Valentine’s Day is once again drawing near. For many, this is an occasion for an extravagant chocolate dessert. I admit that I’m not a fan of big, rich chocolate desserts…. Desserts with names that include modifiers like “death by”, “outrageous”, “oblivion”, “insanity”, “wicked”, “indulgence”, etc.…. are totally unappealing to me. If I’m going to eat a chocolate dessert, I want it to be deeply chocolate…not too sweet….and preferably served in small portions. To me the perfect chocolate dessert is a creamy, perfect little pot de crème… a small sliver of a rich chocolate tart… an elegant soufflé cake… a miniature brownie square… or one or two of the chocolate truffle cookies I’m posting today.
These little cookies might not look very special, but you should not let their plain and demure appearance fool you into thinking that they are plain and demure when it comes to taste. Just like the chocolate truffle after which they are named, these dark and rather unpromising looking lumps pack a wonderfully deep chocolate punch. If you love chocolate, these cookies will probably become a favorite.
Since Christmas I have been wondering if the dough could simply be scooped and baked right away (without the chilling step). I had a little extra time this weekend….and my "cookie jar" was bare….so I decided to give it a try. To my delight, I discovered that it works beautifully this way. The exterior of the cookies that are scooped and baked immediately are a little rough in comparison with those that are chilled and rolled, but they have the same moist and dense interior. How you choose to prepare them will depend on your time frame (do you need them for a dessert tonight?) and the setting in which they will be consumed. When making this for a Christmas cookie platter…or as part of a dessert tray…and a neat, perfectly round cookie is the goal, it would be best to chill and roll them before baking them.
Chocolate Truffle Cookies
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 T. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 c. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 c. (2 oz.) all-purpose flour
2 T. (10 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
Melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and half of the chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan over very low heat (or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl), stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until pale and very fluffy (about 2 minutes at high speed).
Mix in the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and fold until just combined. Stir in the remaining chips. Let stand at room temperature until the mixture sets up enough to be scooped and hold a mounded shape. If your kitchen is cool…and your eggs were refrigerator cold…this will only take a few minutes.
Portion the dough using a small cookie scoop (see note). Scrape the scoop against the bowl to make level, evenly sized scoops. Arrange the scoops of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake in a 350° oven until puffed and just set—do not over bake! The cookies are done when the dough has lost its wet shine and the cookies have puffed slightly. Start checking at about 7 minutes.
Immediately slide the parchment off of the baking sheet and onto wire racks to let the cookies cool completely.
Makes 4 to 6 dozen—depending on the size of your scoop.
- I make these cookies with Ghirardelli unsweetened (100 %)…it comes in convenient 4 oz. bars, Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips (the 60% are a bit too strong in this cookie), and Hershey’s Cocoa. But any good brand of chocolate will work.
- A cookie scoop with a capacity of 2 teaspoons will produce 6 dozen cookies and tablespoon-sized scoop will produce 4 dozen. I like to make smaller cookies at Christmas when they will be part of a large platter of many different cookies…and the larger size during the rest of the year when I’m only making one kind of cookie (for my own “cookie jar”, for example)
- The cookies may be scooped and baked right away, or scooped, chilled and then rolled into smooth balls once the dough is firm enough to handle. If chilling the dough, place all of the scooped dough onto a single parchment-lined cookie sheet. It’s OK for the cookies to be quite close together since they will not be baked on the sheet they are chilled on. Bake the chilled dough exactly as you would the freshly scooped dough.
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, December 2000)