Monday, September 15, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Chunkers

For this week with Tuesdays with Dorie, we made Chocolate Chunkers, from pages 70-72 of "the book." A million thanks to Claudia of Fool for Food for choosing this recipe!

"What? Another cookie? Enough, already!" was my husband's reaction when he heard this week's pick. Boy, did he change his tune once he got a taste! I suspected as much -- Dorie says these are based on Maida Heatter's Mulattoes. I've never made those, but I've made Maida's Miami Vice cookies, which are Mulattoes with a different shaping method. So I knew these would consist of lots and lots of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit, barely held together by a scant amount of batter resembling a rich, fudgey, gooey brownie. Great for dark chocolate fiends like us!

The only remaining questions were -- what sorts of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit to use? Milk and white chocolate would provide a nice color contrast, but the problem is, neither of us likes them. OK, dark chocolate all the way! We're going for broke here (expecially considering the cost of good chocolate)!

For the chunks, I used a Chocolove 55% bar with orange peel, another Chocolove 55% with cherries and almonds, a Dagoba 74%, some Callebaut semisweet, 71% Valrhona Amer Noir, and 70% Scharffenberger. I ran out around 11 ounces, so I made up the difference with an ounce of slivered almonds. The dough got Bakers' unsweetened, Callebaut semisweet, and the "fine crumbs" from making the chunks. Pecans for the nuts (I didn't bother toasting them) and sweetened dried sour cherries for the fruit (Door County Cherry De-lite, yum yum). I cut down the sugar to 6 Tablespoons (on purpose) and accidentally left out the vanilla. Oops!

By this time it was late at night and the dough went into the fridge until the next day. It was hard as a rock and impossible to form, so I had to chop it up and let it soften for a while. Then it was very sticky. I oiled my hands and formed it into little balls, ending up with 44 dough balls (and chocolatey hands, too, but not as bad as it would have been without the oil). Once again, it was late. The little balls were crowded onto oiled waxed paper, covered with plastic wrap, and into the freezer they went. Next day, time to bake -- I baked off 20 of them and the other two dozen are still frozen for later use. Best not to have too many of these around at once!

I let the dough thaw a bit before baking, but it was still cold and it did not spread AT ALL. I had to mash down the first batch with the back of a spatula partway through baking. The second batch was flattened by hand before baking. Definitely the way to go. Because they were cold, they took the full 13 minutes even though they were smaller than Dorie's.

It was really hard to wait for these to cool enough to eat without burning my mouth -- but I did. First one -- wow! Maybe I should try another...wait a minute, how did four of them disappear? Better stop now!

Notes for next time: 6 Tablespoons of sugar is OK if using semisweet in the dough, but use more for bittersweet. Try not to forget the vanilla (although they were still good without it). Next time, use 1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks (9 ounces), 1 1/2 cups mixed chopped pecans and almonds, and 1 1/2 cups dried cherries (they were great). Try soaking cherries in cherry or orange brandy. Maybe a bit of finely chopped candied orange peel? Yowza!

These cookies didn't seem quite as good the next day, once they had cooled down. But a quick 10 seconds in the microwave took care of that problem.

These are not going in to work. They are ALL FOR US! (O.K., I'd be willing to share them with my family, but they all live too far away. Maybe at Christmas...)

20 comments:

Marthe said...

I agree with you, these cookies are the best!! Mine, however, didn't even survive the first day!! So I don't know how they would taste the second day!

Lori said...

wow - you gave us all a lot of good information! if i make these again, i'll freeze the dough balls so i can make the a few at a time.

Di said...

Great post, Barbara! (As always.) I love hearing about what worked well and what didn't.

carmen said...

Mmm your cookies must have been heavenly with all that good quality chocolate you used! i couldn't cough it up and used ghirardelli and trader joe's!

Annette said...

Freezing the dough balls is an excellent idea! I'm going to add peppermint bark to them at Christmas (if I remember). Great post!

Carla said...

Using all that chocolate sounds so delicious! Good thing you still have some dough in the freezer for later.

Flourchild said...

Im glad your husband liked them..my man thought they were the best. Thanks for all the tips!

Sugar Betty said...

Hi Barbara! Thanks for your lovely comment! I am loving your cookies too. I think cherries are fab with chocolate. Good job and save me some next time! ;) I will revisit your blog soon. Are you going to do that plum cake next week?

Kayte said...

I love all the information I get from you at this site...you are just a really great read each week. Great photos, especially the last one!

Liz said...

Holy moses, your chocolate selections sound fabulous! I love chocolove's flavored bars, and I think the combo of the bars, plus pecans, plus cherries sounds amazing.

Zoe said...

Yours look amazing...I love that you go through the process step by step.I just made the rest of the dough into bar cookies and I'm a fan now :)

Jules Someone said...

MMmmm. Those flavor combos sound delicious! I don't prefer milk chocolate, but I liked it in this cookie. Maybe in one or two of yours?

Lady Baker said...

ok, thankfully I'm not the only one burning my mouth on from-the-oven cookies!! Three cookie recipes in a row--and almost just as many times I bit into a hot chocolate chunk too soon!

Love the freezing dough plan! I must write that one down!

Natashya said...

We just finished our cookies today - and we had the half batch!
Glad you guys liked them, you sound like chocolate connoisseurs.
PS, We live in a bungalow too, we love it.

Jacque said...

Wow, I'm impressed with your chocolate selection... I went basic the whole way. And good idea on freezing the cookies, much less temptation that way.

Nice writeup!

Jaime said...

your cookies look great, glad you hubby liked them after all!

dharmagirl said...

yumm! i love the pecan and door county cherry combo--i'll definitely try that next time:) aren't we lucky to have such delicious local dried fruits?!?

great chocolate selection too!

Teanna said...

These cookies really were so fantastic! Thanks for all of the vampire book recommendations! Have you watched True Blood on HBO? It's all so great!!!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

Freezing the dough - brilliant. I need to do that next time. Thanks for the running commentary too.

Bridgett said...

Yours turned out beautifully and so very chunky! I loved the fudgy chocolate cookie part.