“These are the best cookies you’ve ever made,” Andy exclaimed.  He doesn’t remember all the old ones that were also The Best but that’s ok, it is good to live in the moment. Kind of reminds me of my mom – but with pizza – wherever we go it is the best ever (as long as it is not in her hometown!)  Greg said, “they enthrall me,” and Sylvie’s comment was “dense, fudgy, silky.”  Rob ate one happily – his only comment being that they were too small 🙂  I loved them btw – couldn’t stop nibbling before dinner – and then post dinner had them in my ice cream.  Delicious.  Today I’m staying away, and luckily Greg’s friends who were here last night and today ate a whole bunch.  Thank goodness for hungry 15 year olds.  This recipe is one I found in Sarabeth Levine’s cookbook From My Hands To Yours.  I couldn’t resist because she wrote that she’s been making them steadily for 30 years and always sells out.  She described them as chocolate heaven.  I agree.

BTW, nuts are optional as always – I made the cookies with, and with out and it was like two totally different desserts.  I happen to love both.

sarabeth’s chocolate cookies:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
9 ounces semisweet (no more than 62% cacao), chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups (5 ½ ounces) chopped pecans (toasted if possible), optional
1 ¼ cups (4 ½ ounces) chopped walnuts (toasted first if possible), optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toast nuts if you can (have time) until fragrant.  Line sheetpan with parchment paper.

Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Put the butter in a wide, heatproof bowl, and melt the butter over the hot water in the saucepan.  Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate, stirring often, until melted and the mixture is smooth.  Just melt the ingredients – do not cook.  Take off heat when melted and let cool slightly.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Whip the eggs in the electric mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand held beaters) on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla. Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 4-5 minutes.

Lower the speed to medium and beat in the cooled chocolate.  Switch to the paddle attachment and on the lowest speed add the flour mixture.  Mix to just incorporate.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts, making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed at the bottom of the bowl.  (Nuts are optional.)  Don’t overmix.

Scoop the batter onto the prepped sheetpans.  I used a 2 inch ice cream scoop.  Place the cookies about 1 ½ inches apart.  Bake the cookies immediately—if you wait, they won’t be shiny after baking.  Bake – and rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking.  The cookies are done when they are a set around the edges (if you lift a cookie from the pan, the edges should release easily, even if the center of the cookie seems underdone).  Do not overbake.

The recipe calls for 17-20 minutes but really the time depends on how big your cookies are, and how many pans you have in the oven.  Just keep checking because the beauty of these cookies is there warm chocolate richness that comes from almost slightly underbaking.  Cool completely on the baking pans. (The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 3 days.)

Enjoy –

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