Sunday, March 24, 2013

Baking and Books: Double Chocolate Cookies

It's Holy Week!  Which means that my life just got extraordinarily busy (though far less so than when I was a staff singer in St. Louis).  For once, schoolwork is not my top priority this week.  To kick off this new mindset, I took some time this afternoon to bake cookies for my Vespers group tonight - we sing Latin Vespers in Gregorian plainchant and then share dinner together.  I've been so busy this semester that I've rarely made it, but tonight, I'm definitely going.  It's Palm Sunday, and that's more important than an extra hour or two to avoid doing homework.  And happily, I got enough writing done yesterday to feel good about my progress this weekend.

This was my first time making this recipe, and they turned out quite lovely.  I'm especially fond of the coarse salt sprinkled on top.  I made these with white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, to use up the last of them.

It's hard to see the title of the book I'm reading - that's because this library copy is a 1944 first edition.  I'm not sure I've ever read an old first edition before; it makes this reading experience that much more special.  Plus, being an old book, the spine is loose and the pages will stay open by themselves, so I was able to keep reading while I folded two loads of laundry last night.  It's Margery Sharp's Cluny Brown, which I requested from the library on a whim after reading Thomas's review.  It's even better than he said!  Utterly delightful.  I'm a little disappointed that it is no longer readily available, because I'd love to own a copy myself.

I know a lot of the country is still facing winter weather.  Even here in Durham, temperatures have been in the 40s for the last couple of days, which is highly uncharacteristic for this time of year.  These cookies are delicious, easy to make, and super cozy: just right for a cold, drizzly afternoon.  Why not try them out?  If you do, let me know what you think, and whether they're good with regular chocolate chips.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Coarse salt (Kosher or sea salt)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

If necessary, transfer the dough to a work surface and knead briefly by hand to be sure the ingredients are well combined. Roll each portion of dough into a ball and flatten just slightly into a disc. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Place on the prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart. Bake 16-20 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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