(From the archives (February 2009), but updated with new pictures and more information)
These cookies are fabulous. A thin crackly crust yields to a soft, moist, intensely chocolate interior, punctuated with rivulets of melted chocolate and large and chunks of nuts.
The dough also can be switched up to make different kinds of cookies. Make them large, and they will be mousse-ey soft inside. Make them small and they are chewy-cakey-crunchy. Add a bit of cinnamon to give them a cappucino twist. Or make them minty and colorful with mint lentils instead of chocolate chips (this was Shoshana’s clever twist on these cookies when she made this recipe at my urging last year). Leave out the nuts, or keep the nuts and add dried fruit. Shape the dough by dropping it from a spoon for a rustic, craggy look. Chill the dough and roll balls or slice squares for a more tailored look.
Did I mention that they are easy to make? They also freeze well, either as baked cookies or as a cut-and-bake dough.
These are truly versatile.
The creator of this chocolate goodness is Maida Heatter, who first published these cookies under the name “mulattoes” in her first dessert cookbook. She tweaked the recipe over the years (here is one of her updated versions from a later edition of her first cookbook, which calls for the cookies to be made larger and has more butter; I can’t find the original version online).
So many other baking greats made their mark by adapting these cookies, too, such as Dorie Greenspan (who favors dried fruit), Ina Garten (who based her famous brownies on Soho Gobs, which in turn were based on Mulattoes) and Alice Medrich (who worked out a way of converting the recipe to use high quality bittersweet chocolate instead of the original combination of unsweetened and semisweet in her recipe for Bittersweet Decadence Cookies, p.286-87 pf Bittersweet).
My own twist is substituting the butter with oil and the flour with potato starch or a combination of potato starch and cocoa powder to make the cookies kosher for Passover and pareve.
I first blogged about these two years ago, but these cookies deserve another post.
The Best Ever Passover Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Maida Heatter and Alice Medrich (see above for explanation and for links)
Melt together in a bowl set over a pot of hot water:
2 Tbl. kosher for Passover safflower oil (or, if making dairy, use butter; you can use more butter, other versions of this recipe use 4 or 6 Tbl. of butter)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (you can combine semisweet chocolate chips with extra-dark bittersweet–use a 3.5 ounces/100g. bar of kosher for Passover “Schmerling 72 percent cocoa” chocolate and 4.5 ounces/135g. of kosher for Passover chocolate chips, about 3/4 cup)
In another bowl whip together until light and fluffy and the sugar is dissolved:
2 eggs (brought to ROOM TEMPERATURE–no cold eggs, please)
1/2 cup sugar (3.75 ounces/110 g.)
Note: Maida Heatter just calls for whipping the eggs and sugar, but Alice Medrich favors whisking the eggs and sugar in a bowl set over a pot of hot water until the mixture is lukewarm. This method both warms up the eggs and dissolves the sugar. You can take the bowl of chocolate off the pot of hot water and use that to warm up the eggs and sugar. Whichever approach you use, make sure that the eggs are tepid and NOT COLD, or they will cool down the melted chocolate too much and cause the batter to set up too fast. Also, make sure that sugar has dissolved or the cookies will be slightly gritty (you can feel a drop of the mixture and see if you feel sugar granules or if the mixture feels smooth).
Here is what the eggs look like after whipping:
Add to the eggs and beat until the coffee powder dissolves:
1 tsp. kosher for Passover vanilla
2 tsp. coffee powder
Add and beat to combine:
2 Tbl. cocoa powder
2 Tbl. potato starch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. kosher for Passover baking powder (such as Gefen brand)
The mixture will still be fairly light and fluffy, but brown from the added coffee powder and cocoa:
Now fold in your add-ins:
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate (6 ounces)
1-2 cups walnuts or pecans (3.5 – 7 ounces)
You can spoon this batter on two parchment lined sheets. Make 18 large cookies, or 36 small cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes (about 11-12 minutes for small, and 12-14 for the large).
Ice-box variation: you can also chill the dough and roll it into balls or slice it for less rustic looking cookies.
If you want to make square cookies, dump the batter onto a large sheet of parchment and shape it into a rectangle that is about 3″ wide, 10″-12″ long, and 1 1/2″ high:
Wrap the rectangle up in the parchment and chill until firm:
Cut the chilled log into 3/4″ thick slices (you should try to get about 18 slices, but you can make 10-12 large slices if you prefer; cut the slices in half to make cookies that are about 1.5″ x 1.5″ x .75″ of you want to get 3 dozen cookies. I wasn’t so careful in my slicing and got about 2 dozen cookies)
You can place the cookies fairly close together on the baking sheet because they don’t really spread.
Here they are before baking:
And here they are after baking:
Bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. They might not look or feel done, but they should be dry on top. Don’t try to move them until they have cooled, they are just too soft.
These cookies freeze well, but don’t keep very well at room temperature (not a problem–they get gobbled up pretty quickly). You can bake and freeze, or freeze the raw dough and then slice and bake.
You can use 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (50 to 60 perccent) OR
a 3.5 ounce bar of 72 percent plus 4.5 ounces of chocolate chips (3/4 cup) OR
take a look at p.287 of Bittersweet for adjust the recipe to different percentages of chocolate.