held together much better than their World Peace inducing counterparts - I had found that Dorie's cookies would crumble as you ate them. The ATK cookies weren't quite as divine when you paired them with a nice glass of milk - Dorie's cookies and milk equalled something close to heaven, but you could quite easily eat more of the ATK ones, which is both good and bad. I think that if you could make Nigella's Molten Chocolate Babycakes into a cookie, they would be something much like these America's Test Kitchen cookies. If that's not enough to make you try them, then I don't know what will!

Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated

1 cup unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
225g semisweet (dark) chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
72g (5 tbs) unsalted butter, softened but still firm
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat. Beat eggs and vanilla lightly with fork, sprinkle coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or with hand mixer), beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds (15 seconds with hand mixer). Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds (1 1/2 minutes with hand mixer); mixture will look granular. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds (1 1/2 minutes with hand mixer). Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds (1 minute with hand mixer). Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until combined, about 40 seconds (1 minute with hand mixer). Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Leaving about 1 1/2-inches between each ball, scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop.

Bake cookies until edges have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes, turning cookie sheets from front to back and switching from top to bottom racks halfway through baking.

Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire rack and cool to room temperature; remove with wide metal spatula.

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