Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Doom Cookies

Addison has had a challenging summer. He has been doing an Architecture Internship while taking classes to prepare for his Master's year in the fall. He has enjoyed the Internship but juggling work and school has been a bit overwhelming. At times his normal happy-go-lucky demeanor has been replaced with a more gloom and doom attitude. Abnormal Psych and Ethics will do that to you. Maddie and I joke that he needs to lighten-up, which is something he would normally say to us. So, I decided a batch of 'doom cookies' might be in order to give him a chuckle and lift his spirits. 

Deep, dark chocolate seemed the right kind of cookie dough to fit his intense mood with something nutty or crunchy added in since Addison is feeling a little crazy. Caramelized Coconut adds the perfect crisp, toffee accent to balance out the rich chocolate flavor. If you are not a coconut fan use blanched almonds (whole, slivered, or sliced) in place of the coconut in the Caramelized Coconut recipe.

The biggest challenge in making these cookies is not eating all the Caramelized Coconut while putting together the chocolate cookie batter. It is highly additive and very delicious on its own. Although it only takes a few minutes to make the Caramelized Coconut if you don't want to bother you can substitute chopped chocolate covered toffee candy bars (like a Heath bar) or skip the candy and use nuts, plain coconut, or chocolate chips or any combination you desire. Just about anything can be stirred into the cookie dough. 

Caramelized Coconut

1 cup (70 g) dried, unsweetened, large-flake coconut
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/30 g) unsalted butter
sea salt

Lightly oil a baking sheet or line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

Put the butter and sugar in a skillet (preferably non-stick) and sprinkle the coconut over the top. Cook over medium-low heat to melt the sugar and butter. Using a wooden spoon very gently move the coconut around in the pan. The melted sugar/butter mixture will coat the coconut as the coconut turns golden brown. Watch closely not to burn the coconut or the caramelized sugar. Don't stir the mixture vigorously or the sugar will crystallize. Once the coconut/caramel mixture is brown pour on prepared pan and gently spread mixture out a little. Sprinkle with a couple of pinches of sea salt. Allow to cool completely then break into pieces.

Doom Cookies
makes about 4 dozen cookies

1 pound (450 g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramelized Coconut broken into small pieces (or substitute nuts, coconut, and/or chocolate chips)

Melt chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over gently simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until light and the mixture forms a ribbon when the beater is lifted, about 5 minutes. On low speed add the chocolate mixture until thoroughly mixed. Fold in the flour then the caramelized coconut.

Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm 1-2 hours. If it is too solid to scoop allow it to sit for a few minutes to soften a little.

Preheat the oven to 350℉ (175℃). Using a small ice cream scoop or a large spoon form cookie dough into balls and flatten slightly on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Bake the cookies 10-12 minutes until the tops puff and crack. The edges will be set, but the middle will still be soft (like the inside of a brownie). Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes until set then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Note: You can bake two baking sheets of cookies at a time, one in the upper third of the oven and one in the lower third. Be sure to rotate the trays once or twice for even baking. Baking two trays at a time will yield speedier results but I have always found that my cookies look best if I bake one tray at a time in the center of the oven. So when time permits I do it that way.

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