April 17, 2012

Recipe: Ginger Molasses Cookies

My brother made some of these ginger molasses cookies over the winter break and I rather enjoyed them. They have a crisp exterior but a chewy interior and they sort of resemble a cross between gingerbread and spice cookies.

Later I asked my brother for the recipe and he happily passed it along, mentioning that he originally got the recipe from his friend Kristin. (They’re yummy, Kristin!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp ground ginger (ground ginger from the spice aisle is fine)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened or at room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp non-fat plain yogurt (or, if you don’t have plain yogurt, you can add an additional 3/4 cup butter instead)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar with 1 tsp kosher salt mixed in with a fork

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt—set aide.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 sec to soften. Add 2 cups sugar, beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in yogurt, eggs, and molasses until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. If need be, use a wooden spoon to stir in any remaining flour mixture.

  4. Shape dough into 1 1/2 to 2-inch balls. Roll balls in the 3/4 cup sugar (that you had mixed with the kosher salt). Place dough about 2 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

  5. Bake at 350° for 12–14 minutes. If baking multiple cookie sheets at a time, swap sheets halfway through. Bake until cookies are light brown and puffed. Do not overbake! Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Jan. 2, 2012

Recipe: Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

I had been looking for a good recipe for some time and I finally found a bruschetta recipe that I liked on Allrecipes.

There’re not a lot of fancy ingredients here, but what I especially like about this recipe is that it calls for a thin layer of herb-cheese spread on the bread before one adds the tomato mixture. That rather effectively keeps the bread from becoming soggy, which is great if you may be setting out the bruschetta as hors d’oeuvres that need to last through a cocktail party or the like.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar [Among supermarket brands, I quite like Lucini Gran Riserva Balsamico.]
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced [Apparently a Microplane can work well for this, if you have one.]
  • 7 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 sourdough baguette, cut into ½" thick slices [I like to cut the bread on a bias to create a larger surface area for each slice. Plus it looks nice too.]
  • 1 (4 oz) package semi-soft cheese with garlic and herbs (such as Alouette)
  • (optional) Shredded deli Parmesan, to taste [This is often sold in a small circular tub of about 2" high and around 4" across.]

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic, chop the basil, and then whisk those together with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl.

  2. Chop the tomatoes and stir those into the mixture with the whisk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (You’ll need to add salt and pepper, stir, and repeat the process a couple times—it may take three sets to get the mixture properly seasoned.)

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 20 minutes. (The plastic wrap should be right on top of the tomato mixture to prevent it from drying out.)

  4. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Spread the bread slices in a single layer on a large baking pan.

  5. Bake in the oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

  6. When the bread is cool, spread the semi-soft cheese evenly over each slice. Using a slotted spoon, spoon some of the tomato mixture over each slice. (You may as well leave the bread on the baking trays for this step; that way, if any of the tomato mixture topples over the sides, it’s not a big deal.)

  7. Optional: If desired, sprinkle some shredded deli Parmesan over each slice and, on the broiler setting, slide the bread trays back into the oven, taking them out once the cheese becomes melty.

  8. Depending how hot they are, you may need a spatula to transfer the bruschetta to a serving tray. (Sometimes a wooden cutting board can work nicely for this.) They’re ready to eat immediately.

If desired, the tomato mixture can be made a day ahead of time. In fact, a little extra marinating of the ingredients can make the final product all the more scrumptious. Just be sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge.

Aug. 16, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Back at my old job, my friend (and coworker at the time) Matt brought in some chocolate chip peanut butter cookies into the office a few months back. They were pretty yummy—the cookies were soft and full of peanut flavor. I recently asked Matt for the recipe and he was gracious enough to mention that I could share it as well:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup sugar (set aside in a small bowl for in which to roll the cookies later)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy (or chunky) peanut butter [I used Skippy Natural creamy peanut butter when I made a batch recently and that seemed to work out pretty well. —Alex]
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. flour
  • 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°

  2. Combine sugar (just the first cup), brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, baking soda, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Add the flour about ½ cup at a time. This makes it easier to mix by hand, but it also helps you achieve the right dough consistency. You want the dough to be as moist as possible, while still peeling cleanly off your finger. Much dryer than that and the cookies will be cakey. Not dry enough, and they'll be too doughy.

  4. Mix in the chocolate chips.

  5. Using a small spoon, scoop out little clumps of dough and roll them in the small bowl of sugar you set aside. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet (no need to grease it).

