The Year of the Snake, true to its nature, slithered in stealthily. Since I’ve been so busy lately, it almost caught me unaware, but I did manage to prepare a dinner on Sunday night comprised of four, that’s right, FOUR Chinese dishes to eat alongside rice. That’s a record for me. (I couldn’t have done it without help, of course.) (Thanks Chris.) (Afterwards, he and I reclined on the couch and watched Joy Luck Club, a fact I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, but I ended up being moved anyway. Sigh.)
Moving forward, Valentine’s Day is on Thursday! What?! When did mid-February creep up on us? The problem with the month is that it’s way too short, so that my birthday at the beginning of March always seems to strike suddenly and without notice. Yup. It’s official. Time speeds up the older you get.
Let’s not talk about this upcoming birthday anymore—I don’t want to be reminded that I’m careening through my late-20′s like a human cannonball. Instead, let’s shift the conversation over to cookies, chocolate cookies to be exact. (FYI: chocolate is an aphrodisiac, hint hint.)
Today’s recipe came to me courtesy of Carey, who blogged about these beauties not three weeks ago. She got the recipe from the Blue Bottle Coffee recipe book, which should be enough reason for you to make these, immediately.
If you do, however, use peanut butter chips like I did, the cookie’s name changes entirely. It can no longer technically be called Blue Bottle’s double chocolate cookie—maybe I’ll call it Blue Bottle’s Reese’s peanut butter cups cookies instead? But its nature remains very much the same—it’s a dense chocolatey cookie, crackly and chewy both at the same time. I love how the coarse salt punctuates the dough, like exclamation points in otherwise seductive prose. And did I mention that peanut butter is an aphrodisiac? Don’t quote me on that.
I will certainly have to make the official recipe soon, but for my Valentine, peanut butter chips are the way to go.
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp high-quality coarse salt (coarse is key)
1 egg, room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup peanut butter chips
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a medium bowl.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter on low until smooth, around 1–2 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and beat on low until well-combined. Scrape down the bowl, then beat at medium speed until the mixture becomes lighter in color and the texture becomes fluffier, around 5–6 minutes.
In another bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until well blended. As soon as the vanilla hits the egg, begin whisking immediately. Most vanilla extracts are made with an alcohol base, and will curdle the egg if left to sit.
Slowly add the egg mixture in a steady stream to the bowl containing the butter, beating on medium speed until well-incorporated and very smooth, around 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds.
Scrape down sides of bowl, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until uniform in texture. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the chopped chocolate. Mix on low speed until the color is a uniform brown and no streaks of white remain.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a rough disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 5 days.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Roll 1/4 cup portions of the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake 11–12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch and the surface is no longer glossy, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.