Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Double chocolate espresso cookies - thick and chewy

“A” had a cookie swap last weekend. She invited a bunch of people over for soup and a chat and asked everyone to bring a batch of cookies. At the end of the get-together, everyone packed up an assortment of the cookies. A very cute idea!

I'm not much of a cookie maker; I'm much more of a cake baker. I love a classic chocolate chip but I was sure someone else would cover that territory. Instead, I revisited a few recipes I've used lately and combined them to create thick and chewy double chocolate espresso cookies using both white and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I love a good thick cookie and somehow my cookies often turn out fairly skinny. I've read various articles about the science of cookie making and how to create thicker vs. thinner cookies (and chewier vs. crispier cookies) with a dizzying array of conflicting advice (all this in and of itself worthy of investigation in a post!). The advice involves creaming the butter and sugar longer or using melted vs. room temperature butter, chilling the dough, using more vs. less dough, letting cookies cool on cookie sheets vs. transferring them to a rack, etc.,

I checked Cooks Illustrated's The New Best Recipe because I was sure they'd have a reliable basic chocolate chip cookie recipe for thick and chewy cookies and then I decided to pump up the flavor by decreasing the flour and adding cocoa powder to make a chocolaty cookie and adding some espresso powder. I used white chocolate chips in half of the dough and semi-sweet chips in the other half to create some variety. The most interesting part of the Cook's Illustrated version was the way they suggested creating the dough balls. The result was a very irregular, large, thick, artisanal looking cookie which was just what I was after!

S's double chocolate espresso cookies (adapted from Cook's Illustrated's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Makes 15-18 cookies

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons espresso powder (finely ground espresso bean - not instant)
1/2 cup good unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet and / or white chocolate)

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat liner

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt together in medium bowl; set aside

Mix butter and sugars together until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in chips to taste.

Roll 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth dough's uneven surface. Placed formed dough balls onto cookie sheet, leaving 2 1/2 inches between each ball.

Bake, reversing positions of sheet halfway through (from top to bottom and front to back) until cookies start to harden at edges yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets. When cooled, peel cookies from parchment.


Anonymous said...

These were most excellent -- I couldn't stop at just one ... or two ... or three ... now, off to the gym

Anonymous said...

yum. I'll try myself and see how I do with these

Anonymous said...

One cookie that was swapped:
Martha Stewart's Vanilla Chocolate Wafers

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen
Vanilla and chocolate are tastefully intertwined in the yin and yang-inspired design of these buttery cookies. Enjoy a bite of pure vanilla or rich chocolate, or try a combination of both.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1. Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low.Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

2. Remove half of the dough; set aside. Add cocoa powder to remaining dough; mix on low speed until well combined. Turn out chocolate dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-inch log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with reserved vanilla dough. Wrap each log in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until slightly firm, at least 30 minutes.

3. Press handle of a long wooden spoon into side of chocolate log, making an indentation along its length. Roll handle into and then away from log, creating an apostrophe shape. Repeat with vanilla log. Fit logs together; press lightly to seal. Gently roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If dough becomes too soft to slice cleanly, return to freezer until firm.

5. Bake until firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Anonymous said...

Also featured at the cookie swap:
Raspberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookies Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

1/2 cup raspberry jam or jelly
1 tablespoon Chambord or kirsch
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.
In a small bowl, combine the jam and Chambord. Stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather the dough together into a ball.

Pinch off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Use your floured index finger or 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of the jam mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Anonymous said...

yum yum - these cookies sound decadent. What could be better than chocolate & expresso together.
I'll get my supplies & use them on the next snowy day.
Thanks for sending!

Anonymous said...

The cookie shot looks tempting. I just baked me a fresh batch of choc chip cookies, and although I personally like the thin crispy kinds (makes me feel less guilty), Im now interested to know the science behind cookie making, and how to get a thick chewy one. Might give yours a try!

TICE said...

Hello Sabra !
Incroyable de te retrouver sur la toile ! c'est ta petite clairette, te souviens-tu ? Tes constructions en papier mâché, tes jeux de pistes avec Valérie, tes grandes ballades à Val d'Isère, tes fameux cookies (je vois que tes talents culinaires ne t'ont pas quittés, ton blog est magnifique, tes photos sont superbes), et puis cette semaine chez toi avec ta maman et ta soeur...
Je serais trop contente d'avoir de tes nouvelles ! Que deviens-tu ?
Je t'embrasse fort, fort, fort,

Sabra said...

Claire! Quel surprise!!!! Est-ce que tu es tombée sur mon blog ou tu m'a cherchée??? Incroyable! Merçi beaucoup d'avoir ecrit! Je ne trouve pas un email pour toi sur ton blog - est-ce que tu peux me l'envoyer? Tu peux trouver un email pour moi sur le droit de la page. ça fait longtemps que je ne parle pas français c'est un peu difficile!
Je t'embrasse très fort - des nouvelles quand j'ai ton email.

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