One of the many side jobs in my life is as a cookie-ologist. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. To further my studies in cookie-ology, I own a ridiculous number of cookie cookbooks, pamphlets and clippings, including one book that has only pfeffernusse recipes. I’m mentioning this because I think I’ve found the best chocolate cookie recipe. I know these are fighting words, and that you may have one you think is better, but give this a try and see what you think. It comes from the Baker Chocolate people and is called the “Death by Chocolate Cookie.” A mind-boggling amount of chocolate is packed into each cookie, but instead of tasting like a chocolate sledgehammer, tastes delicately of butter, deep chocolate, heaven, and toasty walnuts.
Better yet, this cookie makes a perfect little Christmas present for the mailmen, the neighbors, and anyone else you might want to remember during the holidays. The Something for (almost) Nothing factor here is that for under ten dollars, you will have 15 nice cookie gifts. Package each cookie in a wax paper lunch bag, tape, and tie up with a bit of red wool yarn. Simple and easy.
Death by Chocolate Cookie
(Slightly modified from the original)
2 packages (16 squares) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 to 2 cups chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop eight squares (one package) of the chocolate; set aside. Microwave remaining eight squares chocolate with the butter in a large microwavable bowl on High for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir until chocolate mixture is melted and smooth.
Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. Stir in reserved chopped chocolate and nuts. (At this point, I put the dough into the refrigerator and tidy up a bit. This 15 to 20 minute hiatus lets the dough firm up.) Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. Cool on cookie sheet for one minute. Makes about 15 cookies.
Note: In an effort to economize, I first tried this recipe using some Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. The cookies spread out while baking into giant flying saucers. This milk chocolate version is an entirely different cookie, delicious in its own buttery, chewy, milk chocolate-y way. But if you want the puffy version, stick to the Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate.