I’m eccentric. Bananas, really. How do I know? Because I just realized that “We Will Rock You” was blaring on Pandora at 7:30 a.m. My apartment walls nearly crumbling, neighbors checking rental locations on the other side of Seattle. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized that I was listening to music at a decibel that could crack glass until I dropped a spoon full of chocolate mousse on the kitchen floor and the clank of silver seemed much too loud for the wee hours.
…and then I realized that perhaps the music wasn’t the only outrageous activity going on in my apartment at the crack of dawn. Lack of pants, a pile of freshly sliced zucchini sharing the cutting board with chopped dark chocolate…It’s a miracle I function in the world.
If it weren’t for these recipes, my life would be a series of chocolatey mishaps in the kitchen. How appropriate that “Livin’ on a Prayer” just began playing. Me by my onesies, elbow deep in ganache, talking to myself in a British accent. Not even as lucky as Mel Gibson to have someone at least recording it.
Audio or video of me multitasking would all at once be a treat and an episode of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse.”
You know that saying, “We all put on our pants one leg at a time?” Not true. Your girl here shoves both legs in at once. Unties both sneakers with each hand. 4 seconds flat. Call me obsessed with efficiency. I just want to streamline every effort. Unless said effort involves chocolate. Because that is a battlefield (can you tell Pat Benatar just came on the radio?) that requires all of my undivided concentration.
Case in point:
The ultimate chewy chocolate cookies stuffed with a puff of chocolate buttercream. It’s like biting into the dense fudge texture of a brownie and revealing the light as air lusciousness of chocolate mousse. Soft meets supple meets sweet oblivion. Makes you want to quit your job and be a stay at home chocolatier. I’ve tried it. Turning down executive positions because I was holding out for that call from Willy Wonka, himself. Don’t they need anyone to lick the wall paper for quality control purposes?
Chewy Chocolate Cookies (recipe by Cooks Illustrated, my favorite baking companion)
makes 2 dozen, 3 inch cookies
|1/3||cup granulated sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces), plus 1/2 cup for coating|
|1 1/2||cups all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)|
|3/4||cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder|
|1/2||tsp baking soda|
|1/4||tsp salt plus 1/8 tsp salt|
|1/2||cup dark corn syrup|
|1||large egg white|
|1||tsp vanilla extract|
|12||TBSP (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened|
|1/3||cup packed dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces)|
|4||ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped into 1/2-inch pieces|
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place ½ cup granulated sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Whisk corn syrup, egg white, and vanilla together in small bowl.
- In stand mixer, or using a handheld electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 mins. Add corn syrup mixture, and beat until fully incorporated, about 20 secs, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture and chopped chocolate; mix until just combined on low speed, about 30 secs, scraping bowl once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Chill dough 30 minutes to firm slightly
(but no longer than 30 mins)
- Divide dough into 24 equal portions; roll between hands into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Working in batches, drop half of the dough balls into baking dish with sugar and toss to coat. Set dough balls on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart; repeat with second batch. Bake, reversing position of the baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake.
- Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 mins, then transfer cookies to wire rack; cool to room temperature
Simple Chocolate Buttercream Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
2 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk (you may not want this entire amount, start with a few TBSP at a time)
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Whisk confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter on medium-high until it is fluffy (about 30 secs).
- Gradually add the sugar mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with tablespoons of the milk, until the mixture is completely combined.
- Beat in the vanilla
- Whip the frosting on medium-high speed until you reach a light and fluffy consistency, about 3-4 minutes. Add more milk if you desire a thinner consistency.
To assemble the cookie sandwiches: When the cookies have cooled, spoon about 1-2 TBSP of the chocolate buttercream on the underside of one chewy chocolate cookie. Top with a second cookie and lightly smoosh the two together so that the buttercream oozes a bit to the edges of the sandwich. Enjoy!