Thursday, June 3, 2010

Killer Cookies

My good friend Elise was a caterer for many years.  The name of her company was "It's Your Party" and she couldn't put on an event without receiving numerous requests for her recipes.  There was good reason for that as everything she made was flat out amazing.  I have very fond memories of a peach bread pudding she once served at a brunch.

I actually have quite a few of her recipes because I took a number of her cooking classes back in the day. I won't tell you how many years ago it was, but we became friends and have remained so ever since ... well, except for the time she kept forgetting to give me her recipe for Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies, that is.  It took me forever to coax her into giving it up!

The name belies how good they are.  These are the best chocolate cookies I have ever eaten and I'm not making this up.  And this is in spite of the fact they have nuts in them!  I'm not a big fan of nuts in my cookies or brownies and will generally steer clear of recipes that call for them.  Had I encountered this recipe without tasting first, I probably would have avoided it.  That would have been a huge mistake!

Here's the recipe.  Once you make them you'll understand why I was willing to do anything to get my hands on it.  Of course, it's up to you if you want to share it with your friends - or not!


1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
4 oz. unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups pecans, finely chopped

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips, butter and unsweetened chocolate.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat eggs, granulated sugar and espresso powder until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  If desired, remove to a large mixing bowl or you can blend mixture directly in bowl of mixer.

Using a spatula, fold cooled chocolate into egg mixture.  Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and salt, then add remaining chocolate chips and finely chopped pecans.

Chill dough then scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls.  At this point, they can be stored in the freezer. 

When ready to bake, place cookies (directly from the freezer) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat (silicone baking sheet), spacing them 1 1/2-inches apart.  Bake in oven preheated to 350-degrees for 8 minutes or until cookies are shiny on top and soft in the center.  Do not overbake.

Yield:  approximately 4 dozen

The key to success here is to slightly underbake the cookies so that the outsides are crispy and the insides are meltingly soft and chewy.  You will not think these are done when you remove them from the oven, but do not make the mistake of overbaking them or you will lose the soft centers.

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