Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Espresso White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

When I meet friends I haven't seen in a while, I like to take something with me to give to them. At the same time I am not a big fan of clutter - neither on the receiving nor on the giving end.
So I bake.
If you invite me for a party of yours, a celebration of whatever kind, I will be more than happy to bring you a cake, some dessert or cookies.

There were some ingredients in the house I didn't expect to find when I opened cupboards and looked into the pantry. Things like Prego. Or white chocolate.
It's not that I don't like white chocolate. But I don't love it either.
I was treated to mediocre white chocolate as a child and I couldn't get the hang of it. It had the shape and the feel of chocolate but neither the taste nor the color. It just didn't seem like something worth getting excited about.
Well, things are about to change.

When white chocolate marries dark chocolate and espresso is their fairy godfather - good things happen. Like these cookies:

Chocolate Espresso White Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Chocolate Espresso White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from Dana Treat who adapted it from the All-American Cookie Book 

5 ounces (15o grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken or coarsely chopped (MM: I used bittersweet chocolate chips because that's all we had at home)
½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. (43 grams) flour
2 tbsp. (16 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. instant espresso powder or granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp. hot water
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
8 ounces (240 grams) white chocolate, coarsely chopped (MM: Again, I used chips because that's what my husband had already bought.)

Ingredients party.

I halved the recipes because I only had exactly 4 ounces of white chocolate. By using a digital kitchen scale instead of cups, it's actually quite simple to do so. 

Start by melting the butter and the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl sitting on top of a pot of simmering (but not boiling!) water. Stir until completely melted and then set aside to cool. Mix the flour and the cocoa in an small bowl.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, dissolved espresso, vanilla and salt until lightened, well blended and slightly thick, about 3 to 5 minutes.


Next, beat in the melted chocolate, followed by the cocoa/flour mixture until well incorporated. Finally, add the white chocolate and incorporate thoroughly. 
Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 1/2 hours or until firm enough to be shaped.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to (175°C) 350ºF. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape the dough into balls with lightly greased hands.  Place on baking sheets, spacing them about 3 inches apart.  Pat down the balls just slightly. Alternatively you could use a ice cream scoop which results in bigger cookies. The cookies pictured above are done with the first method which, according to my husband, were a little small.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 9 to 12 minutes (err on the side of under baked), or until barely firm when pressed in the centers.  
Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway thought baking to ensure even browning. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.  
Slide the cookies, still attached to the parchment paper, onto a wire rack.  Let stand until completely cooled.  Carefully peel the cookies from the parchment.
The cookies are best eaten freshly made but can be frozen easily (after they've been shaped but not baked yet. When you are ready to bake them, place them on a baking sheet still frozen and adjust the baking time).

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