Thursday, June 04, 2009

Quadruple Chocolate Almond Cookies

Can I just say one thing? Making these cookies was hard. I'm serious.

Wanna know why?
You can't bake them right away. That is, you can, and I certainly have (for research's sake!), but you would be cheating yourself. These are just so much better if you let the dough rest.
For at least 24 hours, to be precise. I know. But the NYT said so and who am I to argue. I didn't use their recipe, but I figured if resting makes their cookies better, it probably makes all cookies better.
And that did turn out to be the case. The first batch (baked right away) was good, if a little bland, which was surprising, considering these cookies contain melted chocolate and cocoa in the batter, plus two kinds of chocolate chips. The chocolatey taste did hit eventually, but it wasn't as deep as I expected it to be.
The second batch (baked after approximately 50 hours) was so entirely different that the boyfriend asked me whether I had tried a new recipe. This time, there was that deep, dark chocolate flavor that made the cookies very rich. The elements of the cookie played together way better. My friend said they were like a good perfume - a rich, fragrant base note of dark chocolate that sets off the top notes of nuts and white chocolate. I think she described them well. While the different elements existed side by side before the resting period, they really worked together afterwards.
One caveat, though. These are not chewy cookies. In fact, I found them a little too hard. I overbaked the first batch a little, but I paid better attention with the second batch and took them out when their centers were still very soft. They still turned out crunchy. I think these are just not the type of cookies that can turn out chewy.
As for the nuts, I had whole almonds on hand, so that's what I used. You could also use pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews or walnuts. I wouldn't use macadamia, their subtle taste would totally get lost in the chocolate taste. And macadamias are expensive. I only use them in recipes that make them shine. But feel free to add them if they're more affordable in your part of the world.

And here's the recipe (I got it from a friend a few years ago, I don't know where she got it):

  • 130 g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g = 1 cup vanilla sugar*
  • 75 g = 1/2 cup granulated sugar**
  • 46 g = 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 110 g butter
  • 110 g dark chocolate (I used 60%)
  • 100 g milk chocolate chips/chocolate chunks
  • 100 g whole almonds, chopped in 2 or 3 pieces each
  • 50 g white chocolate chips/chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

*Vanilla sugar is made by processing 5 cups of sugar and a vanilla bean (can be a used one) in a food processor
**If you don't have vanilla sugar, you can use a total of 1 1/2 cups regular granulated sugar for the recipe and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda
  • In a double broiler or a small bowl set over simmering water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl), melt the butter and the dark chocolate together. Let the mixture cool until it feels slightly warm against your skin.
  • Use a finger to test. Then lick off the chocolate butter. It's dark chocolate. It's good for you.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugars until well combined. If you're using vanilla extract, add it now.
  • Gradually add the warm chocolate butter. Or add it all at once, if you're feeling lucky. I always do it in increments, because I'm afraid the mixture could be too warm and I don't want to end up with scrambled eggs. Ugh, scrambled eggs...
  • Now fold in the flour until just incorporated.
  • Add the chocolate chips and the nuts and fold them in.

  • And now, wrap up your dough with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge and forget about it for two days. Or eat some of the dough. It's good already. It will be better in two days, though, so show some restraint.
  • When you're ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • Roll the dough into little balls (4 cm/1,5 inches) and drop them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake them for approximately 15 minutes, or until the tops crack (mine took 12 min.). The cookies will still be soft.
  • Let them cool on a wire rack.
  • These can be stored in a cookie jar for up to a week.
Because these are so crunchy, they're also quite stable. You can dunk them in milk and let them soak it up and they won't fall apart.

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