If you are into salt, and want to venture into the world of fancy salt, a good start is Maldon. This salt is the saltiest, crunchiest salt I’ve tasted, and made from the sea! Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, there are members of my family who are in love with salt. So when my dad came across a recipe for salted chocolate cookies, we decided we had to make them the next time we were together, which happened to be this past weekend. I mean, come on, the recipe even calls for Maldon.
Another wonderful thing that comes from this recipe is the discovery of the wonderful blog Orangette. I knew I would like this blog immediately for 2 reasons: 1) the salted chocolate cookies you will see below. 2) it is written by Molly Wizenberg, one of the founders of Delancey in Seattle. If you live in Seattle, I recommend that you immediately stop reading this blog, get in your car, and go to Delancey. Delicious salads, delicate and scrumptious pizzas, and lovely desserts. It’s ok, the blog will be here when you get back. Just go.
Now that you’re back, let’s continue. So these cookies are rich and light at the same time, and I am recently of the impression that salt makes everything better, so it’s a good sign that they’re decorated with fancy salt. Right?
Salted Chocolate Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 2 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
8 Tbl (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tbl sugar, plus more for rolling the logs
2 large eggs
¼ tsp table salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
Maldon salt, for finishing
First thing you’ll need to do is melt your chocolate. After you’ve cut it up, put it in a heatproof bowl that will fit securely on a small saucepan you’ve got. Put about 2 inches of water in the saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and put the bowl of chocolate on the pan. The bowl shouldn’t be touching the water, just getting the steam. You also want to make sure that no moisture gets into the chocolate as this will make it seize, which isn’t really good for anyone. Anyway, heat the chocolate and stir it occasionally until it is melty and smooth. Remove it from the heat (carefully, the bowl will be hot) and set it aside to cool.
Now, in a medium mixing bowl (not your electric mixer, mind you, if you’re planning on using one), combine the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Set aside. In your electric mixer, beat the butter on a medium speed until it’s nice and creamy. Slowly pour in the sugar (perhaps even while the mixer is going, just be careful not to get sugar everywhere), and continue to mix until the butter/sugar mixture is smooth and soft. Now add the eggs one at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each one. Add the salt and vanilla, and, making sure it’s cool (you don’t want it to cook the eggs), the melted chocolate. Beat to incorporate all of these things into one beautiful mixture.
Now beat in the milk, and lastly, the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until it’s just incorporated. Here’s a little note about electric mixers: sometimes I turn mine up higher to fling off the stuff stuck on the paddle or whisk and get it mixed in. I should not do this unless the recipe I’m following specifically tells me to turn the mixer up high. Why? Because by doing this, I’m adding air to the dough/batter, which can make the cookies (or whatever I’m making) a different texture than they were intended to be. So now you know.
Now comes a fun/weird part. Dampen a counter and lay out a big piece of plastic wrap (dampening it – wiping it with a wet sponge – will help keep the plastic wrap in place while you work) and dump 1/2 or 1/3 of your dough onto it. Now you’re going to have to mush and mold and roll the dough using the plastic wrap to shape a log. The size of the log totally depends on how big you want your cookies to be. Mine was probably about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Anyway, after you’ve smooshed it into a good log, you can wrap it up in the plastic wrap, twist up the ends, and stick it in your fridge to chill overnight.
When you’re ready to make some freaking cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Also, remove your dough from the fridge. You’ll need that. Now, the recipe says to put parchment paper on your work surface, make a pile of sugar on it, and roll the dough in it. That did not work for me, though I did try. It probably would have worked better to put a cup of sugar in a shallow bowl and dunk the logs in that, but because I already had sugar all over my work surface (I also just used a cutting board instead of more parchment paper), I just decided to sprinkle sugar over the logs. Anyway, however you do it, coat your dough logs with sugar, and then slice them with a sharp knife into 1/4-1/3 inch slices. Put the cookies on the cookie sheet about an inch apart, and sprinkle each cookie with some Maldon salt. Note: the amount of salt we put on the cookies increased with each batch because we love the stuff so much.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes. The cookies should still feel soft to the touch, but look set. After allowing them to cool on the sheet for a minute, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. This recipe made SO MANY COOKIES. Seriously. Like… 5 or 6 dozen. And they are hard to stop eating, so be warned. Make them for a party or a gathering or something.