Category Archives: Chocolate

One Big Chocolate M&Ms Cookie

One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieLast week, I needed a win. I needed a win badly.One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieI was reeling from a personal tragedy, having a difficult time getting myself out of bed in the morning, and couldn’t get any recipes to work properly. I suffer from depression and anxiety, so some of this is just part of my normal life, but there’s something about having recipes—something with which I am supposed to have some modicum of talent and control—repeatedly fail that sends me into a tailspin.

Exhibit A: That time I obsessively made 18 babkas.One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieI woke up Friday morning determined to get one recipe to work. Just one. Something I thought would be easy and only take two or three tries: a chocolate variation on my single-serving One Big Chocolate Chip Cookie. Using that recipe as a guide, I started mixing…and then proceeded to have many, many fails.One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOver the course of two hours, I ran the gamut of cookie failure. Too flat, too puffy, too dry, too chemical-tasting—you get the idea. Here are four of them:One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieBut then I looked at my tried & true Double Chocolate Cookie recipe and realized I hadn’t tried blooming the cocoa, a method of heating it with butter and sugar that produces a richer chocolate flavor. As with the large-batch cookies, this quick and easy process turned out to be key to my One Big Chocolate M&Ms Cookie success!One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieAlso, crucial to cookie success? Underbaking. If you bake this cookie until it’s fully done, you’ll end up with a chocolate M&Ms frisbee. This is because cocoa powder tends to dry things out and also because I use a teaspoon of water here in place of the usual egg (a little trick I learned from the regular chocolate chip version). Underbaking will yield crisp-chewy edges, a crackly top, and a soft, fudgy center. Yesssss.One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieI had a bunch of M&Ms leftover from making Monster Carmelitas last month, so that’s what I chose to use as my cookie mix-in. I love the contrast of the melty chocolate centers, crispy candy shells, and brownie-like cookie, but feel free to put whatever you want into this cookie base. Regular semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate, mini peanut butter cups, walnuts—whatever you have around. It’s almost certainly guaranteed to be a win. And really, when is a big cookie not a win?One Big Chocolate M&Ms Cookie

One Big Chocolate M&Ms Cookie
makes one large cookie

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon water (not cold)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons M&Ms candy

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine butter, cocoa powder, and brown sugar. Microwave in 15-second increments, stirring in between until melted together. Alternatively, you may do this in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat.

Mix in water and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and whisk with a fork until a soft dough forms. Use a silicone spatula or spoon to mix/fold in M&Ms.

Use your hands to form dough into a ball and place on parchment. Dot with additional M&Ms (for aesthetic purposes), if desired. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the top is crackly and the cookie appears a bit underdone.

Let cookie cool on the pan for 5-7 minutes before using a spatula to remove it to a plate. Enjoy.One Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms CookieOne Big Chocolate M&Ms Cookie

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Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsI am irrationally irritated by the fact that strawberries are so popular in Valentine’s Day treats. The amount of time I spend stewing over this sort of thing is more than a little ridiculous, but can you blame me? Strawberries aren’t in season right now—most of the punnets in the produce section have the flavor and texture of a styrofoam cup, but they are red and pretty, so there’s no doubt that this February crop will sell like hotcakes* for years to come.

*This is a thing my mother says. I have never said this before today. I barely understand the metaphor. Lord help me.Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsPersonally, I like to bypass the off-season fruit this time of year and reach for freeze-dried strawberries instead. I buy ‘em at Trader Joe’s, whirl them into powder and fold it into all sorts of things. They deliver big fresh strawberry flavor anytime of year and I love the natural pink color they provide, especially in buttercream frosting.Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsFluffy buttercream with a fresh strawberry punch? Sign. me. up ❤Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsFrosting is, of course, most traditionally used as a flourish on cakes and cookies and bars, but today, I’m putting it in the spotlight with these Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams!Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsChocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsThese bite-sized bonbons have sweet, creamy strawberry buttercream centers, a crackly coat of dark chocolate coating, and a smattering of sprinkles—I don’t know about you, but that combination of things is definitely the way to my heart.Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsAdd to that that these no-bake beauties are are simple to make and keep for days on end (as long as your heavy cream stays good), and you’ve got a Valentine’s Day treat that’ll have people lining up to get your number.Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsI mean, they may only want it so that they can get more homemade candy, but is that such a bad thing?Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams
makes about 5 dozen candies

1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
16 ounces dark chocolate (not chocolate chips)
sprinkles (optional)

Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in confectioner’s sugar, strawberry powder, and salt. Mixture may be alarmingly crumbly—this is normal. Add vanilla and heavy cream. Beat until thick and very fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Press a sheet of plastic wrap to the surface of the frosting. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to a day.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove chilled frosting from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Scoop frosting by the teaspoon, roll into balls, and place on prepared pan. Coating your palms in confectioner’s sugar will help the rolling process. Chill rolled frosting uncovered for one hour.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to chop chocolate. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between, until smooth. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Let cool five minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove buttercream balls from the refrigerator.

