There’s a great story that goes along with these cookies.
This recipe comes courtesy of Ms. Crescent Dragonwagon‘s book, The Passionate Vegetarian, a book that has completely transformed my life. Think of this recipe in stages: melt Chocolate Round #1; create “the caress,” the wet ingredients; prepare the dry ingredients/Chocolate Round #2; combine wet and dry ingredients; mix in nuts and Chocolate Round #3.
4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 vegetable shortening, like Crisco
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals (Dragonwagon recommends decaf, but we always use regular)
1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached white all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened American-style cocoa powder (NOT Dutch processed)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate chips (we use Ghiradelli)
6-8 ounces pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (I prefer pecans)
Parchment Paper for baking stones
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. When the oven is hot, toast pecans on a baking sheet for about 8-10 minutes. Chop up the nuts with a mortar and pestle or a knife.
3. Prepare 2 baking stones with parchment paper and set aside.
4. Chocolate Round #1: In a small saucepan, combine semi-sweet or dark chocolate, butter, and shortening. Stir occasionally until all ingredients melt uniformly. Cool to room temperature.
5. The Caress (AKA the wet ingredients): While the chocolate and butter/shortening melt, beat the eggs and both sugars at medium high speed with an electric mixer for 5-7 minutes.
6. In a small bowl, stir the instant coffee in the boiling water until fully dissolved. Stir in the vanilla. Add to the egg/sugar mixture. Also add the cooled melted chocolate/butter/shortening to the mixer. Beat for 2-4 minutes.
7. Chocolate Round #2 (AKA the dry ingredients): In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together: flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, salt. Whisk to combine.
8. Add the wet ingredients from the mixer to your dry ingredients. Make sure to use a rubber spatula to get every last drop of wet ingredients. Combine with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
9. Chocolate Round #3: Add toasted pecans and chocolate chips. Stir lightly to combine. Don’t over stir the dough, when it looks “just barely” combined you’re good.
10. Using a spoon, drop cookie dough onto the parchment covered baking stones. Press the form into a circle, the cookies do not expand; the shape you put in is the shape you will take out of the oven. We fit about 20 on 1 baking stone.
11. Bake 12.5 to 13 minutes, slide off the parchment, and cool the cookies on wire racks. Enjoy with milk…you’ll need it.
This recipe according to Ms. Dragonwagon makes 33 small cookies. We doubled the recipe and got about 80 cookies.