Saturday, May 8, 2010

Leaving You With A Little Something

My sister Allison and I are off to Europe tonight (in theory, if the volcano would please dear god just stop spewing crap into the sky so our plane can leave).  We're visiting Ireland, Scotland and Amsterdam in honor of her graduation (with honors, yay Ali!), and very belatedly in honor of graduation (or so I like to tell myself, since I started working immediately upon graduating...times were different back in 2006, when there were jobs...) I don't know much about the food cultures of those places, other than boiled meat, sausage, and cabbage, so I don't know if I will be returning with any great ideas, so I wanted to leave you with one cookie recipe that will absolutely knock your socks off, so you have something to bake in my absence. 

My dad has always had a soft spot for this incredible triple or quadruple-y chocolate cookies from a Boston bakery chain called Rebecca's.  These cookies are so intense that he eats one over the course of several days, and if you ask for a bite he'll give you a piece about the size of your thumb nail, which is kind of stingy (sorry, Dad), but in fact is all you really need, because they are just that powerful.  It has been a personal mission of mine to bake something for him that matches Rebecca's cookies in intensity, and I think I have finally found that recipe.  I was waiting for my dad's approval before writing about them, because I didn't want to share something that was just so-so.  Fortunately, these cookies are not so-so, not even close!  (A few of my prior attempts, which I found delicious, did not make the cut, by his standards.)  These cookies come from Baker's Illustrated by way of Brown Eyed Baker, which is also the blog that turned me on to the Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies a few weeks ago.  They are triple chocolate, and totally amazing.  Along with the Thick and Chewys, I may never try any cookie recipes ever again.  I just don't need to, these are just THAT GOOD.

So without further ado (and apologies for being a lazy photographer, yet again), the recipe, in its original quantities.  When I made these I halved the recipe, because one man, even a chocoholic like my father, does not need 42 cookies at once.  Fortunately it halves very nicely.  It also gives the dry ingredient measurements in ounces, which is great if you have a scale. 

Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies (From Baker's Illustrated and Brown Eyed Baker)
Makes about 42 cookies 

* 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
* ½ cup (1½ ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* ½ teaspoon salt
* 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 4 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
* 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
* 1½ cups packed (10½ ounces) light brown sugar
* ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
* 12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

 1. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Melt the chocolate, stirring a few times, until smooth, then remove from the heat. (Alternatively, you could melt the chocolate in the microwave, just be careful to check it often, so it doesn't overheat and scorch.)

2.  While the chocolate is melting, beat the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl, then sprinkle the coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in the sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; the mixture will still be quite granular. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat. Fold in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone mats. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a medium ice cream or cookie scoop, spacing the mounds of dough about 1½ inches apart.  (If you don't have a scoop, make balls of dough that about the size of ping pong balls)

5. Bake until the edges of the cookies have just begun to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.  Don't over bake these--You want them to stay soft and chewy!  Cool the cookies on the sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling to room temperature.  Cool the baking sheets before scooping more dough onto them (I pop mine in the freezer for a few minutes to expedite this); the parchment paper can be reused. 

ENJOY!!!  And don't miss me too much while I'm away :)

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