It’s no surprise around our house that when I get ready to bake cookies, it usually means I’m craving chocolate. True, I sometimes distract myself by making other kinds of cookies, but every time I take a test-nibble of a freshly-baked gingersnap, shortbread or snickerdoodle all I can think is how much better they’d be if only I’d thrown a scoop of cocoa or a handful of some chocolate chunks in the dough.
I tell myself that responding to my brain’s internal cry for some dark, sweet chocolate has some kind of medicinal effect on me – at least if seems that way, because I always feel a lot better after consuming some.
I flagged the page with this chocolate cookie recipe – adapted from one by French pastry master Pierre Herme – from Peggy Knickerbocker’s cookbook Simple Soirees. Not only did the name of this recipe call out to me with the words “chocolate” “crispy” and “creamy”, but I liked the idea of an icebox cookie; you can make the dough a few days ahead (or up to 3 months if you freeze it) and simply slice off what you need and then bake.
But, cookie bakers beware – the original recipe as printed in the book is incorrect!
I came this close to making a big chocolate mess of good cultured Plugra butter and pricey Sharffen Berger chocolate. When I mixed up the dough – right after adding the 1/4 cup flour called for, I had a soft blob of chocolate-flavored butter that I knew would never bake up into a respectable cookie. I decided to do a little research before baking.
Phew. Baking Disaster averted.
The cookies turned out just fine, although the dough does crumble a bit when slicing and I’d describe them as more crispy than creamy – mine were soft inside, but not really moist enough to be called creamy. But they are sweetly, demurely, bite-sized – perfect for those private feed-the-craving moments.
Do you want to win a trip for two to Napa Valley? I do too! Enter the Death by Chocolate Contest over at Culinate starting February 4 through February 8. Vote for your favorite chocolate post (mine would be nice) and at the same time YOU are entered in the sweepstakes. Fingers crossed…
Crispy Creamy Chocolate Cookies
adapted slightly from Peggy Knickerbocker
1/3 cup excellent-quality cocoa powder such as Scharffen Berger * see note
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or fleur de sel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces excellent-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Sift together the cocoa powder, baking soda, and flour. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer, cream the butter until smooth, add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and blend again.
Add the salt and vanilla and blend for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on the lowest speed until the ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be crumbly. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Turn the dough onto a work surface. Press the mixture together with your hands, forming a ball. Cut the ball in half and work each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can enclose in foil and freeze the logs for up to 3 months – thaw slightly before slicing)
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Place the rounds on the baking sheets, 1 inch apart. If the cookies break apart, press them back together.
Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. The cookies will not be firm nor appear to be done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the sheet on a wire rack until they are barely warm. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.
* The original recipe calls for sweetened cocoa powder; I didn’t have any, so I increased the amount of granulated su
gar from 1/4 to 1/3 cup.