When I was painstakingly chopping/shaving the bar of expensive, artisan, bittersweet chocolate needed for these cookies, the thought struck me ... it is so obvious that I do not have children and have actual time to dawdle and make this recipe. So simple and easy? Oh hell no. Delicious? If these cookies were a sin, I'm paving the highway to hell with Scharffen Berger chocolate.
Like the "who knew tequila could go with popcorn" recipe, this comes from 101 Cookbooks, run by Heidi Swanson - something of a guru in the American natural food movement.
Ryan loves chocolate chip cookies. I liked this recipe because it included walnuts and oatmeal. It also included molasses, which is an underutilized staple from my pantry. I was also intrigued to see what 12 dozen cookies would look like resting on my counter, but like all recipes - I have no clue what I screw up to end up with less than they claim I should be making.
On the "pain in the ass" scale, this one breaks the range at an 11 (it took me 20 damn minutes to chop up all the chocolate - sure I was making dinner at the same time, but c'mon ... 20 minutes?), but the minute that I bit into one of these and tasted the hint of molasses, along with the subtle crunch of the natural sugar I used. Holy crow ... I could have cried these tasted so good.
Itsy Bitsy Chocolate Chip Cookiesby 101 Cookbooks - Heidi Swanson
5 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate bar (Scharffen Berger 62%)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour **HS used whole wheat pastry flour ... I used all purpose flour and it turned out fine.
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, very, very finely chopped (by hand)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
scant 1 cup natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
scant 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses **HS uses organic, I used the bottle of Brer Rabbit that's been taking up shelf space since the 1990s. OK - only since the beginning of the century, but you get the point.
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup large-grain sugar (for ex: turbinado)
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Finely chop the chocolate bar into 1/8-inch pieces, more like shavings really. (Pain in the ass factor - 11.)
In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients except for sugars. Set aside.
Using a mixer (or by hand) beat the butter until fluffy. (I did it by hand - must be something of a martyr in me this evening.) Beat in the sugar and mix until it is also light and fluffy. Add the molasses, then the egg, mixing until both are well incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mix and stir by hand until the ingredients barely come together into a uniform dough. (This is pretty darn important - I kind of half-arsed this step and my first batch of cookies didn't get enough flour in them, so they spread out all over and stuck to the pan. Still tasty ... but once I really got the flour mixed into the cookies, they baked so much better.)
You're going to take impossibly tiny chunks of dough (HS takes 1 tsp of dough and divides it in half ... I did this for a little bit but then figure out the approximate size for tiny cookie goodness) Place two inches apart on baking sheets. Gently flatten each dough ball and then sprinkle the top of each cookie with a pinch of large-grain sugar. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for a bit on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
Makes about 12 dozen tiny, bite-sized cookies.