Adjusting to school can be a difficult challenge, especially with the rush of papers, projects, worksheets, and tests only a few weeks into the year. To help cheer you while you study, I decided to review an easy chocolate drop cookie from the ever-fabulous King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook. This recipe, titled “Awesome Chocolate Chunks,” makes dense, cakey, and chocolatey cookies with a nice shot of espresso to keep you energized. Moreover, almost any type of nut or chip can be added to these cookies, which allows bakers to personalize the recipe according to their personal preferences. Let’s get baking!
First, I put my butter in the microwave for a minute to soften it before creaming it with the sugar. Next, I added the eggs and beat until the mixture was thick and a pleasant lemon-yellow. The vanilla went in next, and as a personal preference I added an extra dash; I do this with all cookies I bake because rarely do people mind more vanilla since the flavor is so mild. Then I added the two teaspoons of espresso powder (you can also use a darker instant coffee), following the recipe’s directions. However, if coffee is a favorite flavor, more espresso can be added to taste.
Next, I added the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. When adding the flour and the cocoa powder, make sure to add the ingredients in small increments and cover the mixing bowl with your hands while mixing in order to prevent the flour and cocoa powder from puffing up in a cloud of dust. While making this recipe, I spilled cocoa powder all over my countertop because I forgot to place my hands over the open mixing bowl.
A note about the cocoa powder: I used natural processed cocoa powder in this recipe even though the recipe calls for Dutch processed. In this recipe, there’s very little difference between the two, and one can be substituted for the other in equal amount as called for in the recipe.
After adding the flour, salt, and cocoa powder, add the mix-ins of your choice. I used one cup of semisweet chocolate chips and half a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips; however, not only can a wide variety of add-ins be used, but a large amount. In fact, the recipe’s blurb notes that the dough can hold 4-5 cups of your choice of mix-ins.
Next, you can either freeze your dough (to bake at a future date), refrigerate your dough for an hour to firm up the batter, or start making cookies. I decided to bake right away because I believed the dough was already pretty thick and firm. Since the batter was at room temperature, I subtracted 4 minutes from the baking time to prevent the cookies from burning. After preheating the oven to 350 ℉, I used teaspoons (because I prefer smaller cookies) to drop my dough onto the greased baking sheets. Since the cookies don’t spread much, I was able to fit five rows of three onto my baking sheets. Next, I baked the cookies for 14 minutes; my top rack was fully cooked after this time, but the bottom rack needed another minute. Baking times will vary slightly according to how your oven works.
After letting the cookies cool for a minute, I tried one. They were beautifully dense and chocolatey, with a subtle but delicious hint of espresso, making this recipe a favorite. If you ever need a study pick-me-up, this cookie is a fabulous choice!
Experiment: After I’d used the majority of the batter, I decided to add a few marshmallows and bake to see what happened. The marshmallows expand in the oven and upon being taken out promptly melt into the cookie, leaving bits of crunchy marshmallow and a hollow space behind. If you’re a marshmallow fan or like interesting-looking cookies, this experiment is for you.
Awesome Chocolate Chunks Recipe:
Yield: 2 dozen cookies (since I made smaller cookies, I was able to make approximately 45)
Baking Temperature: 350℉
Baking Time: 18 minutes (after refrigerating; 14 minutes if you bake right away)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 cup (4 ¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (3 ounces) Dutch process cocoa powder
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until light, thick, and lemon-colored. Beat in the vanilla and espresso powder.
Add the flour, salt, and cocoa, stirring to combine. Mix in the chips and nuts. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour, or until it becomes firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Use a muffin scoop or a ¼-cup measure to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for about 18 minutes, until they appear set and start to smell done. Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
“Awesome Chocolate Chunks.” The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook. Woodstock: The Countryman Press, 2004, 2013. Print.