Monday, January 17, 2011

Chocolate-Cherry Chunkers

These chocolate-cherry delights have, count it,
five different kinds of chocolate: bittersweet, unsweetened, milk, semisweet, and cocoa powder.

And, there are cherries.
Could you possibly ask for more?

But, fair warning, these aren't really 'cookies'. They are a bit luxurious, more like not-too-sweet, high quality layer bars in cookie form. But, however you describe them, they taste divine.

To make them, you start by whipping up your eggs and sugar. Then you melt the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates with some butter. Then combine those.
Next, you add in your dry ingredients. How good does this batter look?
Now, time for all your goodies: dark chocolate chips/chunks, milk (or white) chocolate chips/chunks, toasted pecans, and cherries.
When you scoop them onto the baking sheet, it seems like they can't possibly stick together, because the batter is very chunky, but don't worry, it works.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are a bit dry. Be careful when you take them off the cookie sheet, it takes them a little while to set-up.
Let them cool, and get ready to be delighted!
Chocolate-Cherry Chunkers (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup chocolate chips
6 ounces premium milk or white chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped nuts, preferably salted peanuts or pecans
1 cup dried cherries, chopped*

*Her recipe calls for 1 cup moist, plump dark or golden raisins or finely chopped moist, plump dried apricots, but I am in love with the chocolate-cherry combination, hence dried cherries.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate and heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted-- the chocolate and butter should be smooth and shiny but not so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it on the counter to cool.

Working with a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until they are pale and foamy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then scrape down the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the melted butter and chocolate, mixing only until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl, then, on low speed, add the dry ingredients. Mix just until the dry ingredients disappear into the dough, which will be thick, smooth, and shiny. Scrape down the bowl and, using the rubber spatula, mix the semi-sweet and milk (or white) chocolate chips, nuts, and cherries-- you'll have more crunchies than dough at this point. (The dough can be wrapped in plastic and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Drop the dough by generously heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between the mounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will look (and feel) a little dry but the interiors should still be soft. Remove the baking sheet and carefully, using a broad metal spatula, life the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remaining dough, baking only one sheet of cookies at a time and making sure to cool the baking sheet between batches.

If, when the cookies are cooled, the chocolate is still gooey and you'd like it to be a bit firmer, just pop the cookies into the fridge for about 10 minutes.

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