  6. Bake each batch for 8–10 minutes. You want to take them out just before they look done and let them continue to bake outside of the oven on the hot cookie sheet for a few minutes.

These are probably my favorite chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and I’ll definitely be making these again. Om nom nom.

Oh, and on a side note, while I normally go for just-peanuts peanut butter (the kind with “Peanuts, salt” as its only ingredients), I’ve learned that most recipes that call for peanut butter usually do so under the assumption that you’ll use pre-sweetened peanut butter. So, if you’re buying peanut butter that you plan to use in a baked good (such as cookies), I’d recommend buying one that includes sugar among its ingredients. (And though its name may imply otherwise, Skippy’s Natural line does include sugar.)

Dec. 26, 2008

Recipe: Harry and Janie’s Raspberry Pecan Feta Salad

The Dallas Camera Club occasionally has one or two potluck meetings each year and one of the dishes that I’ve always enjoyed over the years was Harry and Janie Rumberger’s Raspberry and Feta Salad which they would often bring.

A month or two back, I got around to asking them for the recipe since I had wanted to make the recipe for Thanksgiving. As it turns out, the recipe isn’t too complicated, but it comes out great every time.

Harry and Janie’s Raspberry Pecan Feta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-oz box of mixed greens of your choice [I found these in one of the refrigerated cases next to the produce]
  • 1 6-oz box of fresh raspberries
  • 1 4-oz package of plain feta cheese
  • About 1/4 pound of candied pecan halves, coarsely chopped [I found these with the other bagged nuts in the baking aisle]
  • 2–4 Tbsp Ken’s Non-fat Raspberry Pecan Dressing (or Ken’s Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette), to taste

Directions:

  1. Toss dressing and greens.
  2. Add cheese and toss very briefly.
  3. Add raspberries and nuts last and stir just to mix, being careful not to crush the berries or get too much dressing on the nuts.

Dec. 17, 2007

Blondies Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen - Blondies

The Dallas Camera Club has a potluck holiday party each year and, after thinking about it for a bit, I decided to make some blondies for this year’s party. (Blondies, in case you’re not familiar with them, are like brownies but without the chocolate; they’re a bar cookie which generally have a butterscotch-type flavor.) Well, to be sure, that I kinda had in mind was something like the Sheila’s Dream Bars from Potbelly Sandwiches. To be honest, I’m not even sure if Sheila's Dream Bars qualify and blondies, but that was my best guess — they're moist and dense bar cookies (in the way that a good brownie would be) with oats and chocolate chunks.

As a side note, I’m apparently not the only one looking for something analogous to Sheila's Dream Bars. One guy even wrote to Potbelly to ask for the recipe (but was politely declined). I also came across an attempt at a clone recipe at AllRecipes. Interestingly enough, one reviewer “was trying to duplicate the very addictive Sheila's Dream Bars from Potbelly” and went on to say that “these are EXACTLY what I was looking for” while another reviewer said that they’re “not even close to Sheila’s Dream Bars at Potbelly Sandwich Shoppe”. Great. How’s that for indecisiveness?

Since I didn't really want to take a chance on a recipe which was a toss-up between being “exactly” or “not even close” to what I was looking for, I turned to America’s Test Kitchen to get their take. (America’s Test Kitchen is a half-hour cooking show on PBS. Made by the same group that publishes Cook’s Illustrated magazine, the two groups are known for testing dozens of variants on a recipe before selecting their favorite which they then publish.)

I had recently picked up a couple DVD box sets of past seasons from the show and so I flipped through those to see if there was a blondie recipe. As it turns out, there was (it was from the 2005 season, for those curious). And, pleasantly enough, the recipe wasn’t too complicated either; with the exception of the chocolate chips or pecans, you might even have most of the other ingredients in your cupboard already (flour, eggs, sugar, and so on). The recipe also called for melted butter, so there wasn’t even a need for a mixer — only a spatula to fold some ingredients together.

Next up: the recipe; after that, I’ve included some comments on how they turned out.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2) ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (These can be toasted by putting them on a pan and placing them in a 350° oven for 5-7 mins.)

Directions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with 2 pieces of foil. Coat the foil-lined pan with vegetable cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.

  4. Fold in the semisweet and white chocolate chips and the nuts, and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.

  5. Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, for 22 to 25 minutes. Place the pan on a rack and let cool completely (about an hour). Cut into 1 1/2- by 2-inch bars.