To dip, drop one ball of buttercream into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat buttercream in chocolate. Drain briefly by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl. Use the fork to gently lay the buttercream on the prepared pan. Immediately top with sprinkles, if using. Continue until all buttercreams have been coated and topped. Chocolate may be re-warmed in 15 second increments as needed.

Chill buttercreams for at least fifteen minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ButtercreamsChocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesI’m not sure exactly how I’ve allowed 3+ years to go by without giving you my recipe for Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies, but I’m happy to be rectifying that travesty today.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesI mean, how dare I deprive you of this dead-easy recipe for these deeply chocolaty, shockingly tender blank-slate cookies for 362 posts! How. Dare. I.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesYou may think I’m being dramatic—they’re cookies, not rocket science—but these are really delicious. Like more chocolaty than any plain, no-frills cookie really ought to be.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesChocolate Cut-Out CookiesSo rich and buttery and utterly decadent that you’d be more than happy to eat them by their lonesome…Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies…but then you’d be missing out on the cheeriness that comes with a layer of my go-to Quick-Dry Royal Icing.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesOr perhaps you, like me, prefer your cookies and icing with a little light-hearted snark. I’m not one of those people that hates Valentine’s Day—far from it—but I do prefer a more tongue-in-cheek approach over the traditional syrupy-sweet message.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesPerhaps I’ve had my heart broken one too many times. Or maybe I just know exactly what I want: a man who will tolerate me for all my weirdness and vast amount of baking equipment.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesYes. That and a pile of cookies.Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Quick-Dry Royal Icing, for decorating (recipe below)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
graduated cookie cutters

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Dough may seem a bit crumbly, but will hold together well when pinched. Divide dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one quarter of chilled dough at a time, roll it to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Place cut cookies at least 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until soft but no longer raw-looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

Decorate cookies with Quick-Dry Royal Icing and allow to dry.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Quick-Dry Royal Icing
recipe barely adapted from SugarDeaux

3 tablespoons meringue powder
5 ounces warm water
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 tablespoon corn syrup
water

Special Equipment:
small bowls
gel food coloring
piping bags (or plastic sandwich bags)
small round piping tips and couplers
squeeze bottles
toothpicks
sprinkles

In a large mixing bowl, combine meringue powder and warm water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until doubled in size, about 1 minute. Mix in cream of tartar, vanilla, and almond extract. With the mixer running on low, add 1 pound of confectioner’s sugar. Mix in corn syrup. Add the remaining pound of confectioner’s sugar. Scrape down the bowl before beating on medium-low for an additional 30 seconds.

Divide icing among small bowls. Press plastic wrap to the surface of all exposed icing.

Make outline icing. Working with one bowl of icing at a time, add water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds. Stir in gel food coloring until the desired color is reached. Place 1/4 cup of icing into a piping bag with a tip. Alternatively, load icing into a plastic sandwich bag and snip a very tiny corner. Outline all cookies. Set aside to dry while you prepare fill icing.

Add water by the 1/2 teaspoon until the ribbon of icing fades into the bowls within 2 seconds. Load icing into squeeze bottles. Working with one cookie at a time, fill icing into outlined sections. Use toothpicks to coax fill icing evenly to the outlines.

Decorate with more icing or sprinkles, as desired. Let cookies dry uncovered at room temperature for 4-6 hours. For 3D decorations, use outline icing to decorate dried cookies and allow to sit uncovered for another 3-4 hours.

Iced cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

One Big Chocolate Chip Cookie

One Big Chocolate Chip CookieI know I’ve been keeping it savory and vaguely healthy this month, but I like to live on the edge. Especially on Saturday nights while wearing my softest/oldest/ugliest/best pajamas and a sweatshirt only the person who bought it in college (12 years ago!) could love.

(With a wardrobe like that, it’s a wonder that I’m single.)One Big Chocolate Chip CookieMy partying days are well behind me now. I don’t drink or smoke anymore. I quit Diet Coke completely and have cut my seltzer intake to a maximum of two a day. My coffee…well, that’s neither here nor there.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieThe point is that my list of vices is pretty short these days, but making myself One Big Chocolate Chip Cookie on the occasional late night is one that I have no intention of parting with. Sometimes you just need a cookie the size of your face. Sometimes it’s the answer to all your problems.

Well, a big cookie and acceptance. Acceptance is a pretty important important part of solving problems.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieBut this is a baking blog so…back to this big, no-sharing-required dessert for one (or two, if you’re feeling benevolent). It requires miniscule amounts of 8 ingredients that you likely already have, and only about 25 minutes start-to-finish.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieOne Big Chocolate Chip CookieOne Big Chocolate Chip CookieThis recipe differs drastically from that of my usual Chocolate Chip Cookies. For one, there’s no egg. I have tried many of the single big cookie recipes out there and have always been frustrated by the fact that they require you to scoop one tablespoon of a beaten egg. Have you ever tried to measure a spoonful of beaten egg? It’s stupidly difficult. Also, what do you do with the leftover two tablespoons of beaten egg?!

