Friday, May 1, 2009

double chocolate cranberry cookies

Shh! If it gets out that I have this secret Hawaiian chocolate recipe, let alone that I have shared it with the entire interweb, it is entirely possible that all 1.3 million Hawaiians will come over here and hunt me down personally. A friend at work brought these to a holiday party several years ago and gave me the recipe, but for some reason, I never tried them myself. I found the recipe when I unpacked my recipes last week. These are good cookies. Seriously good. If you recall, I don't like nuts with chocolate, I don't like nuts in cookies, and I don't like fruit in cookies. And yet, these are a new favorite.

It's an interesting recipe. Only six ounces of butter, yet there are four cups of dry ingredients: 3 1/4 cups of flour and 3/4 cups of cocoa powder. Three eggs and a lot of sugar (2 3/4 cups altogether) balance out the flour and cocoa and make up for the small amount of butter. The fact that they are chock full of chocolate bits, dried/rehydrated cranberries, and nuts helps constitute a chewy, delicate, highly textured cookie that melts in your mouth. The three mix-ins complemented each other so well, I couldn't always tell until afterward if I was biting into chocolate, cranberry, or a pecan.

I made a couple of changes. The original recipe calls for dried cherries, but I had cranberries on hand. I prefer cranberries anyway; I find cherries a little too strong, maybe even too sweet, against chocolate. (For the record, they are perfectly fine in pie.) Also, the recipe calls for a full pound of chocolate pieces, but in trying to keep the calorie count somewhat under control, I cut it down to about a cup and a half or so. The original recipe calls for baking powder in the ingredient list, but baking soda in the directions; I decided it's supposed to be baking soda. And finally, it calls for three tablespoons of vanilla, but that sounded like an awful lot - I could smell the alcohol more than the vanilla - so I cut it down to two.

1 cup dried cranberries (cherries, if you prefer)
3 ounces hot water, rum, or brandy (I used water)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups (13 7/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) good-quality cocoa powder (good time for the Valhrona)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups good-quality chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (Callebaut and Valhrona are good choices)
2 cups toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Combine the dried cranberries with hot water, rum, or brandy and set aside while you prepare the rest of the dough.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

Cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla.

Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low just until the flour is incorporated.

Drain the cranberries (mine had absorbed most of the water) and add them to the batter. Add the chopped chocolate and pecans and mix until just incorporated.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Use a 1 1/2" scoop to portion the dough into balls, and place them on the baking sheets two inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes. The cookies will be soft and gooey. They are better a little underdone. Mine came out of the oven puffed up, but they deflated a little. Leave them on the sheet to cool for several minutes, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

The recipe supposedly makes 45 large cookies, but I made nearly 80 approximately two-inch cookies using the 1 1/2" scoop. Next time, unless I'm making them for an army or for holiday giveaways, I'd probably make half or a third of the recipe.

Puffy at first
Then nicely deflated.

1 comment:

The Food Librarian said...

These look fantastic. But I won't tell anyone where they are from. Or I'll say they are an Iowa state secret.