I am always happy when the Baked Sunday Mornings challenge involves a cookie. It’s not that I don’t enjoy pitting myself against complicated desserts, but cookies are so much easier to fit into a normal week than something like the pecan praline ice cream cake. When the cookie in question involves chocolate, my level of happiness doubles (at least). This weekend, we were tasked with making Baked’s spin on Black Forest chocolate cake in the form of a Black Forest chocolate cookie. Since we made their scrumptious Black Forest cupcakes last Spring, I had complete confidence in these cookies being similarly stellar.
Before I go any further, I’ll tell you these cookies involve working with the stickiest cookie dough I have ever encountered in my life. Basically, this cookie dough is more like an ultra-rich, practically flourless cake/brownie batter from which you make cookie-shaped, extraordinarily rich disks of chocolate heaven.First, we start out by sifting together a minute amount of flour (3/4 cup) plus a little baking powder (which seems to do a whole lot of nothing for the cookies’ height) and salt.
Next, we’ll melt together a whopping 16 ounces of dark chocolate (an entire pound of 60-72% cacao) with 10 tablespoons of butter, using your favorite method: either melting over simmering water in double boiler or 3-4 rounds of 30 seconds on high-stir-repeat in the microwave.
As the chocolate cools, we’ll whip together 6 eggs (6 eggs!! in cookies!!) with almost equal amounts of granulated and light brown sugar for a total of 5 minutes. The egg-sugar mixture should appear substantially lightened in color, thicker, and almost doubled in volume. It’s hard to tell in my poor lighting, but there it is.To this, we’ll gently pour in the cooled chocolate (down the sides of the mixing bowl, so we don’t ruin the loft of the eggs), along with a full tablespoon of vanilla extract. Everything is beaten together as briefly as possible to combine, then the sides of the bowl are scraped down to ensure there’s no bits of sugar or unmixed chocolate clinging in a corner, then we beat another 10 seconds. Now we add our minuscule amount of flour, mix on low for about 10 seconds until mostly but not quite combined. To our supremely soft and runny cookie dough we fold in 1 cup of dried cherries, 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips, and 1 cup of white chocolate chips, thus giving these the classic cherry, chocolate, and cream flavor combination. The recipe doesn’t specify a type of dried cherry to use, so I added tart Montmorency dried cherries (110 grams worth), since it seemed like a little tartness wouldn’t be a bad thing in these cookies. With the chocolate, I diverged a little from the original recipe and opted for a combination of Guittard semisweet and milk chocolate chips instead of the semisweet and white chocolate combo, because I was out of white chocolate after making the whiteout cake and some Guittard cloud nine brownies and I didn’t really feel like running (literally) to the store to buy more. Plus, I prefer milk to white chocolate.Okay, Black Forest chocolate cookie dough prepared…. This stuff is extremely runny. But the recipe assures us it is supposed to be very loose and will harden up in the refrigerator, where it needs to be stored at least 6 hours before we attempt to bake cookies from it.I let my cookie dough set up in the refrigerator for about 40 hours before trying to bake with it. While I’ll agree it definitely thickened up after this resting time, it was still phenomenally sticky. Like, gums up your cookie scoop on the first scoop sticky. I used approximately 2-3 tablespoons of dough to make each cookie, rather than the rounded tablespoon specified in the recipe because A) I prefer giant cookies and mostly B) I was heartily sick of working with this dough after trying to form cookie number two.Given the increase in cookie dough ball size, I had to increase the baking time as well, and found 15 minutes to be the minimal optimum time. If you like your cookies a little firmer, you could probably go 16 minutes. At this point, the cookies were still plenty soft and gooey, but the tops had set and they were pick-up-able from the parchment paper, which wasn’t the case with the batch I underbaked. (These had to be eaten with a spoon off the baking tray. It’s a hard life.)
Since I made slightly larger cookies than the recipe specifies, I expected a smaller yield than the printed yield of 24 cookies, however with my doubled-size cookies I wound up with double the yield (48 cookies) when I finally finished scooping dough.
About three-quarters of the way through scooping these cookies, and in the midst of a loud rant about how annoying the dough was to work with and would someone please help me rotate the baking trays in the oven because my hands were covered in Black Forest chocolate cookie dough, my friend offered up a genius idea courtesy of a recipe she’d tried from Smitten Kitchen that seemed similar to her. Instead of trying to scoop this dough into cookies, after a brief initial rest in the refrigerator, the dough could be placed onto a large piece of wax paper, rolled into a log shape, frozen for about an hour (or longer), and then cut into discs for baking. Easy. Brilliant. Wish I’d thought of that before getting started with making these cookies. If I ever find myself facing an entire pound of dark chocolate and at a loss for what to do with it (plus another 2 cups of chocolate chips and a half dozen eggs), I will certainly be following that strategy instead of the one spelled out in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.
These cookies are really good, it’s true, but I’m not convinced that they’ll be entering my normal cookie rotation anytime soon. For a cookie, they cost a lot of money in the form of ingredients, and I think I’d rather just eat a really good brownie. [Caleb agrees.] Or maybe make those Black Forest cupcakes again. I preferred those about 10x more than these.
Curious about the recipe? Want to make these yourself? Head over to Baked Sunday Mornings for the recipe and to see what the other bakers thought.