Monday, February 16, 2009

Too much is never enough: Black forest cookies.

cookies

Get six bakers in a room and you will get six different opinions on what makes The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. For me, it's got to be chewy, and soft, and (of course) so chocolatey you could implode. I mastered a certain form of chewy while I was in high school--though, what I considered "chewy" was really just, you know. "Undercooked." Which is fine for me, because I am a huge fan of cookie dough; it is not, however, (necessarily) appropriate when one is going to be sharing the cookies with anyone but their fellow dough-hounds. So, a few years ago, I embarked on a great quest to figure out how to make cookies that...well...cook (without being crunchy).

My journey took me to many places: the land of extra baking powder, the thicket of shortening, the back alley of egg-whites-only. Some truly dark, dark places. In the end, the answer wound up being simpler than I could have imagined: refrigerate the dough, and keep it cold. Alarmingly obvious, right? Of course, it makes perfect sense: the cookies I tend to favor are at least 40% butter; if you put it in the oven when it's already started to melt (this applies also to hot cookie sheets--be sure to cool yours for a few minutes between batches!), you're kind of cruising for a bruising.

My journey ALSO took me to a wonderful land: the land of the black forest cookie. Much as I love the traditional chocolate chip cookie, there's only so many times I can make the exact same recipe (in the name of science, of course) before I feel a deep and abiding need to mess with it. In this case, I started thinking that there simply wasn't enough chocolate involved in the chocolate chip cookie, and that it was my moral obligation to sort that out--enter the cocoa powder and the two kinds of chips. Of course, such a decadent disaster was not for the untrained palate; all that chocolate could kill someone without the appropriate background. So, I opted to cut the sweetness a little by throwing in some nice, tart dried cherries. It was at that point that the stars aligned, the heavens opened, the angels sang, and I was fairly certain I was on to something.

And then Bench ate an entire batch in one sitting, and I knew it for sure.

The texture on these things is impossible to explain; they're chewy, sure, but also somehow velvety. They're cohesive, but have a delightful crumb. They're great in milk, and great shoved into your mouth fistfuls at a time.

Try these. Seriously.

Black forest cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
¾ c sugar
¾ c brown sugar
2 eggs
2tsp (or more) vanilla
2 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼-1/2 c cocoa powder
12 oz chocolate chips (a mix of white, milk, and dark)
1/2 c dried cherries, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. cream together butter and sugar
  2. Add eggs then vanilla.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients; slowly mix in to butter mixture.
  4. Chill batter for approximately one hour. Drop on to ungreased cookie sheets (about a dozen per sheet), chilling batter between batches.
  5. Bake for ten minutes. Remove from pan to cool. Be sure to rinse the pan in cold water between batches--you need it to be cool when the batter hits it.

4 comments:

Phoo-D said...

Oh dear. I'm definitely going to have to give these a try. Chocolate and dried cherries are a deadly combination - sometimes I even throw them together in a triple fudge brownie.

Hilary Cable said...

What did Mario Batali say? Something like "wretched excess is just barely enough." The cookies look delicious!

finsmom said...

My goodness! These look absolutly heavenly! I am adding this to my "to make asap" list!!! I have a bag of dried cherries in my cupboard that have been calling out to be used, and this looks like the perfect recipe!

carollee03 said...

I was inspired yet again by your post and just pulled out the first batch of these - yum! Thank you for sharing chocolate decadence.