No Special Equipment Needed

August 1, 2012

Let me say this, I love my KitchenAid mixer.  It has a permanent home on my counter in this house and will in the next house.  I got my first one in my mid 20’s and it saw me through countless cookies, cakes, and confections of all sorts.  Once I started working as a personal chef, I decided to upgrade and get the professional one.  It is larger and has a different way of uniting the bowl and the paddle, but otherwise it is the same machine.  To tell you the truth, I kind of miss my old one.  I can’t recommend a KitchenAid mixer highly enough.  I can also tell you that most recipes that tell you to use a stand mixer can also be made by hand.  An exception would be something like brioche which requires long periods of mixing at high speeds.

Once in a while, I find it nice to bake with minimal equipment.  I am drawn to recipes that tell you to stir things in a bowl.  This is just one of those recipes.  It comes from Alice Medrich – an undisputed genius baker and cookbook author.  We had her at Book Larder and I loved what she had to say about her new book Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts.  She wrote it for cooks – not bakers.  So it is heavy on play and options and light on hard fast rules.  I loved that idea.

And now, in case you haven’t been reading along for 4+ years on this blog, a short summary of my feelings about cookies.  I love chocolate!  I like white chocolate!  Cookies should be chocolate!  Most of the time!  I don’t like nuts in my sweets! 

I think that about does it.  My brother Michael, an avid reader of this site and someone who has been eating cookies with me for his whole life, said, after gulping one of these down, “I thought you don’t like nuts in cookies.”  True.  But these are very rich little buggers and for some reason that little crunch and nuttiness is welcome for me here.  I had some odd bits and bobs of chocolate so I used a variety, including these huge white chocolate disks.  I really liked what they did for the cookie.

One Year Ago:  Soft Lettuces with Herbs and Avocado,
Two Years Ago:  Soft Tacos, Holly B’s Fruit Scones
Three Years Ago:  Indian Spiced Chickpeas with Yogurt and Herbs, Muhummara Dip, Zesty Tofu Wraps

Bittersweet Brownie Drops
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts
Makes about 30 cookies

This is one of the very few recipes where my yield matched the expected yield.  And the title is perfect, these taste like brownies in cookie form.  Thank you Ms. Medrich!

4 tbsp. (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. (1.75 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. baking soda
Scant 1 cup (6.5 ounces) sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup (3.5 ounces) walnut or pecan pieces
6 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, milk, or white chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Put the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, preferably stainless steel, set in a wide skillet of barely simmer water, and stir frequently until the mixture is melted, smooth, and fairly hot to the touch.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour and baking soda together.

When the chocolate mixture is ready, remove the bowl from the water bath and stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or spatula until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the bowl; it is critical that the batter pull itself together, so don’t stop mixing until it does.  Make sure that the batter is completely cool, then stir in the nuts and chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.

Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons of the batter 2 inches apart onto the lined sheets.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and crackled on the surface but feel slightly soft when touched with a fingertip; rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.  Set the pans on racks to cool completely or slide the pan liners onto racks.  The cookies keep in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.



  1. These look so freaking yummy!

    Comment by Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — August 1, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  2. I was thinking we just might be soul mates as I was nodding my head in agreement with everything you said from loving your mixer, to sometimes enjoying a recipe that requires no equipment, to your appreciation for Alice Medrich, to your love of chocolate. But I love nuts in my sweet treats! These cookies look fab and I can’t wait to check out this book by the great Ms. Medrich.

    Thrilled to have found your blog!

    Comment by Candy @ Candy Girl — August 2, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  3. Whenever a recipe tells me NOT to use my stand mixer, I’m always a bit reticent to do so (somehow mixing it up in that big bowl always seems less messy) but there is something a bit gratifying about getting out that spatula and just stirring. I’ve yet to meet an Alice Medrich dessert that I didn’t love…and though I’m not a fan of nuts in my desserts either, I am so going to try this!

    Comment by Joanne — August 3, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  4. These look so good! It’s a little too hot here to turn on the oven now, but I’ll keep this recipe for a cooler day. I do love nuts in cookies because I always think cookies can benefit from the crunch – and it helps them from getting bogged down in sweetness. Cocoa nibs would be another great addition here too! Yum.

    Comment by kickpleat — August 6, 2012 @ 5:51 am

  5. Unsalted butter isn’t something I normally stock. Since were adding salt as well, couldn’t I just use salted butter and leave out the extra 1/4tsp?

    Comment by Jason — March 7, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

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