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For Chocolate Lovers only
 

Chocolate cake


OCTOBER 2002
RECIPES



Mud Pie Cookies

Two-Tone Coconut Crunch Squares

Chocolate Architecture 101

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Sweet Spot

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Mud Pie Cookies

Tips: Have you ever wondered exactly how much chocolate it’s possible to pack into just one cookie? While I’m not claiming any records here, these cookies, of unprepossessing appearance but deep chocolate flavor and fudgy texture, might help you to find out. They honestly do look like the drop cookie equivalent of mud pies. While you can use supermarket-bought chocolate chips for the semisweet chocolate in the recipe, I would recommend against that. I’ve tried it, and it works, but I’ve also made these with better-quality chocolate, and the results were a great improvement. You can vary the 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate called for by substituting up to a few ounces of bittersweet, but do not use bittersweet chocolate for the majority of the 12 ounces; if you try this, the cookies will not be sweet enough. You might want to experiment here to see what suits you best.

I’ve seen similar recipes that call for melting the butter with the chocolate. Don’t do it!!! You can melt butter with chocolate successfully, but only if the proportions are right. Butter contains water, and there’s not enough butter in this recipe to allow the water to blend well with the chocolate; your chocolate will seize up into sludge and become useless. Make sure that your eggs are at room temperature when you beat them, as they’ll attain much greater volume that way. Once the cookies are baked, store them airtight at room temperature for up to a day, or freeze for longer storage. It is very important not to overbake these, or they’ll lose their fudgy texture. You’ll need an electric mixer to make these—use either a stand mixer or a powerful hand-held. As it can be difficult to judge when these are done, it may be a good idea to bake two or three cookies first as your “test”cookies, so you can get an idea of baking time. In addition, nonstick cooling racks and a nonstick, broad-bladed metal spatula are handy for these, but if you don’t own any, simply spray your utensils very lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate (see recipe introduction), divided
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs, graded “large”, at room temperature
  • Optional (but good): 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm

You can use either aluminum foil or baking parchment to line your cookie sheets for this recipe. Because the cookies spread, I place only 12 on a 15-1/2 inch by 10-1/2 inch baking sheet. Tear off or cut enough foil or parchment for the number of baking sheets you’ll use, even if you don’t have that many sheets (for example, I need a total of three baking sheets to bake all the cookies, so I’ll cut three foil or parchment sheets to size, even though I only have two baking sheets with which to work). The reason you do this now is a peculiarity of this cookie dough, which must be portioned out as soon as it’s completed. Once portioned out, it can stand at room temperature until you have room in the oven for it, but if it stands in the bowl for any length of time after you’ve finished mixing it, it becomes too stiff to portion out neatly, and the resulting cookies will not look attractive.

Chop 6 ounces of the semisweet or bittersweet chocolate into smallish chunks (about the size of a chocolate chip or a little larger); set aside in a small bowl. Finely chop the remaining 6 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and the 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and place the two into a medium heatproof bowl. Set this bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Set aside to cool until just warm, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use either a medium bowl (if you’re using a hand-held mixer) or a small bowl (if you’re using a stand mixer—if so, use the whisk beater attachment). Place the eggs and optional coffee granules into your bowl. Begin to beat on a low speed, then gradually increase speed to high. Beat for about 1 minute, then gradually begin to add the sugar, about 2 Tbsp. at a time. Continue beating at high speed until about half the sugar has been added, then reduce speed while you add the vanilla. Increase speed to high once more; continue beating while you gradually add the rest of the sugar. Beat until the egg mixture is very fluffy, very pale, and greatly increased in volume, about 7 minutes with a powerful hand-held mixer and 4 or 5 with a stand mixer. Pour in the butter (which must not be hot), but do not mix in. Add the barely-warm melted chocolate (which also must not be hot); immediately beat the mixture at medium speed until the chocolate is partially incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove your bowl from it if necessary; with a large rubber spatula, quickly fold the mixture over on itself repeatedly until it is an even color (you must work quickly here, as if your eggs retain any chill they can harden the barely-warm melted chocolate). Add flour mixture; with large spoon, stir in until almost combined. Add chocolate chunks and stir to distribute evenly. Dough will be soft and glossy.

Portion out dough by well-rounded tablespoons (not measuring tablespoons) onto prepared foil or baking parchment sheets. Slide a baking sheet under one of the filled foil/parchment sheets and place it into the preheated oven.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes, turning baking sheet back-to-front once about halfway during baking. Cookies will puff and spread slightly, and parts of them will take on the semi-glossy finish of a baked meringue. Cookies are done when you see cracks in the meringue and the centers are barely set. Do not overbake! Upon removal from oven, allow cookies to stand on sheets for three full minutes (for a foil-lined sheet) or two full minutes (for a parchment-lined sheet) before gently removing to cooling rack with a broad-bladed spatula. Be careful! These cookies are fragile when hot, and the chocolate chunks remain “melty” for a couple of hours after baking.

Cool completely at room temperature before serving or storing (the cookies will deflate slightly as they cool). Store airtight at room temperature for up to a day, or freeze for longer storage.

Yields: About 30 cookies

© Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; “mirror” or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

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