April 28, 2011

A crackly, chewy, chocolate cookie

Do you have a preference when it comes to the texture of a cookie?  For me and my family, we ultimately love the soft and chewy kind.  But of course, I think there's a time and place for everything.  Something crunchy is a great pick-me-up and I certainly like a dense, rich treat to go along with a cup of strong tea but nothing beats a soft, chewy cookie fresh out of the oven. 

If I had a top ten list of favorite cookies, this double chocolate cookie would make the top half of my list.  It comes out of the oven looking a bit like a brownie and it tastes somewhat like it too given the chocolate but more than that, you get this shiny, crackly top that you sink your teeth into to reach a chewy and slightly gooey texture within that is to die for.  The texture reminds me a bit of a macaroon, another type of cookie I love.

I was just thinking...and I realized that I started to bake more and more regularly in the last year and half to two years.  And I've grown more of a sweet tooth during this time too.  (Since I was baking more and more, I finally decided to start this blog.)  The timing is ironic since it is during this same period of time that I've been watching my weight and shedding the holiday pounds that I've accumulated over the past 5-plus years.  Maybe we crave what we're trying to cut down or my taste buds are a little more heightened and I'm able to enjoy it more.  Whatever the reason, I find that doing the cooking and baking is almost as enjoyable as the tasting and I can certainly indulge in moderation.  And finding recipes like this chocolate cookie has really motivated me to keep on baking and enjoying these treats with my family. 

This chocolate cookie recipe is one of many in Martha Stewart's Cookies book.  I've tried a handful of the recipes so far and they are all terrific.  In the book, this cookie is called Milk-Chocolate Cookies because milk chocolate is used, both melted in the batter and added in chunks into the dough before baking.  When I first made this, I followed the book and made the milk chocolate version.  It was very good but I find that I prefer using semi-sweet chocolate the most since it's just a bit less sweet.  Today, I experimented with a combination of melted semi-sweet chocolate in the batter and bittersweet chocolate chunks.  Since semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate are basically interchangeable when it comes to baking, I found that at the end of the day, it's easier to just use semi-sweet chocolate (or bittersweet alone) if you don't want to fuss with more than one kind.

These cookies carry a lot of chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.  (Like so many other people, I don't like my sweets to be too sweet.)  And unless I plan to give some of the cookies away, I often make half of a recipe since many cookies, including this one, are best the day it's made or within a couple of days of baking.  In this case, a half recipe made 14 cookies.

First, I measured 2 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate and 2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate chunks. 
Like with so many of these recipes, we start with a little bit of chocolate and butter.  In this case, the semi-sweet chocolate gets melted with 4 tablespoons of butter.  I like to melt chocolate in a glass bowl set on top of a pot filled with a bit of simmering water.  I remember the old days when you'd see cooks on television using actual double-boilers to melt chocolate; I'm glad that's one piece of equipment we don't need.  When you're doing this melting process, you don't want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water or it could scorch the chocolate; you just want the chocolate to slowly melt from the hot steam while you stir frequently.  I also added 1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder into this mixture.  Set this aside to cool a bit while you gather the dry ingredients. 
The dry ingredients include 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, half a cup of all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon each of baking soda and coarse salt.  Mixing ingredients (both dry and wet) in a bowl with a spout is very handy when you go to add it into the mixer.
Once the chocolate and butter mixture has cooled a little, place it along with an egg, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract into the bowl of a stand mixer and combine on medium speed. 
Now, the dry ingredients are added into the thickened chocolate and sugar mixture and mixed until just combined.  For the last step, fold in the chocolate (in this case, bittersweet) chunks. 

I like to use a small ice-cream scoop and place slightly heaping scoop-fulls onto the baking sheet lined with parchment.  They will spread so make sure to leave a couple of inches of space between the cookies.  The first time I made these cookies, I used a large ice-cream scoop (the regular kind you'd use at home or see in ice-cream shops) and the cookies spread and came out to be about half the size of my head...it tasted good but it was definitely a little too oversized.

In less than 15 minutes (be very careful not to overbake since you want the cookies soft, chewy, and slightly gooey inside; the tops should just begin to crack), they come out of the oven crackly and shiny.  Let them cool a few minutes and dig in.
These cookies are so good slightly warm.  You can add some ice-cream and take 2 of these cookies to make an ice-cream sandwich.  Though they are really best the day they are made, the cookies do keep in an air-tight container for about 2-3 days (they will start to dry and be more crisp than chewy after the first day).  I like to warm them up for about 10 seconds or so in the microwave when I eat them the next day. 

They are super yummy!

The recipe:

Double Chocolate Cookies
Adapted (very slightly) from Martha Stewart's Cookies, also online here

- Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies -

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate* (4 oz. coarsely chopped, 4 oz. cut into 1/4-inch chunks)
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* You can also use milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, or a combination.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Melt the 4 ounces of coarsely chopped chocolate with the instant espresso powder (if using) and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Let cool slightly.

Put the warm chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until combined.  On low speed, gradually mix in the flour mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack.  The cookies should still be soft and slightly underbaked (they will continue to harden up as they cool).  Let cool on parchment on wire racks. 

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 3 days.


  1. the Crackly Chewy chocolate cookies are great!!!! We are making them a second time!!!

    1. Hi Emmaline, I'm so happy to hear that! : ) These are some of my favorite cookies and I used to make them before I even started recording things on this blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to write. And thanks for reminding me to make these real soon! : )

  2. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong! In the end they look and smell good but are nearly inedible! Don't make these!

    1. Sorry to hear that. I've made these cookies quite a few times - the last being about a month ago - and have had excellent results.

  3. Hi,
    I love this recipe it's great! However sometimes my cookies don't crack and go shiny... any suggestions as to what i am doing wrong? also i find the mixture very sticky and hard to get in to balls- am i missing something? Thanks! Hamish

    1. I haven't encountered that problem. I can only suggest baking one batch at a time, making sure the baking soda is fresh, and that the oven is at 325 degrees. It is a soft dough and I would chill it slightly to make it easier to work with; an ice cream scoop also makes it easier to portion out.

  4. One of the things that I believe makes these shiny and crackly on top is the beating of the sugar and eggs together for about 2 to 3 minutes before stirring in the chocolate mixture. Give that a try and see if it isn’t better!



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