Picky about chocolate chip cookies? I can sympathize. I pretty much avoid the commerical ones, feeling that they shouldn't be that crisp. I never got in the habit of making them at home, having kids who grooved on peanut butter cookies instead, and I was happy with that. And I went through a two-year period of serious brownie investigation after they left home. Perhaps that's what led me to the recipe today.
This is from Brenda Leong of B. Patisserie in San Francisco. I found the recipe a while back in Food and Wine magazine, and tried it as something to bring to the polls with me when I worked as an election judge.They are, quite simply, the best chocolate cookies I've ever had. I've made them with toasted pecans in them, and, for the knowing, with black walnuts. Like truffles, black walnuts are one of those musky tastes that some people find abhorrent. Years ago, a friend of mine, a New Englander living on Long Island, insisted he loved nuts and would love them. So I sent some. He gently, tactfully, told me that he thought they'd gone bad. I sent another batch, this time from Hammons, the biggest provider of the nuts in the world. I knew they'd be fresh. Same report from the gent. I just let the whole matter go. His family grew cranberries - perhaps his palate had been marred.
The batter needs to be chilled - the recipe called for an hour in the freezer, but I just cover it and put it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Make today, bake tomorrow, if that's your pleasure. But there is one step I would urge you to comply with. Line your baking sheets with parchment. Years ago when I was a penny-pinching single mom, if I had been able to find baking parchment, I would have considered it a extravagance to be passed up. I'm sure greased and floured pans would work here. But the parchment makes these so much easier to work with. I crumple the parchment up before putting it on the baking sheet - it wants to roll, of course. Then when the cookies are done, if I will need the baking sheet again, I slide the paper and cookies off onto the counter to cool. They're too soft to go directly on the rack. When they're completely cool, they'll often just scoot off - before that, they're very gooey. Bonus: The cookie sheets don't need to be washed afterwards.
CHOCOLATE BROWNIE COOKIES
1 pound (16 oz.) semisweet chocolate, chopped (I'm currently using 8 oz. Baker's semisweet and 8 oz. 70% chocolate from Lindt or Ghirardelli)
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
In a large heatproof bowl (glass, metal) set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally, until smooth, and set aside.
In another large bowl, beat together the eggs and the sugar until they're thick and pale - a handheld mixer is the easiest way to do this, but if necessary, you can use a stand mixer. On medium speed with the handheld, it'll take about 5 minutes. Beat in the salt and vanilla. . Use a rubber spatula and fold in the chocolate, then, together, the flour and baking powder. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Cover and chill the batter - if you are hoping for it to chill quickly, use a flat baking pan like a 9" square. Figure on at least an hour - less if you use the freezer. I've kept it overnight, although it's more difficult to work with when it's that cold.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. (See above.) Scoop out dough that's about 2 tablespoons' worth - one of those round measuring spoons that's heavy metal helps, but soon you will be able to eyeball it. Moisten your hands, and roll the dough itnto a roughly-shaped ball. Ignore what they resemble at this point and place them about 2 1/2 to 3 inches apart on the parchment.
Bake until dry on the edges and crackled on top. Start checking around 10 minutes - most of mine in my oven take about 13. Do not put directly on racks when done, but let cool at least 10 minutes. (You may slide the parchment directly onto your kitchen counter if the counter is heat-tolerant.)
I get about 60 cookies out of this - but I admit I tend to make them a little smaller - they're rich, and that makes more to share with friends!