Double Chocolate Cherry Truffle Cookies
You know you love something when you love every single step of it. Take baking for example.
I love the initial spark of creativity, the moment when I know I want to be in the kitchen. I might be driving home, staring into the distance, when an image of white chocolate and matcha powder floats into my head. Or maybe I’ll be sitting in French class conjugating verbs when I’ll suddenly start writing up a shopping list. It’s strangely fun to brainstorm flavors and think about dessert.
I love the whole process of baking, too. I love how structured and precise it is to cream the butter, warm the eggs to room temperature in a bowl of water, measure out the sugar with a spoon. I know some people find it restricting, but I love following recipes to a T. I love the smell of flour that sifts up when I open the container. I love the dusting of spices that ends up on my fingers when I clumsily open the caps. I love the silence except for the quiet humming in my head and the sound of the mixer churning magic.
And you know I’m smitten when I tell you I even like the dishes. I like putting everything in the sink all at once, so that I can hardly turn on the tap without getting water everywhere. It’s comforting somehow, the repetition of cleaning and the warmth of the water. When the dishes are finally clean, the oven timer usually goes off. And I love it when my timing is just right.
And of course, who doesn’t love the next step… taste testing. I nibble the ugliest cookie of the bunch, level the cake and sample the scraps, cut off a tiny crusty corner of brownie. I usually force my mother to try it, and she does, grudgingly.
But would you believe that truly, honestly, my favorite part is what comes next – wrapping my baked goods, tucking them in tupperware, and sharing them. At school, I love to pass them out to my friends. I love to see their expressions perk up when they see the cake carrier, and when I tell them what I brought. I get to see their reactions right then and there at the lunch table, and figure out how successful it really was.
But it’s another story when my mom brings something to work. She comes home, tired, throws down her heavy bags and the empty containers rattling with crumbs. “Well?” I ask. “Did people like it?”
“Yes,” she replies.
“Well?” I press for details. “What did they like about it?”
“I don’t know. They said it was good.”
Basil Ice Cream Sandwiches with Double Chocolate
Cherry Truffle Cookies, melting in 100 degree heat
It doesn’t matter that I want feedback and that I am alright with criticism. I guess the truth is this: most people are not very good at describing food. They know that they like it, but they can’t tell you why. “Appearance? Texture? Flavor? What was the best?” simply elicits a little shrug and a smile. They just don’t know what to say.
As I’m working at my mom’s office this summer, I decided to take advantage of my presence. I set out a batch of these Double Chocolate Cherry Truffle Cookies in the kitchen along with a notepad: “Eat and leave me a comment.” As I filed, stamped, and stuffed, at least six people popped their heads in, chewing, and said, “This is great!”
Twenty minutes later, someone came in with the empty box. She handed me the notepad. There were a few comments on it – “Yummy!” “I loved it!” “Thanks!” I read them quickly and gave a little sigh. I looked up as she smiled and said, “I think the fact that the box is empty speaks for itself.”
I couldn’t help but laugh – I had to agree.
These Double Chocolate Cherry Truffle Cookies are amazing. I found the recipe from Kate Zuckerman, who has never disappointed me before with her book The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle. The recipe also appears in Baking with Julia, and I have made it multiple times (uncommon for me). It is, to date, the only recipe my dad has ever asked for. I got a very special kind of glee when he admitted once that he’d made them and they weren’t as good as mine. Seriously, I might even take back what I said earlier about my all time favorite cookie.
It’s a very adult cookie in every sense. I added the world “truffle” to give the warning: it’s extremely rich and demands a glass of milk. The texture is soft, a little chewy, and melt-in-your-mouth in the most literal way possible. Might I also mention that the batter is divine too, if that’s how you roll.
The eggs in this recipe are whipped a full 10 minutes, and the cookie puffs and falls a bit after baking, giving it a crinkly and pillowy appearance. It’s made with three types of chocolate – unsweetened and bittersweet in the batter, and semisweet chips. Dried cherries add something sweet, chewy, and tart. And the secret weapon – ground coffee – gives the cookies depth and a rich, grown-up flavor. As I said, I’ve found that adults enjoy this cookie more than kids.
I’ve left the recipe as is (why tamper with perfection?) but this cookie is also good with chopped almonds. I made some sandwiches using the basil ice cream I made earlier, and oh boy. Chocolate, cherry, and basil is one good combination. This would also be great with chocolate, coffee, cherry, pistachio, or vanilla ice cream too. In the uncharacteristic Seattle heat wave, the sandwiches were very melty and very messy, but very tasty.
Double Chocolate Cherry Truffle Cookies
From The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle
Makes 30 large cookies
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tbsp freshly ground coffee
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup (4.5 oz) dried cherries, chopped
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar and set aside.
Melt the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and butter in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir frequently and remove from heat. Allow chocolate to cool for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat until the eggs triple in volume and hold the lines of the whisk, about ten minutes. Add the ground coffee and beat another minute.
Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the eggs on low speed. Beat until incorporated, then add the dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and dried cherries. Beat until just combined – do not overmix. Finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very runny. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, or up to two days [I find that batter chilled 2 hours makes nicer cookies than batter chilled for 2 days.]
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. For large cookies, use two tablespoons to scoop the batter into large mounds. Place 2″ apart on sheet and bake 12-15 minutes. For small cookies, scoop the batter with two teaspoons and bake 8-10 minutes. The cookies puff in the oven and fall a bit once removed. Let cool on the sheets. Enjoy with milk!
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