Friday, April 16, 2010

Smoky Chocolate Lava Cookies

by Hungry Rabbit

Chocolate Chip Cookies fresh from the oven are an American favorite that translates quite easily to foreign palates. The distinct smell of butter and chocolate is intoxicating. Ever since my first bite of this seemingly simple cookie, I've been searching for the right combination of chocolate, sweetness, and texture. As with brownies, there are so many interpretations: thin, thick, large, small, chewy, crispy, plus the magical extras of walnuts, almonds, and peanuts. All have something to recommend them.

After much research, baking, and dedicated sampling, I found the Jacques Torres' cookie suits me well. It's a combination of chewy center, slight crispy edge, buttery taste—all with a pronounced chocolate essence. Every bite of this cookie has chocolate. He uses chocolate discs/féves which do not harden after baking, but remain soft and slightly gooey. It's pure sensory overload of flavor and texture. To further amp up the complexity, I tossed in my favorite smoked almonds.

The only drawback to this recipe is that you have to make it ahead of time and chill the dough for at least a day, so the recipe can’t deliver instant gratification. It does support complete indulgence, however.

(recipe after the jump)

Smoky Chocolate Lava Cookies
recipe adapted from Jacques Torres
make about 18 3-inch cookies

12 cups minus 1 tablespoons (4-1/4 ounces) cake flour
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (4-1/4 ounces) bread flour
5/8 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1-1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped (Whole Foods got great ones).

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

3. Add chocolate and chopped almonds and incorporate until just combined. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. (Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.)

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

5. Scoop 8 1-3/4-ounce mounds of dough (approximately 1 3/4 inch diameter) onto baking sheet. Bake until golden brown but still soft, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cookies onto another rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

WARNING: Before eating cookies, have lots of napkins handy. Try as you may, chocolate will get all over your fingers.


  1. You'll love the chocolate chip cookies at a bakery called Levain (74th(?) and Columbus). Always fresh baked. It's what I would request for a last meal on death row.

  2. F.Tony,
    Those LeVain bakery cookies ARE a meal, death row or not. We'd gotten referred through FoodNetwork's "The Best I Ever Ate" show and they were as deadly and huge as anyone could want.

  3. HR, These look great. I'm so ready for desert.

    FT, you were close, but just a little East of Eden. Levain is indeed on 74th, but near the corner of Amsterdam, not Columbus.
    And now, since licking the computer screen didn't seem to work, I gotta go get one!