Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Improvised Chocolate Cake Cookies

I was desperate. It was a Sunday afternoon, and while I didn't want to leave the house, I needed a sweet chocolate treat to get me through the day. A glance of the cupboard showed I had some, but not all of the ingredients to make Alton Brown's "The Thin" cookies. What was I missing?

  • Eggs. That's right, I had no chicken eggs. Don't judge me.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips. Not a one. That means I couldn't make chocolate chip cookies like the recipe, but I did have a can of Hershey's "Special Dark" Cocoa powder, and I was just desperate enough to use it.
  • Milk. What kind of pantry was I keeping anyway? Well, I did have something milk like, Heavy Whipping Cream, which at least comes from the same nozzle anyway.
So, I thought about it, and decided to substitute 4 ounces of heavy cream for the eggs and the milk. Madness? Probably.

Here's the ingredient list:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa

Cold uncooked cookies probably wouldn't do for this recipe, so I fired up the oven and let it heat up to 375 degrees (farenheit). The heat side of the equation squared away, I turned my attention to the ingredients.

First, I sifted the flower, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda into a bowl and set it to the side. Then, I cut the two sticks of unsalted butter and cut them into 1" thick pats and dumped the whole lot into my stand mixer and, using the blade attachment, I started creaming the butter on low speed until things starting moving a little more easily. Then, I slowly added both the regular and the brown sugar. Once all the sugar was in, I cranked the speed up to medium and let the creaming work until I had a nice light (in color and consistency) mix. At this point, I added the heavy cream and vanilla extract.

Once the cream was worked in, I started adding the flour mixture slowly, about a half a cup at a time, with the mixer on medium speed. It came together fairly quicky, but I was shocked at just how black the resulting dough was. It was as if midnight had gone blind.

From here on out, it was pretty standard. Lined two cookie sheets with parchment paper and used a #20 disher to scoop out big cookie sized balls of black tarry goodness six to a sheet. Shoved the sheets into the oven and baked for 15 minutes (rotating the sheets once half way through). After 15 minutes, I removed the cookies and LET THEM COOL. They really don't hold together when they first come out.

The result? Well, they weren't as sweet as I thought they would be. I attribute that to the bitter nature of cocoa and the massive quantity I used in this experiement. They also were rather cake-like in their texture, lacking much in the way of crispness. Those who tried them remarked on the fact that they weren't too rich, which is odd, since they didn't lack in either the fat or chocolate departments. I suspect they equate "rich" with sickeningly sweet, and these cookies definitely aren't that. I should note, also, that they remained soft and moist even two days later, which surprised me as well.

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