Friday, October 21, 2005

Attention chocoholics!

Fudge Drops
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Copyright 2003

12 ounces (about 2 cups) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips I used semisweet
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter
¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional) I added this
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a double boiler or in the microwave, gently melt together the chocolate and butter. To avoid heating the chocolate too much and possibly burning it, the best method is to heat until the butter has melted and the chocolate has partially melted, then remove from the heat. Stir until all the chocolate melts.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until they’re thoroughly combined. Add the espresso powder, vanilla, baking powder, and salt, then stir this mixture into the melted chocolate, mixing until well blended. Stir in the flour. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes to thicken; it should be the consistency of thick cake batter. (It was still pretty loose after 5 minutes, almost too loose to put on the cookie sheet. By the time the last batch went in the oven, it was thicker than your average chocolate chip cookie dough yet there wasn't a whole lot of difference in appearance between the batches.)

Drop the cookie dough in round blobs onto a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. (I used parchment.) They should be a bit smaller than a Ping-Pong ball. Using a cookie scoop (or a small ice cream scoop that holds about 2 tablespoons of liquid) makes this task extremely simple. Leave about 2 inches between the dough balls, as they’ll spread as they bake. (They spread a lot.) Place a nonpareil or chocolate kiss in the middle of each, if desired. (Personally, I think nuts would be good but not nonpareils or kisses. They suggest 1 cup of toasted nuts if you choose to add them.)

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until their tops are shiny and cracked. You want these baked all the way through, but just barely; additional baking will make them cakey rather than fudgy. To make sure they’re baked take the pan out of the oven and use a spoon or fork to gently cut into a cookie; it shouldn’t have any raw-appearing or liquidlike batter remaining in the center, but should still be moist.

Remove the cookies from the oven , wait five minutes, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

These are a VERY chocolately cookie. After putting them together I realized that these were quite similar to the chocolate snowflake cookies I often make for Christmas. For those, the batter is chilled and then rolled in powdered sugar. They’re higher and rounder and a lot messier.

These Fudge Drops are a little bit classier (no powdered sugar falls onto your clothing). They’d be great on any cookie tray. They don’t look very fancy but after one bite any chocolate lover would be satisfied.

My first recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. This was a birthday present. I used to draw a blank when family members asked for gift suggestions but now I keep a list of cookbooks handy.

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