This year was the first time I experienced the “Going-Home-For-The-Holidays” tradition. Packing up my goods, shuttling my car down the traffic-packed highway, sleeping on an air mattress in my childhood bedroom. For some, this trend might be tiresome but I secretly loved it. It’s like a vacation, without the annoying check-in lines and hotel room keys.
I especially like coming back to the home I spent so many years in, seeing the pictures from years past, eating at the table where we congregated after school. The quiet neighborhood. The frost-covered grass. Billows of smoke puffing out of the chimneys. The smell of bittersweet chocolate cookies coming out of the kitchen.
For what it’s worth, my house wasn’t always a haven. Throughout middle school and high school, I loathed every minute spent within these walls. I hated it and everything it stood for. Only when I fled the nest did I realize what I never could grasp as a child: home may not be perfect, but it will forever be a place of love and warmth.
These cookies should be looked at the same way. Not perfect, but close enough. I used a recipe from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet, a tempting book dedicated to chocolate. Medrich fittingly calls these Bittersweet Decadence Cookies. While they might sound decadent, but they contain a small amount of butter. What they do have is a hearty amount of chocolate. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, but I used semisweet instead. I was scared they’d be too sweet but they turned out just right.
Smooth and runny, the batter will remind you of brownies but don’t be frightened. It’s supposed to be like that. I remember feeling alarmed when I saw the batter from the previously made Sticky Fingers Triple Chocolate Cookies. But the trick is to spoon only a small tablespoon of batter on to the cookie sheet and give the cookies ample room and space for baking. Also, I highly recommend using parchment paper. The chocolate batter sticks to cookie sheets and you might have some trouble removing the cookies in a clean manner. No worries though; you can always eat the broken parts. To keep the cookies smooth, I left out the nuts. I normally love the addition of walnuts or pecans in my cookies, especially with the chocolate, but this time I wanted the cookies to remain pure chocolate. I should also mention that the recipe should have produced 36 cookies but I only got 18. I guess I made my cookies too big but I like them better that way.
Getting started on these cookies might seem like a chore. You’ve got to melt the chocolate, heat the eggs, then stir in the flour. But all the fuss is worth it. Twelve minutes later, your kitchen will smell like rich, sweet chocolate and you won’t be able to keep your fingers out of the cookie jar. Who knew coming home could be so sweet.
Bittersweet Decadence Cookies
Origin: Alice Medrich’s “Bittersweet”
Yield: 36 small cookies or 18 big cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 to 14 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes
● 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
● 1/4 tsp baking powder
● 1/8 tsp salt
● 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
● 2 tbsp unsalted butter
● 2 large eggs
● 1/2 cup sugar
● 1 tsp vanilla extract
● 2 cups walnuts or pecans, optional
● 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped in to chunks
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350℉. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly. Set aside.
Place the 8 ounces of chocolate and the butter in a large heatproof bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently just until melted and smooth. Remove the chocolate from the skillet and set it aside. Leave the heat on under the skillet.
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together thoroughly. Set the bowl in the skillet and stir until te mixture is lukewarm to the touch. Stir the eggs into the warm but not hot chocolate. Stir the flour mixture, then the nuts and chocolate chunks.
Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 1 1/2 inches apart on to the cookie sheets. Bake until the surface of the cookies looks dry and set but the center is still gooey, 12 to 14 minutes. If you used parchment paper, carefully slide the cookies, still on the parchment, onto racks or set the pans on the racks. Otherwise, let the cookies firm up on the pans for a minute, then transfer them to racks with a metal pancake turner. Let cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container.