Friday, January 28, 2011

Black Forest Cookies

photo by Anthony Palatta

My friend Teddy, whose sweet tooth rivals mine, loves these chocolate cookies, stuffed with chocolate chips and dried cherries. Teddy's quite the connoisseur of New York baked goods, so I felt very flattered when he told me once, "These cookies are so amazing--and you can't find them anywhere!"

To tell the truth, I can't remember where I got this recipe. I know it was a cooking show on PBS, but that's all I can remember.

What I do know is that they're quite simple to put together and wonderfully decadent, loaded with chocolate and then the unexpected sweet and sour note of dried cherries.

Part of the reason these cookies pack such a chocolate punch is that they have cocoa powder, melted bittersweet chocolate, AND an entire package of semisweet chocolate chips.

The last time I made these, they came out the best I'd ever made them, and here's why. First, I used high quality chocolate chips (Ghirardelli in this case). Second, I was careful to underbake them slightly. Keep checking the cookies in the oven. As soon as the surface sheen is gone, take them out and let them rest on the baking sheets a while. They'll seem wet and fragile inside, but they'll firm up as they cool. You're going for the consistency of a fudgy brownie.

I know January's the time for dieting, but if you need a reward for gnawing on all those celery and carrot sticks all month, these would be it.

Black Forest Cookies
Makes 36
1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 package (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 cups dried cherries


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder; and salt; set aside.
2.  Place chopped chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in sugars, then eggs, until smooth.
3.  Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined (do not overmix). Fold in chocolate chunks and dried cherries; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of dough, and refrigerate until firm, 30 to 45 minutes.
4.  Drop mounds of dough (equal to 2 level tablespoons) about 2 inches apart onto prepared sheets. Bake just until edges are firm (but not darkening), 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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