I had initially planned to post this for Valentine’s Day, because it’s heart shaped and all, but as usual, I didn’t manage to bake it before Valentine’s Day or even shortly after, but I eventually did make it, so what better day than today to post little heart-shaped cookies for my dearest? I know what he’s going to say too – why am I making ‘brown things’ again, but hey, this is almost black, not brown! (He likes to says that everything on my blog is brown, which is not true! =p)
And I was very trigger happy with the cookies because I had just bought the new cloth and the lighting that day was pretty good. Plus I found out that I had a milk bottle prop that could be used! PS: quite a few of you have asked where I got the bottle from – my brother saved it for me after buying this bottle of milk from a convenience store in Japan, so I’m afraid you can’t find anything similar here! Now, if only I can find a nice striped straw…
Adapted and translated from Pierre Herme’s Le Larousse du Chocolat
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
20g white sugar
40g brown sugar
65g all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
10g cocoa powder
50g bittersweet chocolate (70%)
Sea salt, to sprinkle
- Roughly chop a bar of bittersweet chocolate until you get 50g of shards and pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until light before adding in the brown and white sugars. Cream until fluffy, then add in the vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, sift together the baking soda, all-purpose flour and cocoa powder. Gently the dry ingredients into the creamed butter, until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated and a cookie dough forms. Mix in the chopped chocolate until evenly distributed.
- Roll the cookie dough into logs of your desired shape (circular or rectangular is good), making sure that the width/height of the log is no more than 2 inches to ensure even baking. Chill the logs for at least 30 minutes, preferably for a day for the flavors to meld.
- 20 minutes before baking, remove the logs from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 160°C. Slice the logs to about 1cm or less in thickness and lay them out on a greased cookie tray. Leave at least 2 finger spaces between each cookie because the cookie does spread a little. Sprinkle some sea salt onto each cookie if you want an extra burst of saltiness.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes at 160°C, or until the entire cookie is firm – if the centre of the cookie yields slightly to touch, do give it another minute in the oven before removing the cookies. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray for at least 15 minutes before removing to cool on a cooling rack. The cookies taste best after a while (i.e., not a few minutes out of the oven), so try not to eat too many cookies before then!
PS: see the difference in the tone and light in the photographs above by merely changing ISO and shutter speed!
- Taste: Because chocolate is the star in this cookie, be sure to use good quality cocoa powder and chocolate. I usually use a Belgian cocoa powder (which is not available here) and a Nestle Premium 70% bittersweet chocolate (which is also not available here). Do use chopped bittersweet chocolate because it provides a perfect foil to the chocolate cookie. You can choose to use Valrhona if you have access to it. I have also taken the liberty of decreasing the amount of sugar to suit my tastes, feel free to use 10-20% more sugar if you like a sweeter cookie.
- Texture: This chocolate cookie is crisp if sliced thinly enough and is simply the most awesome cookie ever. Enough said.
- Serving size: This makes about 60 cookies, or about 2 trays worth depending on the size of your cookies.
- Modifications: You will get a slightly different mouthfeel depending on how thick you slice the cookies, so slice them thinly if you want a crispier cookie and thickly if you want a cookie with more heft. Do be careful if the cookies are thick because the outsides of the cookie may burn (speaking from experience) before the insides are properly crisp – cover them with an aluminium foil if the cookie turns too dark. I have also tried using brown sugar instead of white, demerara instead of white, and a combination of white and brown, all works fine, with slight differences to taste.
- Storage: If stored in an airtight container, the cookies remain crisp for up to a month, although it will lose a bit of the original crispiness after 2 weeks or so.
- Would I make this again?: Definitely, I have made this recipe more than 10 times now, for Christmas, for Chinese New Year, etc. My only caveat is that you have to make sure that the cookies are properly packed because they are fragile.
- Other comments: This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, but be sure to chill it for at least 30 minutes, preferably for a day or more for the chopped chocolate to properly ‘infuse’ the rest of the cookie dough. Remove the chilled logs (or discs) from the refrigerator before you intend to bake, and depending on the ambient temperature and the thickness of the log, it might take 10 – 20 minutes for the log to soften. My logs are usually thin, and I wait about 10 minutes before slicing the logs – the log should still be firm and yield only slightly to touch (not as soft as room temperature butter or like bread dough) – this will allow you to slice through the log cleanly. Also, try to chop the chocolate to pieces larger than your typical chocolate chip so that you will not have problems slicing the chocolate. For the heart shaped cookies, I shaped the cookies by hand after separating the dough into balls, which works fine as well, but as you can see, the texture of the cookies will not look as smooth as sliced ones.
|A final punny line – love is bittersweet and surprising at the same time (thanks to the salt) :]|