This is the sort of baking silliness that infuriates me (clearly), so I found a way around it. This recipe mitigates the egg-measuring problem by swapping in one teaspoon of water, and it works incredibly well. I wouldn’t try this for any large-batch cookie recipes, but it works here.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieOne Big Chocolate Chip CookieThe other differences from my regular recipe are less…scientific. I use melted butter here because creaming one tablespoon of butter is ridiculous and unnecessary. Oh, and there’s no need to chill your dough. This recipe is meant to be made on the fly and enjoyed while the chocolate is still melty.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieMelted chocolate + soft centers + chewy caramelized edges = ❤ ❤ ❤ One Big Chocolate Chip CookieA quick word about leaveners before I get to the recipe. I tested this recipe seven times (!) with both baking soda and baking powder. Baking soda, which I use in my large-batch recipe because it produces browner cookies with more surface area, won out, but just barely.

Generally speaking, baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable, but this is one recipe where you can use either one (in a 1/8 teaspoon volume) and still have a quality cookie. The baking powder version will be a bit thicker and won’t have the same dark, buttery edges as the baking soda version, but it will still be delicious. This soda/powder swap will not work for many (if any) other recipes, but it works here. I thought about leaving this information out of this post, but I don’t want a lack of leavener to come between you and a cookie the size of your face.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieThank me later.One Big Chocolate Chip Cookie

One Big Chocolate Chip Cookie
makes 1 large cookie

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon water (not cold)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda*
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for optional topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Mix in water and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and whisk until a dough forms. Use a silicone spatula or spoon to mix/fold in chocolate chips.

Use your hands to form dough into a ball and place on parchment. Dot with additional chocolate chips (for aesthetic purposes), if desired. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until edges have darkened to a golden brown color and center is still a bit pale.

Let cookie cool on the pan for 5-7 minutes before using a spatula to remove it to a plate. Enjoy.

Note:

An equal volume of baking powder will work in place of baking soda. The cookie it produces will be a bit thicker and paler, but still delicious. I do not recommend swapping baking soda and baking powder in any other recipes.One Big Chocolate Chip CookieOne Big Chocolate Chip CookieOne Big Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesIf you want to know what kind of person I am outside of this blog, you should know that I once spent six months of my life obsessively making jam (and preserves) in a kitchen that is smaller that my current closet. Strawberry, cherry, grapefruit marmalade, gingered nectarine—you name it. I had all the preserving equipment you can imagine and an entire kitchen shelf filled with jars of colorful fruit-based spreads.

Years later, I’m pretty sure all that equipment (except for my beloved jar funnels—great stocking stuffer, btw!) and that jam is still sitting in that apartment because I left it all there when I moved out…because I don’t particularly care for jam. I just like to make it.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesSo, to wrap that up: I am prone to intense kitchen projects (hello, three year-old food blog with 338 unique recipes) and I have never once wanted a linzer cookie.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesI mean, I am all about crunchy, nutty roll-out cookies, but why must they always be sandwiched with jam? Jam is not a dessert food, at least as far as I am concerned. A breakfast food? Sure. Lunch? You bet. Dessert? No way.*

*Except in these.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesYou know what absolutely *is* a dessert food? Nutella.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate hazelnut spread = dessert food.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate hazelnut cookies = dessert food.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesA layer of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread sandwiched between two crunchy chocolate hazelnut cookies = the dessertiest dessert food.

(“Dessertiest” is a word today.)Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesSo, in conclusion, when it comes to Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies, no jam, no problem.Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
Looking for more chocolate hazelnut? Check out this cake, this granola, these grain-free cookies, these brownies, and this pie. Oh, and this other pie. And this buttercream. I ❤ chocolate hazelnut.

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
makes 22-24 sandwich cookies

1/2 cup raw whole hazelnuts
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar, for dusting
1/4-1/2 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread (based on preference)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter
1-inch cookie cutter
sifter or mesh sieve

Preheat oven to 350F. Place hazelnuts on a dry, rimmed sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Immediately transfer hazelnuts to a clean, dry, textured hand towel. Fold towel around the hazelnuts and then rub the towel with the palm of your hand. This will allow the hazelnut skins to loosen. This step does not have to be done perfectly.

Once hazelnuts are cool, transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a fine meal forms. Set aside.

Make the cookie dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer. When butter is fluffy and lighter in color, beat in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Mix in hazelnut meal. Add dry ingredients to in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place half the cut cookies on prepared pans. Use a smaller cutter to cut a small hole in the center of the remaining cookies before placing them on the prepared pans. If dough becomes too warm, freeze pans of cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake 12-13 minutes, until slightly puffed. They will be a touch soft, but will crisp up as they cool. Let cookies cool at least 10 minutes on their pans before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking until all dough has been used.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with 1/2-1 teaspoon of Nutella (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days. Place wax paper between layers for best storage.
Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer CookiesChocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies