Saturday, July 31, 2010

July's Cookie of the Month: Big Soft Chocolate Cookies

For awhile now I've been itching to make a straightforward chocolate cookie out of The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book. But my primary independent taste tester is way into chocolate chips. This month. . . no chips!

Unlike last month's Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies, a book called The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book is probably required by law to contain a recipe for Big Soft Chocolate Cookies. [BTW, check the comments to last month's post for the book's author's explanation for why he included Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies in the book . . . totally valid, and I kinda wish he explained it in the preamble to the recipe because I love that sort of insight into people's thought processes.]

These cookies were indeed soft and chocolate, as discussed more thoroughly below. But the directions say to just use a rounded tablespoonful. My cookies didn't spread much. So as originally written the recipe does not actually yield big cookies. They were certainly not big enough to make into ice cream sandwiches as recommended in the variations section at the end of the recipe (make perfect discs of ice cream by using a serrated knife to slice up a pint of ice cream in its container then just peal off the container bits . . . genius!). So I made a set of four cookies with double the amount of dough. One appears on the left in the picture above. It is just about the same diameter as a pint of ice cream. Perfect! Do take note that the recipe as written only yields about 20 cookies at the tablespoon size, which my baking confirmed. So if you're going to make BIG, soft, chocolate cookies you'll probably only get ten or fewer . . . only enough for five ice cream sandwiches.

Size aside, the flavor of these cookies was kinda muted, but that might be just my perception as I'm used to having big chunks of solid chocolate in my cookies. On the up side, they would be perfect with other stuff - like made into sandwich cookies of ice cream or peanut butter or pretty much anything, or in a bowl with some raspberry sorbet. Or maybe even add different flavored chips to them . . . like peanut butter or white chocolate or butterscotch. The chocolate is at a good level for pairing with other flavors without bowling them over. Of course my aforementioned independent taste tester said, "You know what these need? Chocolate chips." Argh!

But the softness is beyond compare. Such amazing texture. Not chewy. Not crumbly. Evenly soft from edges to center. Well, I haven't tested the supersized cookies yet, which will probably be a little softer in the middle than the edges . . . but they seem consistent to the touch. I'll update after the Great Ice Cream Sandwich experiment happens. These cookies have the best consistency of any cookie ever. If I could figure out how to translate that softness to every cookie I make, this whole experiment in making a cookie a month from this book will be SO worth it. Well, I get to eat cookies every month, and I discovered a new delectable way to use up frozen bananas, OK, it's already been worth it. But it will be even more worth it.

A tip on the procedure. After adding the melted chocolate to the dough, be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl. Even though everything was at the prescribed temperatures and my kitchen was pretty warm, I got a ring of hardened chocolate around my bowl about an inch below where the dough reached up the side of the bowl. If I hadn't compulsively scraped down the sides, I wouldn't have seen it. It took a little bit of elbow grease to scrape the chocolate back into the dough, but it darkened the dough noticeably, so it's totally worth the effort.

Big Soft Chocolate Cookies adapted from The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book: From Chocolate Melties to Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Biscotti to Black and Whites, with Dozens of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hundreds More by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough


  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cool, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 C solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C milk (regular or low-fat, but not nonfat)


1. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat; set aside

2. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl that fits quite snugly over a medium saucepan with about 1 inch of simmering water in it. Stir with a heat-safe rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until half the chocolate is melted, then remove the bowl from the heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Beat the butter and shortening in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, until softened and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar; continue beating at medium speed until pale brown, thick, but still somewhat grainy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then pour in the chocolate all at once and beat until smooth, about 1 minute at medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Stir in half the prepared flour mixture just until you can see no white streaks in the batter. Stir in the milk until moderately smooth, then stir in the remainder of the flour just until uniform--there may still be small lumps in the soft, wet batter.

6. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (or heaping two tablespoonfuls) onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and back to front. Bake for another 8 minutes. Cookies will have rounded, bumpy tops. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and press the cookies lightly with a heat-safe spatula or a large serving spoon, flattening them a tad to create smoother, rounded tops. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Cool the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking further batches.

Previous Cookies of the Month:
January's Cookie of the Month: Soft Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
February's Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cookies
March's Cookie of the Month: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
April's Cookie of the Month: Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
May's Cookie of the Month: Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
June's Cookie of the Month: Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Rebecca said...

Those look yummy. I'll have to try them for the math tea this fall, although it sounds like I'll need to double the recipe.