These are not your usual chocolate chip cookies. These are more like truffles, rich and moist inside with a delicate crust outside. You will need a lot of chocolate but you won’t regret it. I first saw the recipe just the other day on my friend Kathleen’s wonderful blog Nurturing Life, and because I was in the mood of baking that afternoon, gave it a try. I was very much pleased with the result and anyone to whom I gave these cookies – to a few co-workers at my and my husband’s workplaces – agreed that they are the most delicious addictive little wonders.
After some research online I learned that the original recipe comes from Chad Robertson’s “Tartine Book No.3.” Chad Robertson is a renowned baker and the co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Based on what I read about the bakery, what I learned watching Robertson’s videos about bread making, I know that when I will be visiting San Francisco the next time, I definitely will patiently stand in line to buy bread and pastries there. Now I am a little bit jealous of Kathleen who is going to have this experience just in a few weeks.
I adapted the recipe with little changes – I didn’t use dark rye flour (I had the light version at home) and the chocolate wasn’t the highest quality I can afford (I actually mixed three different kinds I found in my pantry), but the cookies turned out great. In the original recipe, at least 70% chocolate, preferably the French Valrhona is recommended. Also, it turned out that I didn’t have the required amount of muscovado sugar (the coarse, unrefined brown sugar with strong molasses flavor), so I mixed it with regular brown sugar. Next time (I think very soon) I will give Valrhona and the dark rye flour a try, and use only muscovado sugar to experience the difference in taste. I am also planning to use a scooper with a smaller diameter to get the predicted four dozen cookies.
You probably will need around an hour of your time to make these cookies. They will keep well for 3-4 days in an airtight container. I also froze some of them for later and today I defrosted a few at room temperature. The verdict is they also freeze well.
bittersweet chocolate, chopped – 454 g (2⅔ cups)
unsalted butter – 57 g (4 tablespoons)
whole-grain dark rye flour – 85 g (¾ cup)
baking powder – 1 teaspoon
salt – ½ teaspoon
large eggs – 4
muscovado sugar – 340 g (1½ cups)
vanilla extract – 1 tablespoon
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for topping
Heat some water (about 2.5 cm (1 inch)) in a saucepan. Place the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl over the saucepan and while stirring occasionally melt it over the hot simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and cool slightly.
While the chocolate is cooling, sift together the rye flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl.
In a large bowl, whip the eggs until lightly thickened, and then mix in the sugar until all is incorporated. Whip for some time more vigorously until the eggs nearly triple in volume. Doing this by hand is a lot of work, so you might want to use a mixer on high speed (fitted with the whisk attachment) for about 6 minutes. After this, carefully add the slightly cooled melted chocolate, the vanilla extract, and the flour until just combined.
Leave the soft and loose dough in the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. It will be firm to the touch and you will be able to scoop it easily.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Use an ice-cream scooper or a rounded tablespoon to portion balls of dough on the cookie sheets leaving some space between them. Top each mound with a few flakes of sea salt and press the flakes lightly into the dough. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are set around the edges and completely puffed up with rounded tops. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and cool completely.
The cookies are very delicate. I needed to be careful not to break them while transferring to a wire rack for complete cooling.