I have a confession to make. Until last week, I haven't made cookies in years. So many years, in fact, I can't recall the last batch of cookies that I baked. This lapse in cookie baking is due to my daughter, Maddie. Once Maddie was old enough to bake, cookies were her thing. If our family and friends wanted cookies, Maddie happily obliged their cravings. Maddie makes excellent cakes, too. Me? I continued on with the fussier side of baking, making delicious pie crusts and triple chocolate meringues. But now that Maddie's away at college, if I want cookies, it's up to me to make them.
I was invited recently to a photography event and the hostess asked for all the attendees to contribute to a potluck meal. I adore chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted to shake things up a bit and that's when my mind began wandering through the halls of time to recall other superb cookies from my bygone cookie baking days. It didn't take long for me to fondly recall my sister Linda baking up batches of cookies when my daughter was small and we all lived together for a brief time in 2001 before our world got permanently turned upside down after September 11th. This browniesque cookie is our favorite from that time.
The recipe is adapted from a Baker's chocolate recipe called Death by Chocolate Cookies. Linda changed the recipe a bit, which she always seemed to do, based upon her years spent as a pastry chef in the Santa Ynez Valley. The recipe couldn't be easier. All the kitchen equipment you need is a large glass bowl, a whisk, some measuring utensils, a couple cookie sheets and an oven and your on your way to producing an excellent batch of cookies. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Linda's Double Chocolate Cookies
I garnered a lot of compliments over the cookies at the photography event. One of the models commented that the chocolaty-nutty mound was perhaps the best cookie she had ever tasted. She was also happy to learn that the cookies are incredibly easy to make.
I switched to Ghirardelli chocolate after Cook's Magazine performed an in-depth taste test across multiple brands and applications and declared the 60% baking bar the overall winner. It's a great all-purpose chocolate that works well in Juliette's Chocolate Prune Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Silk French Pie and Chocolate Pudding. I like other brands too, but Ghirardelli is easy to source because it is stocked by most grocery stores, including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods Market.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate baking bar, 60% Cacao, Ghirardelli recommended
1-1/2 cups firmly packed golden brown or dark brown sugar, I like C&H
1/2 cup butter
4 large or extra-large eggs
2 tsps vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
4 cups chopped nuts, optional
12-ounces chocolate chips
Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil or Silpat
|I prefer to cut chocolate on waxed paper so that it is easy to transfer|
the chopped chocolate to a bowl.
1. Chop chocolate into small chunks and shards with serrated knife and transfer to a wide, shallow glass bowl. Melt chocolate, uncovered, in microwave. Heat on medium high for one minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Repeat, heating at shorter intervals for 15 to 20 seconds at a time and stirring in between. Repeat until the chocolate is melted and completely smooth. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double-broiler on the stove.
2. Stir in sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir in baking powder and flour. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Let rest in refrigerator about an hour to firm up a bit.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Scoop balls of dough onto the sheets. Bake 12-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. Cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool. Yield: about 3 dozen.
"In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips." —Unknown