There are times when you just need a decadent chocolate cookie. Why? Well...why not? I have several good recipes for chocolate cookies and the two things they have in common in how I make them are:
1) use the best quality chocolate you can. I've said this before and it bears repeating. Most chocolate cookies have chocolate in such high proportion to the other cookie ingredients that they can make or break a cookie. If you have a great recipe, give it the honor it deserves by using great ingredients. For this particular one, I used a combination of Lindt bars and Guittard chocolate buttons for the 8 ounces of melted chocolate.
2) Always underbake chocolate cookies. Don't bake them longer than the recipe calls for and don't be afraid to take them out even if they look underbaked. Chocolate will set once it's cool and you'll have a nice, fudgy chocolate cookie. Think "baked fudge" more than "cookie".
This particular recipe is from the Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball who's one of the editors of Cook's Illustrated. I don't use this book as much as you'd think, perhaps because I've had mixed results from the few I've tried. But the lead in to each recipe, like in Cook's Illustrated, is always informative and worth reading. And this recipe is one of the good ones. Fudgy and rich - that's all I ask from a chocolate cookie.
The only thing that surprised me about this recipe is it didn't call for adding chocolate chips. It's an individual choice, I suppose, but to me, a chocolate cookie without chocolate chips is like making oatmeal cookies without any oatmeal. Just incomplete. Because the cookie dough was already a dark chocolate cookie batter, I added milk chocolate chips, both because I prefer milk chocolate and to add a bit more sweetness to the rich chocolate taste.
Another recommendation: despite my infamous love and devotion to warm chocolate chip cookies 10 minutes out of the oven, I actually prefer chocolate cookies to be completely cool before I eat one. You can taste the richness of the chocolate better that way and I like the fudgy texture when cool, not liquidy when warm. These didn't spread much so they made a nice thick cookie. In fact, it's the only time I'd sanction the word "chubby" when used to describe these cookies. Bring on the chub.
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still firm
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 cups milk chocolate chips (you can use semisweet or white chocolate if you prefer)
1. Melt chocolate either in a saucepan in a 250˚F oven for 15 minutes or in a glass bowl in a microwave oven at 50% power for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. If you like, the chocolate can also be melted in the top of a double boiler. Set aside. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of waxed paper. Set aside. Heat oven to 350˚F.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until very pale and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Lightly whisk an egg with a fork and then add to the creamed butter, beating 30 seconds. Repeat with second egg. Add vanilla and espresso powder and beat to incorporate for about 20 seconds. Add the melted chocolate and beat another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and beat on the lowest speed until well mixed. Note: once you add the melted chocolate, work quickly to incorporate the dry ingredients or the batter will stiffen up too much and make incorporating all of the dry ingredients more difficult.
3. Using a small ice cream scoop or a large soup spoon, make balls of dough about 1 ¾ inches in diameter (the size of a golf ball). Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through cooking. The cookies should be very soft and appear undercooked when they are removed from the oven. Do not let the cookies become too browned on the bottom. Remove to a cooling rack to set and cool. Repeat with a new sheet of parchment paper until all the dough is baked.