Makes 36 bars.

I’m generally pleased with how these blondies turned out — they’re tasty and I have few worries about having any left over at the end of the holiday party. Still, I’m not sure they exactly matched how I thought they’d turn out (more on that in a bit). In preparation for writing this post, I took a notebook with me to the kitchen and jotted down a few thoughts as I ate one of the blondies:

  • Aroma: Right out of the oven (or out of the RubberMaid cookie container), these have a pleasant butterscotch aroma.

  • Texture: Their texture, for the post part, is quite good. They tend to break apart easily in your mouth without being fragile enough to crumble apart in your hands.

  • Density: This is one of the few gripes that I had — these have a density quite similar to a cake-style brownie. Now, if that's your bag, you're all set. For me, though, I tend to prefer more of a gooey brownie and I think that type of texture would have been my preference here.

  • Other notes: The flavor white chocolate chips came through quite well. That’s all well and good, but I think I would have preferred if the semisweet chocolate chips could have taken a more prominent role. In fairness, some rejiggering of the ratio between white chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips could probably take care of this. (Or, if you really like white chocolate, the recipe could probably remain unchanged.)

In all, I think I’d give these blondies about a 7/10. They’re quite good and, for all I know, they might represent the Canonical Blondie Taste™. I think it just happened to work out that I was making a recipe for something which the recipe might not have been aiming for.

Jan. 21, 2005

Recipe: Chocolate and Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I brought some cupcakes in to work last week and I thought I’d share the recipe here. Thinking over what I should bring, I was looking for something more substantial than a cookie, but still hand-held (for the sake of easier office eating). I soon narrowed it down to cupcakes and I looked through the cupcakes section of AllRecipes to see if anything caught my eye — and the Chocolate & Cream Cheese cupcakes sounded pretty good.

So, I bought some cream cheese and cocoa over the weekend and made the cupcakes later that week. I made them with Splenda and I’m pleased with how they turned out. And, other than the flour and chocolate chips, the cupcakes were relatively low carb (well, by cupcake standards, anyway). There’s also a photo of the cupcakes at the RD2 blog. Anyhow, on to the recipe:

Black Bottom Cupcakes I

Prep Time: approx. 30 Minutes
Cook Time: approx. 30 Minutes
Ready in: approx. 1 Hour
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes (24 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips [regular-sized chips worked fine for me]
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar [or Splenda, natch]
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder [I upped this to a heaping 1/3 cup, as recommended in the reviews]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water [I used a cup of milk instead, as recommended in the reviews]
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Line muffin tins with paper cups or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. [I both lined and sprayed, just to be sure.]

  2. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir together until well blended. Fill muffin tins 1/3 full with the batter and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture.

  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes [I only baked mine for about 20 minutes, as recommended in the reviews].

The only change I might make would be to make extra cream cheese topping next time, as I almost didn't have enough for all of the cupcakes. But, other than that, I think I’d make these again sometime.

Dec. 22, 2004

Don’t Bother With This Nutella Brownies Recipe

I enjoy some of the cooking shows on Food Network and one of the episodes of Sweet Dreams (a show on desserts) focused on just brownie recipes (w00t). And, rather than Gale (the host) coming up with her own recipes, she baked brownie recipes submitted by viewers. One in particular, the Peanut Butter-Hazelnut Brownies, caught my eye. Of course, the “hazelnut-chocolate spread” to which they refer in the recipe is really just Nutella.

That recipe sounded pretty good to me at the time and so I exported that episode from my TiVo to VHS for safekeeping. Then, when the December Cocktail Event/Holiday Party came up, I figured that I could put the recipe to good use. So, the weekend before, I bought all the ingredients which I didn’t already have — which was primarily flour, cocoa powder and Nutella. And, on Tuesday evening (the day before the party), I baked the brownies.

Per the instructions, I baked the brownies at 350° for 30 minutes and then I let them cool to room temperature before cutting. In my case, the brownies weren’t quite cool when I was heading for bed and so I left the cutting for the following day. Then, after work that next day, I proceeded to cut the brownies and place them into a rectangular Rubbermaid container for the party. And, as I am wont to do, I tried one to ensure that they turned out all right.

It was horrible.

Somehow, the brownie had completely dried up; I was actually so dry that I needed a glass of water to help wash it down. And, the peanut butter and Nutella flavors were nowhere to be seen. Figuring that maybe the outside edge had dried, I then tried a square cut from the center — no such luck, it was just as bad. I couldn’t even make it through eating the whole square and I ended up throwing out the batch. Of course, I still had to bring something to the party (“a snack or dessert”) and so I stopped by Super Target to buy some cookies from their bakery department.

Not to be discouraged, I recalled that the Dallas Camera Club’s Holiday Dinner was coming up (which was also a pot-luck) and I decided to try the recipe again. Fortunately, I had enough ingredients left over from the first attempt that I didn’t need to go back to the store. So, as before, I followed the recipe exactly but I baked the brownies for just 15 minutes this time, and added increments of 5 more minutes until a knife came out clean (for a total of about 23 minutes).

Of course, I had to allow the brownies to cool before cutting them and so I didn’t know right away whether I had succeeded. And, the following day, I sliced the brownies into squares and sampled one — it was distinctly moister but still a bit chalky. After rummaging through my cupboard, I found a legacy can of frosting (left from a former roommate) which I thought to try (Betty Crocker's “Rich & Creamy Mint Chocolate Chip”, fwiw).

The frostiing was a little hard to spread, right out of the can, but I nuked it for about 15 seconds which softened it up. And, I ended up using the whole can on the brownies’ 9x13 pan. I then sampled a square once more and found that this was reasonably all right. It wasn’t the best batch brownies I had ever had, but the frosting pushed them over the line from “bad” to “ok”.

Considering the ingredients, Nutella and peanut butter, I didn’t think I could go wrong. But, this recipe confounded me. I suppose can’t rule out that maybe my oven’s thermostat could be miscalibrated, though that wouldn’t explain the good results I’ve had with other baked goods. Anyhow, if you’re looking for a Nutella-based brownie recipe, I would try something else. And, if you can get this recipe to come out deliciously, then you’re a better man/woman than I.

Dec. 18, 2004

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies

I brought along some Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies to the LucciHouse Holiday Party last weekend and I thought I’d share the recipe here:

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 cups white sugar [I used Splenda instead]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter [I used creamy peanut butter instead]
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and peanut butter until smooth. Combine the flour and baking powder, then stir into the peanut butter mixture. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the dough out flat on the prepared pan.

  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops of the bars look dry. Cool in pan, then cut into squares.

I got the idea for blondies from a cookie run earlier that week — Leia and I walked to Eatzi’s to grab some cookies from their bakery section. In addition to a dozen peanut butter cookies, I also picked up a peanut butter blondie. It was pretty tasty and I pondered whether I could make some myself.

So, I checked AllRecipes’ cookie section and searched for blondie recipes. While there were a fair number of recipes for regular blondies, there were relatively few for peanut butter blondies (why, I have no idea). In addition to the recipe on which I decided, I also considered the recipe for Best Ever Chocolate-Free Blondies but I ruled that one out as I didn’t want to deal with peanut butter chips (at best they tend to resemble peanut butter).

I was pleased with how the blondies turned out, though their consistency was different than I had expected. The blondie which I had at Eatzi’s was fairly chewy but these were flaky in texture. Their texture was almost like that of a thick peanut-butter flavored sugar cookie. I’m curious whether swapping the sugar for Splenda, as I did, had any effect on their chewiness.

Aug. 5, 2004

Recipe: Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Dallas Camera Club meets twice a month and members take turns bringing in snacks (chosen by rotating through the membership list). Tuesday’s meeting was my turn to bring in snacks and so I decided to bake some cookies. Sure, some people just stop by Kroger and buy a box of cookies, but I figured that baked cookies would be much nicer.

I stopped by AllRecipes a few days ahead of time to select a recipe. Once in their Cookie section, I headed straight for the subsection on Chocolate Chip Cookies. It's not that I had ruled out other cookie types, but I thought I had a good chance of finding a workable chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Fortunately, all the recipes at AllRecipes are rated (on a scale of one to five). With dozens of chocolate chip cookie recipes, I just ignored all the non-5-star entries. And, I had in mind more of a soft cookie (rather than crunchy) and that further narrowed the playing field. And one that I finally settled on was called (simply) Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. In particular, the tagline sounded enticing: “Crisp edges, chewy middles”.

As the recipe called for chocolate chips (as you would expect) but also chopped walnuts, I thought I'd have to make a special trip to Super Target for sure. But, I glanced through my pantry beforehand and it turned out that I had all the ingredients already.

