It’s like kindergarten
Triple-Caress Mocha Chocolate Chip cookies. You heard that right. Chocolate 3 ways with a hint of coffee flavor and rich, whipped silky goodness. I can’t take any credit for the recipe, so, thank you Crescent Dragonwagon for helping me to be the high school teacher that reminds kids of kindergarten.
We all remember those days, naptime, recess, finger painting, and of course, the cookies and milk. Well, a few days ago, I brought a taste of the good ol’ days back for my 9th grade Puente students.
Last night, for the second time, my husband made Cresent Dragonwagon’s decadent Triple-Caress Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of The Passionate Vegetarian. I helped, if you define helping as reading the recipe and making minor needed interventions, also known as managerial oversight. Then, standing side by side, my husband and I created the little brown circles of sin.
Kris originally intended to make a single batch for his work’s cookie exchange. The previous cookie exchange, Kris made some hazelnut cookies with nuts that can only be described as rancid. They were utterly disgusting, but I kept eating them (a total of 4 cookies), hoping that the inherent fact that because they were cookies, some goodness would shine through. Obviously we were both disappointed. Lesson learned: always taste nuts before using them in a recipe.
This time, everything was fresh, and we knew this recipe was a winner, since he’d already tried it out once. First is melting the butter, chocolate addition #1, and vegetable shortening in a saucepan. Along with Chocolate Round #1 came Needed Intervention #1. “Honey, that’s not a saucepan,” I say, as delicately as possible; Kris can be kind of sensitive when I intervene while he cook-creates. He’s already got a medium sauté pan, heating up on the burner and is taking the paper off the butter. Luckily, I tell him the saucepan is the one with the tall sides. Not that it matters in the long run, ultimately it all melts down to chocolate and buttery Crisco goodness. With the first round of chocolate melting down beautifully, Kris starts on part two.
I believe that the primary reason Ms. Dragonwagon calls these cookies a caress cookie is the absolute velvety smoothness of the whipped eggs and sugar. 5 minutes she writes, of sugars and proteins beating themselves into silk. Then he adds the vanilla and instant coffee. The instant coffee provides a heavy coffee infusion with a scant amount of ingredient. We, from previous unmentionable drinking habits, had some instant coffee lying around. All we needed, 1.5 teaspoons, 3 since we doubled, and the taste transforms into the mocha hint.
Enter chocolate round #2, American-processed unsweetened cocoa, along with flour, baking powder, salt. Kris looks at me, smiles in his little boy mischief, “Time for chocolate round #2.”
We start to prepare the pecans. Kris wanted to chop them up first, then toast them in the oven, and I knew an intervention was needed. “We don’t want smaller pieces getting burnt while larger pieces still needed to toast up. It’s better to toast them whole and all a uniform shape, then chop them up, plus all the nutty oils will stay in the nut and release once we chop them. “ Kris agreed; if only he agreed this heartily with all my ideas.
With the wet ingredients whipped, flavor added in the forms of vanilla, instant coffee infusion, and melted chocolate-butter-shortening, the dry ingredients prepped, all that was left was the combination moment and the labor of love, turning wet and dry into a workable dough, then adding chopped pecans, and Chocolate Round #3, semi sweet chocolate chips. Absolutely delicious, even the raw dough was stunningly dark in color, smooth and shiny in its fat content.
Then I join the picture in a less managerial position. Now comes the dirty work, touching the dough, shaping it into balls and smashing them into neat circles. This dough does not spread at all, so what we shaped became the shape of our finished cookies. We started with balls, then realized we needed to flatten them to create a cookie shape rather than a ball shape. We arranged them on our baking stones for an even heat distribution.
12.5 to 13 minutes later…the chocolate chips pop they are so ready to melt and fall apart, ripe with delectable mixes of chocolate and hints of coffee. The taste test confirms the need for a small cup of milk with each cookie, that’s how rich they are, Triple-Caress Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh Ms. Dragonwagon, you just made me the coolest teacher ever.