For Chocolate Lovers only
Mocha-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I understand that it’s summer. I know it’s at least 85 degrees F. outside right now, probably with a humidity level that’s curling the fur on your kids’ plush toys. But sometimes you just need a cookie. These aren’t very complicated and don’t take long to bake; if you like, make up the dough in the evening, chill it overnight, and bake the cookies early in the day (the dough will become very stiff if you do this, but it can still be handled). These cookies are nice for a picnic or as an informal dessert for that cookout you keep telling your neighbors you’re going to have. They’re probably best served to adults, as they’re less sweet than some.

As with most cookies, these are best when very fresh. They’ll keep for a day or so at cool room temperature if stored airtight, and they freeze well for longer storage. You can use chocolate chips instead of chunks if you prefer; you can even add chopped nuts to the recipe if you like nuts in your cookies (if you’re going to do this, I’d use walnuts or pecans, and I’d reduce the quantity of chocolate chunks to about 6 to 8 ounces, or roughly 1 to 1-1/3 cups). The one odd aspect of this recipe is that it never seems to make the same quantity of cookies twice. I’m not certain why this happens, but luckily it won’t be a big deal in most cases.

Yield: 45 to 55 cookies

  • 3/4 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp. hot water
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, fluffed with a fork before measuring
  • A large pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg, graded “large”
  • About 11 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks or chips (this quantity is flexible)

In small cup, dissolve instant coffee granules in hot water. Set aside to cool. In another small cup or bowl, melt unsweetened chocolate; set aside to cool.

In small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, and salt. Sift in the baking soda. Stir until blended; set aside.

In medium-to-large bowl with large spoon, cream butter, both sugars, and vanilla until well-blended and somewhat fluffy, a minute or two. Beat in egg. Scrape bowl and spoon frequently with rubber spatula during mixing process. Add melted chocolate, which may still be very slightly warm, and stir in thoroughly.

Add flour mixture and cooled, dissolved instant coffee; stir in until just blended. Add chocolate chunks or chips and mix until evenly distributed. At this point, I like to chill the dough for at least an hour or for as long as overnight. If you’re going to chill it for a short time, cover it with plastic wrap. If you’ll chill it overnight, cut a circle of paper towel slightly larger than the top of your bowl, and place the circle gently on top of the bowl before covering it all tightly with plastic wrap (this way, when condensation forms, the paper towel will absorb it before it can drip into the dough).

While dough chills, adjust rack to center of oven. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil. 

If you’ve only chilled the dough for an hour or so, you can work with it right away. If the dough has chilled for some hours, you may need to let it stand, covered, at room temperature for up to an hour, and even then it will probably still be pretty stiff. Plan accordingly. About 15 minutes before you’ll start baking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Use either a 1 inch cookie scoop or two teaspoons (not measuring teaspoons) to form balls of dough a generous 1 inch in diameter. I place 12 balls on a 15-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch foil-lined cookie sheet. (If the dough is very stiff, scoop out the approximate amount you’ll need and place 12 mounds on your baking sheet, then go back and gently roll each into a ball. Re-place the ball of dough on the cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers.)

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for about 7 minutes, turning each sheet back-to-front about halfway through baking time. These spread somewhat but not as much as a regular chocolate chip cookie. When cookies are done, they’ll have lost their “raw” look and will be somewhat puffed up in the center; if you touch the center of a cookie lightly and carefully, it will still be rather soft. Do not overbake! Remove from oven; allow to cool for a minute or two before transferring cookies from baking sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely before storing.


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