double chocolate oriolos
(from Rose's Christmas Cookies, William Morrow & Co., Inc. 1991)

"These amazing cookies are named for Richard Oriolo, beloved art director and designer for all of my books, because he simply could not eat enough of them. Perhaps it's because they are intensely chocolatey and buttery yet extraordinarily light and so easy to swallow. The chocolate buttercream topping is silky smooth under its crown of crunchy toasted walnuts. It stays spreadably soft for hours at room temperature but hardens overnight or on refrigeration just enough to be able to stack the cookies for packaging. The butter not only enhances the flavor, it also creates the satiny texture and completely keeps the chocolate from streaking when it sets. This cookie has it all--guaranteed to become part of your permanent collection."

Preheat the oven to: 325°F.
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes

yield: 34 2 1/4" cookies


chocolate cookies

  • 1/2 cup + 2/3 cup walnuts, divided
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup (lightly spooned into cup & leveled off) unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch processed
  • 1/3 cup (lightly spooned into cup & leveled off) powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (measured by dip & sweep) bleached all-purpose flour
chocolate walnut buttercream
  • 1 3-ounce bar bittersweet chocolate (preferably Lindt)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
preparation Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Preheat oven to 325°F at least 15 minutes before baking time. Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast them for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

food processor method
Cut the butter into 1" cubes, wrap and refrigerate them.In a food processor, with the metal blade, process the 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) walnuts, cocoa and the powdered and granulated sugars until the walnuts are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is absorbed by the butter. Add the flour and pulse until there are a lot of little moist crumbly pieces and no dry flour particles remain. Dump the mixture into a plastic bag and press it together. Remove the dough from the bag and knead it lightly until it holds together.

electric mixer method or by hand
Soften the butter. Grate the 1/2 cup of walnuts very fine. Sift the cocoa. In a medium bowl, whisk together the grated walnuts, cocoa and sugars. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar mixture until light and fluffy. With your fingers or an electric mixer, mix in the flour until incorporated. (If using the mixer, add the flour in 2 parts.)

for both methods
Measure scant tablespoons of dough. Roll the dough between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Place them 2-inches apart on cookie sheets. Use a flat-bottomed glass tumbler, dipped in granulated sugar, to flatten the dough to about 1 1/2" in diameter.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are firm enough to lift from the sheets but still soft when pressed lightly on top. (Do not overcook or burned flavor will result.) For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer them to racks to cool.

While the cookies are baking, prepare the chocolate walnut buttercream topping:
In the upper container of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water on low heat, or a microwave on high power (stirring ever 10 seconds) melt the chocolate. Remove the upper container from the heat before the chocolate is fully melted and stir until blended. Stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until blended. If necessary return briefly to the heat but do not allow it to become too hot or the butter will separate. Stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Let the buttercream stand at room temperature about 1 hour or until thick enough to spread.

Chop the remaining 2/3 cup of toasted walnuts medium-coarse. Use a small metal spatula to spread buttercream on the cookies. Sprinkle nuts on top. Allow the topping to set overnight at room temperature or refrigerate for 30 minutes before storing the cookies in airtight containers.

keeps: three weeks room temperature, several months frozen.

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