My husband loves a good chocolate chip cookie. Loves. So for his birthday a few weeks ago, I decided to test out the New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is said to be the most decadent, heartstoppingly good chocolate chip cookie recipe out there (the recipe calls for a full two-and-a-half sticks of butter!). In short, I was underwhelmed. I mean, the cookies were ok - but nothing to write home about. In Jacques Torres' defense - not that he needs my defending - I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I skipped the full 24 hours chilling time and I didn't use the special chocolate disks that the recipe calls for. Recipes that leave no room for interpretation are not my kind of recipe, I suppose.
We had some friends over and I offered up the NYT cookies. People will eat anything you put in front of them, so of course they got eaten. But my friend Laurel brought another kind of cookie, a chocolaty, fudgy, half-cooked-brownie-type of cookie (don't even pretend that you don't like your brownies half-cooked). I can't remember the last time I had a better cookie. She brought them over fresh out of the oven (hallelujah!), but they're still amazing once fully cooled. They were a perfect dessert to serve with red wine.
It turned out the recipe was from the America's Test Kitchen Baking Illustrated cookbook (which coincidentally, Laurel had given us as a wedding gift). So after I gushed over the cookies like they were a newborn child, she walked me over to the cookbook and tabbed the recipe. And for the love of Shared Bites, I was able to recreate them. Just like I like my recipes, this one is still delish even if you have to improvise a little. For example, Laurel skipped the espresso - no prob (I had some espresso left over from the Brownie Affogato, so I used it). I mixed a random assortment of chocolates to come up with the requisite measurement - still perfecto. The recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate, but please take liberties and use whatever chocolate bits you have around your house.
Espresso Fudge Cookies
"Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies" recipe from Baking Illustrated
Makes 35-40 cookies
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate, in pieces or chips
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
Mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs with the vanilla and sprinkle the espresso powder over the eggs; set aside.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler on the stove. If you don't have a double boiler, melt chocolate in a large bowl resting in a pot filled with 1 inch of simmering water. Stir occasionally and melt until smooth; remove from heat.
Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar and sugar for about 45 seconds at a medium speed. Mixture will remain grainy. Reduce speed and beat in egg mixture. Add chocolate and beat until combined. Scrape sides down. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Use spatula to make sure all chocolate is combined (it has a tendency to pool at the bottom).
Cover with plastic wrap and let cookie dough sit for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop golf-ball sized mounds of dough onto cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper. Cookies will spread so leave around 2 inches between each cookie. Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes. Centers will remain very soft. Serve warm.