3/29/12

Baking on Friday (Thursday edition): Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies

Before I tell you about what I baked, I have to tell you that I finished the 64 log cabin blocks I was making for the Home is Where the Heart Is quilt yesterday.  Can you believe that this quilt is almost finished?  After more than two years, I think I will actually finish the quilt today!


The borders are long . . . 16 log cabin blocks each, and so I have them laid out on my design carpet (which I first "vacuumed" using my photo-editing software).  I'm only showing you just the one corner.  They are laid out in a pattern so that the corners come together correctly.  I know if I don't lay them out N, S, E, and W, that I will get them sewn on incorrectly.  Once those are sewn on, then I'll have one more border, and the whole thing will be finished! I can hardly wait to get at it.

First things first, however.  You don't want to know about boring borders, do you?  You tuned in to see the cookies, didn't you?  Admit it.  Cruel of me to talk about borders when I enticed you here with Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies, isn't it?


Since I'm trying to lose weight, these aren't exactly on my diet.  However, Matthew's birthday is coming up on Monday.  He's a poor, starving student down in Klamath Falls, and so I'm sending him a little care package to enjoy for his 28th (oh, the pain) birthday.

This recipe is so yummy.  It was first published in Cook's Illustrated.  I believe I first saw them make these on their PBS television show, America's Test Kitchens.  These are so rich, chewy, and chocolaty.  They are everything a brownie should be, but contained in the tidy package of a cookie.  Yum!  And, have you heard?  People who eat a lot of chocolate actually weigh less than people who eat less chocolate!  Honest!  Check it out!  I'm absolutely sure these cookies will make you weigh less.  Eat all of them in one sitting and imagine the weight you could lose!

So, here's the recipe.  Prepare to be amazed at this diet food (she scoffs).

                     
Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies
Yield:  About 3 1/2 dozen

2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate -- chopped
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter -- softened
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 oz.) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) 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, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds.  Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; mixture will look granular.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds.  Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula.  With mixer at low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  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-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F.  Line two baking 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 ice cream scoop.

Bake, reversing position of baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until edges of cookies have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes.  Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature.  Cover one baking sheet with new piece of parchment paper.  Scoop remaining dough onto parchment-lined sheet, bake, and cool as directed.  Remove cooled cookies from parchment with wide metal spatula and serve.

NOTES : To melt the chocolate in a microwave, heat at 50 percent power for 2 minutes, stir, then continue heating at 50 percent power for 1 more minute.  If not completely melted, heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds at 50 percent power.

My notes about the recipe:  Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop will make it easier to scoop the dough.  The dough will be stiff and thick.  While the recipe as printed makes quite a deal about not over-baking the cookies, I have found under-baking them to be a problem.  Ten minutes baking time is what is printed in the recipe, but in my oven, I needed to give them an extra two minutes.  The will be done when they appear dry and very fine cracks begin to appear, although they will still feel quite soft.  They will firm up as they cool, and leaving them on the baking sheet for the ten minutes indicated will give them a perfectly crispy texture on the bottoms.

Also, did you know there was a difference in cocoa?  I didn't until I saw these cookies baked on America's Test Kitchens.  Apparently Dutch process chocolate has a superior flavor for baking, and so that is what I use now.  It is available in your grocery store, and the label will indicate that the chocolate has been Dutched.  According to Wikipedia, Dutch chocolate has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and to give it a milder taste when compared with natural cocoa.



5 comments from clever and witty friends:

iluvmybugs said...

Love those log cabin blocks..great color combo! Thanks for the cookie recipe...they look yummy!
~Terry~

Mrs.Pickles said...

everything looks lovely!

My Sister Made Me Do It.... said...

yes and everything looks yummy too!

Teresa in Music City said...

Great job getting your log cabin blocks done! I know you are very glad! Those cookies look almost too good to eat ... thanks for the recipe! My grandkids will love them!

Wendy said...

Yes, you enticed me with your cookies but I also love log cabin blocks so that was a treat as well. I rarely bake so if you have extras, feel free to send 'em my way. ;) Btw, love your method of "vacuuming"!