Never Qualify a Superlative

chocolate chip cookie cartoon

Chocolate isn’t the only thing in the world, but it was already present when the only thing in the world was discovered and it must have overseen the event.

I have the simplicity and intensity genes and they grow in magnitude when I bake.  So many times I wanted a cookie that would astound, delight and cause the recipient of the cookie to fall back into her childhood without knowing why.  Just as this cookie recipe of my dreams likely had its origin in my own past life, I knew there must be some contemporary expression of it.

My interest in preserving high-quality recipes of the past is less an actual interest and more subconscious verve.  It seems to be built into me organically, and occasionally I surprise myself when I notice my own attraction to such a recipe.

Singular flavors also attract me.  Caramel ice cream.  Chocolate pots de creme.  Hazelnut gelato.  Lemon curd.  Black raspberry confectionery jellies.  I love intense infusions of cream, and I prefer a succulent, rich mouth feel to sweetness.  Pleasureful.

In a cookie as simple as a fudge cookie, the ingredients need to shine.  In this case, both sweet (the recipe calls for Maillard’s, which I believe is unavailable in the US) and unsweetened chocolates pack the punch, and brown sugar helps the flavor bloom. Alternatively, a 62-70% bittersweet chocolate like Scharffen Berger or Guittard would flavor the cookie distinctly, in which case, I’d also replace the unsweetened chocolate.

This is a cookie for the ages.  Thanks be again to The Pleasures of Cooking, alas, living on only in dessert reincarnation.  [Note the “pleasure” theme.]

Adornment, though tempting, is completely unnecessary.  It’s bad form to qualify a superlative.

Fudge Cookies

1-3/4 C (8.75 oz) unbleached all-purposed flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

6 oz sweet cooking chocolate (such as German’s or Maillard’s), cut into 1″ pieces

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1″ pieces

1 C granulated sugar

1 firmly packed C (8 oz) light brown sugar

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 16 pieces

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

In a processor with the metal blade, process the flour, soda and salt to combine. Set mixture aside.

Put half of each chocolate in the processor with 1/4 C granulated sugar. Turn the machine on and off 4 times to chop the chocolate; then process for about 1 minute, until the chocolate is as fine as the sugar. Add another 1/4 C of granulated sugar and 1/2 C of brown sugar; process for 30 seconds. Add half the butter, 1 egg and half the vanilla; process for 1 minute, stopping once to scrape down the bowl.

Add half the flour mixture to the processor and turn the machine on and off about 5 times, just until the flour disappears, to complete the dough. Do not overprocess. Empty the processor bowl and repeat the procedure with all the remaining ingredients to make the rest of the dough.

The dough can be used immediately, but it will be easier to shape if you chill it in the refrigerator.

Fifteen minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Form the dough by hand into 1″ balls. Place them 2″ apart on ungreased cookies sheets. Bake 8 minutes for chewy cookies, 9 minutes for crisp ones. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes; then lift them off with a spatula and cool on wire racks. If you like, lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 4-1/2 C (2 pounds 10-1/2 oz) of dough, 11 dozen 2″ cookies.

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