When it came time to bake the cookies, the recipe was actually a little easier than I expected. There was no melting of any kind (neither butter nor chocolate) and there're only three steps in total (the first of which is “preheat oven”, so that one hardly counts, even). The one nebulous portion of the recipe was the baking time — “Bake for about 10 minutes […] or until edges are nicely browned”. I don’t like guesswork when it comes to recipes and so I just went with an even 10-minutes for the first batch (well, actually 5 minutes + 5 minutes, as I swapped racks halfway through).

After that first batch, the edges were slightly browned, but who was I to say if that meant “nicely”? To be sure, I baked the second (and third) batches for 11 minutes (5 minutes + 6 minutes) and those were slightly more golden-brown around the edges.

Once they were baked, I set them aside on cooling racks and, as soon as they were cool enough not to burn my tongue, I snarfed one. It was still gooey, of course, but rather tasty. In some ways, it still even had that cookie-dough flavor (as opposed to most other recipes where the cooked product is decidedly different from the raw edition). But, I made a mental note that I'd have to allow them to cool fully before forming a final opinion.

So, the next day, I had one with breakfast (ooh, decadence) and it wasn’t quite the cookie that I recalled from the night before. It was soft, to be sure, but the edges never hardened. Really, it was just soft the whole way through — and some people like it that way, but not me. I wanted that delicate ying & yang of crispiness and softness, but to no avail. So, sure, these cookies are good in the general sense that all cookies are yummy, but I get the feeling that there may be a better chocolate chip cookie recipe out there.

In any case, here’s the recipe.

“Best Chocolate Chip Cookies”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar [or Splenda, natch]
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175 degrees C).

  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

  3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned. [11 minutes was an improvement for me, and 12 minutes may be even better]

July 8, 2004

Recipe: Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies

I brought along some chocolate chocolate-chip cookies to the Independence Day party on Sunday and I thought I’d share the recipe here. Back when I first received the Evite to the party, I noticed the request for desserts and side dishes and I immediately began to ponder what I could bake.

Being the chocolate nut that I am, I decided fairly early on to go with something chocolate-based, but it was only after watching some TiVod episodes of America’s Test Kitchen that I happened upon the idea of chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. (For those not aware, America’s Test Kitchen is a cooking show on PBS which goes through dozens of iterations for each dish before publishing the recipe that works best).

Fortunately, their recipes are also online (for the recent couple seasons, anyway). And, while the as-televised recipe is for Double-Choclate Cookies, their site also lists a varation which I could not ignore: Triple-Chocolate Cookies. For those keeping score, the double chocolate cookies include Dutch-processed cocoa along with a pound of melted bittersweet chocolate. The triple chocolate cookies include those ingredients plus chocolate chips. Well, on to the recipe:

Double-Chocolate Cookies, Thick and Chewy Cookies

Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies

To melt the chocolate in a microwave, heat at 50 percent power for 2 minutes, stir, then continue heating at 50 percent power for 1 more minute. If not completely melted, heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds at 50 percent power. We recommend using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to scoop the dough. Resist the urge to bake the cookies longer than indicated; they may appear underbaked at first but will firm up as they cool.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

    Some—but not all—supermarkets carry Dutch-processed cocoa. If your local supermarket doesn’t have it, one place where you can definitely find it is at Penzys Spices, including their store just off Preston & 635.

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups packed (10 ½ ounces) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

  2. Melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat. Beat eggs and vanilla lightly with fork, sprinkle coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.

  3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; mixture will look granular. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Leaving about 1 ½ inches between each ball, scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with 1 ¾-inch ice cream scoop.

  5. Bake, reversing position of baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until edges of cookies have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature. Cover one baking sheet with new piece of parchment paper. Scoop remaining dough onto parchment-lined sheet, bake, and cool as directed. Remove cooled cookies from parchment with wide metal spatula and serve.

Variation — Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies:

If you like bursts of warm melted chocolate in your cookies [and who doesn’t? —A], include chocolate chips in the batter. The addition of chips will slightly increase the yield of the cookies.

Follow recipe for Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies, adding 12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips to batter after dry ingredients are incorporated in step 3.

The only downside to the recipe is that it can take longer than other cookie recipes (especially including the 30-minute wait-time after mixing the dough). All the same, I was really pleased with the results and I think these Triple-Chocolate Cookies may be my new favorite cookie :).