Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bittersweet Decadence Cookies -

Decadent, chocolaty, rich cookies, with very little fat! Now, if this isn't an oxymoron, what is? These cookies from Alice Medrich's Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-The-Mouth Cookies are just that! When I first read the recipe, I read and re-read. Where's the butter? And did I miss the flour? Because this is the first time I have come across a recipe for cookies which has 1/4 cup of flour for 30 cookies. And '2 tablespoons' is hardly the measure which will follow an ingredient like butter - specially when you describe the cookies as rich! But yes, these cookies are made with only so much of these ingredients. And cartloads of chocolate! Not surprising, Alice has named them as Bittersweet Decadence Cookies. Apart from the fact that we adore chocolate, this was another factor that prompted me to bake these the moment I came across this recipe. Decadent cookies with so little butter and very little flour. Intriguing! Am I glad I tried these... they are very chocolaty, rich and soft-chewy when freshly baked. Slightly crunchy after a couple of days. And delicious! And the batter freezes well! So there! Chocoholics - here is a dough you got to have in your freezer and indulge in some chocolaty indulgence which won't leave you feeling very guilty this infectious season of baking...

Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate, some melted and some chopped up chunks in the batter, play the lead role. The flour appears to be there to just help hold the chocolate together. Considering its major role here, the quality of chocolate does make a difference to the end product. Oh, forgot to mention, there is a whole lot of walnuts in the recipe too if you love your cookies really nutty.

I baked these twice recently. The first time, uh, the chocolate I melted was not quite smooth, in fact more like very creamy soft chocolate - Gosh! Have I never melted chocolate or what? (please tell me you have minor disasters like this too!)? But I went ahead and baked the cookies, with half the amount of nuts the recipe called for. And nothing was even remotely drastically wrong with them. They tasted good! Forgiving recipe..Was not so happy with the way my cookies shaped up though, they did not look bumpy and chunky with the reduced nuts. But will melting the chocolate properly make a whole lot of difference? Adding the recommended quantity of walnuts make them look nice and chunky? (God! What we can do for blog pictures!)

So made these again, and dared the chocolate to spite me :) And in went all the nuts. Lot of dough, can't bake more than a few at one go. Some went into the freezer. What a chocolaty, delish, comforting thought!

Hoping I have tempted you enough, shall we head to the recipe now?

Adapted from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-The-Mouth Cookies. In case you are curious to know, this comes under the "Chunky' category in the book. Described as 'Rich as sin, slightly crunchy around the edges, chunky but divinely gooey centers'. Reminiscent of brownies?

Important :The dough is quite runny and will set very soon, in a few minutes. So its important to have enough parchment on hand to place the scooped dough on when it is still soft. You could bake them in batches or refrigerate or freeze for later use.


All purpose flour - 1/4 cup - 33 grams / 1.125 oz
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon
Semisweet or bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped - 232 grams / 8 oz (refer note)
Unsalted butter - 2 tablespoons
Eggs, large - 2
Sugar - 1/2 cup (refer note)
Pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Semisweet or bittersweet or dark chocolate , chopped into chunks - 174 grams / 6 oz
Walnuts or pecans , chopped - 2 cups (read note)

Procedure : Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degree F. Line your baking sheets or trays with parchment. If you do not want to bake or can't bake all the batter at one go, have more parchment cut and ready. You will be scooping the batter and placing it on these when it is still soft.

Mise en place : Have all your ingredients measured out and ready.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk very well to combine. Have a large bowl of simmering water ready on the stove top, a smaller bowl which will fit into it, but not touch the water.

Place the sugar, vanilla and eggs in the smaller bowl.

Melt together the 232 grams / 8 oz of chocolate and butter till smooth either in the microwave or over simmering water. Remember, we need to work quickly to make sure the procedure moves quickly so as to use the chocolate while it is still liquidy and smooth. Set the melted chocolate mixture aside.

Whisk the egg mixture thoroughly with a wire whisk, say about a minute. Set this bowl over the larger bowl of simmering water and stir till the mixture is lukewarm to touch. Make sure you do not heat it too much. When you dip a finger in, the top of the mixture may not feel warm, but the lower portion of the egg mixture will heat up faster. So when you mix, the whole thing will be lukewarm and right. If it becomes more warm than needed, let it cool under the fan. Pray your chocolate doesn't firm up during this time! If you know of a fool proof way to keep the chocolate melted and warm (not hot), do it! And share your tip with me!

Stir the egg mixture into the warm (not hot) chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour mixture, then the chocolate chunks and nuts. It will look like a chunky mixture of melted chocolate and nuts. The batter will not be very firm at this stage but will begin to stiffen almost instantly. Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons (think very small lemon size balls) of batter on the parchment using a cookie scoop. I oiled my fingers very lightly and scooped with my hands as the batter is sticky and I do not have a suitable cookie scoop. Place the scooped batter 1 1/2 inches apart. They will spread, I was able to place 4 small balls at a time on my 9'' square tray.

Bake for 12-14 minutes till the surface of the cookies look dry and are still gooey in the centers. I baked for 12 minutes. If baking in two racks and two trays, rotate in between for even cooking. Set the pans or racks to cool or just carefully slide the parchment with the cookies on a rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container up to 3 days. And do eat some when warm...they taste really rich and chocolaty best.

To make the dough ahead : Refrigerate or freeze scoops of batter until hard. Place in ziplock bags and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw frozen scoops in the fridge at room temperature, place scoops on pans bring to room temperature and bake. I overlooked this part about thawing and baked a few straight out of the freezer, and they were fine.

Please Note :

Chocolate : Alice suggests using 8 oz of chocolate if the cacao is up to 60%. Use 7 oz  if using chocolate with 61% to 64% cacao. The dark chocolate I used did not have any details on the wrapper, I have used 8 0z. Alice says, for the best gooey texture, the cacao percentage in the chocolate and the amount of sugar are important.

Sugar: Add 1 tablespoon more sugar if using chocolate with 61% to 64% cacao.

Nuts : I got delicious cookies both the times, but half the quantity of nuts works better, making the cookies more chocolate rich. I shall stick to using only a cup of nuts or even less next time.

My chunkier cookies...

Another thing I loved about these cookies are - they are rich without being buttery. Taste bestest when warm and on the day they are baked. This is a relatively low fat recipe, am not aware of the fat content in chocolate though. I baked them with not perfectly melted chocolate, probably not the kind of quality of chocolate called for, they did not look perfect. But they did turn out great tasting both the times and that's all that matters to me.

I love Alice for creating this keeper of a recipe, I see myself baking these again and again!

The cookies go my event Cakes And More Cookie Fest, I shall giveaway a copy of Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-The-Mouth Cookies. Hope to see your entries!

This also goes to Pari's Only 'Cookies And Cakes'.


Tina said...

Perfect choco cookies..Sooo tempting.

Hari Chandana P said...

Woww.. looks so tempting and delicious.. thanks for the wonderful recipe :)
Indian Cuisine

Archana said...

These look fabulous !!! Awesome recipe...

Priya Suresh said...

These cookies looks absolutely sinful and irresistible..

Rachana said...

Scrumptious cookies! Loved the recipe.

Unknown said...

wow, that sounds like my kind of cookie.

Unknown said...

Sinfully delicious...tempting to the core

chef and her kitchen said...

Don't u think that those cookies kick our taste buds like anything?? I m just drooling over that dark chocolaty cookie...yummmy

Ms. S said...

That looks delicious! Definitely on my weekend baking list:)