When I was pregnant with Graham, over eight years ago, I discovered the perfect chocolate biscotti. It was sliced very thin, had nice height, crunched with a lovely snap but not so much that you hurt your teeth, and a beautiful subtle cocoa flavor studded with tiny chocolate chips. Because I was pregnant, the craving for that biscotti became a necessity. My perfect biscotti could be found at the then newly opened Dahlia Bakery, just next door to the Dahlia Lounge, a longtime favorite restaurant in Seattle. The duo sit side by side on 5th Avenue just under the monorail. It is just far enough away from the department stores that parking is not terrible, especially if you go around 3pm which I did, just about every day.
I am pretty careful about my weight and don’t allow myself afternoon treats – unless I am pregnant. (There is a post brewing on this topic.) After I delivered Graham, I continued to eat the biscotti during the first few months of nursing, seeing as chocolate was a requirement both times I nursed, and then I gave up the habit. Soon after getting the positive pregnancy test with Spencer, I trudged downtown to the bakery, toddler Graham in tow, only to find that they no longer made my precious biscotti. I was heartbroken but, of course, found other things in that lovely bakery to enjoy. The problem was none of them satisfied me in the same way. I was looking for a sweet treat – crunch, snap, chocolate. Too many of their goodies where of the dinner-ruining variety. I carried both of my babies really high, and I am not all that tall to begin with, so as I got into my third trimester, the amount of room I had in my body for food diminished. Every day it was a choice between dinner and snacks and dinner always won out.
All this to say that when I received a copy of the Dahlia Lounge Bakery Cookbook, the first thing I did was look to see whether the biscotti recipe was in there. Sadly, the answer is no. There are many treasures inside though and the things I have made have been lovely. Not exactly subtle though. These cookies, which boast a whopping 2 pounds of chocolate, are pretty much the opposite of those delicate biscotti. They are large, heavy for their size, and fully of pure chocolate flavor. The texture is great, soft enough but with some crisp on the outside, and the whole cookie is punctuated with bits of more chocolate. My husband, who continues to profess that he does not like chocolate, inhaled these. By the way, if you have a recipe that you like for chocolate biscotti, one that more or less fits the description above, will you send it my way?
One Year Ago: Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting, Sesame Snap Peas, Green Curry Noodles, Wasabi Dip, Corn Muffins with Raspberry Jam, Watercress Salad with Marinated Figs, Sambal Talur
Two Years Ago: White Chocolate Tiramisu, Red, White, and Green Lasagne, Somen Noodle Soup with Spring Vegetables, Asparagus Risotto
Three Years Ago: Apple Torte, Honey Roasted Pear Salad, Paparadelle with Lemon, Herbs, and Ricotta Salata, Red Lentil Dhal, Grilled Haloumi Cheese and Lemon
Four Years Ago: Mushroom Enchiladas, Winter Thai Curry, Palmiers, Rosemary Flatbread with Blue Cheese and Grapes, Smoky Cashews,
Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Crackly Crust
The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Makes about 30 cookies
I have made these a couple of times now and I will give two tips. One is to sprinkle a little fleur de sel over the top of the unbaked cookies, just after you have flattened them. That much chocolate needs a little salt. Also, they are easy to underbake. They will start to look crackly early but let them have the full 14 minutes in the oven – at least.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pound plus 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
Generous 2 cups (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a bwol, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Stir in the salt and set aside. Place the chopped chocolat ein a heaproof bowl over a saucepan of very hot water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the water and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and cream on medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mising on medium speed unti the eggs are incorporated.
Increase the speed to high and beat for a few minutes until the mixture is very light, creamy and pale in color, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla extract and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl form the mixer and fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Start scooping the cookies as soon as you finish making the batter. The batter is very soft at first, but it starts firming up quickly as it sits, which will make it more difficult to portion. The easiest way to portion the cookies is with a 2-ounce ice cream scoop. Pack the scoop only about three-quarters full. Or use a scant 1/4 cup of cookie dough for each cookie.
Scoop the cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheets, placing them about 2 inches apart. Flatten each mount of dough slightly with your hand. (Tip: You can use a dampened hand, because the dough is sticky.)
Soon after the cookies are scooped, put them in the oven and bake them. If you are baking in batches, don’t refrigerate the scooped dough, but leave them at room temperature. These cookies will not spread properly if the dough is chilled first.
Bake the cookies until they are evenly cracked all over the tops and softly set, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through the baking time. If you have 2 pans of cookies in the oven at the same time, also switch them between racks.
Remove pans from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheets with a metal spatula. They stick to the paper a bit, but you can scrape them off with a sturdy metal spatula easily enough.