Suzi's Blog

Fudgy Walnut Brownie Cookies from One Bowl Baking

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Cookies are part of our lives. Almost from the start. You don’t eat cookies, now, at all? Ever?

What about when you were teething decades ago? You got a cookie/cracker to gnaw on. There were animal crackers with milk at school. And everybody has at least one Oreo in their life. There just cannot be such a thing as an Oreo virgin. Okay, if you are allergic to chocolate, you may have escaped the Oreo but surely your life’s path was paved, in part, with cookie crumbs.

Given their ubiquitiness, we all can appreciate the range of quality we’ve encountered. Mostly okay, some good, but in truth just a few can be labeled great. How do you know a great cookie? At first bite. There’s just something there. Like that girl across the room.

So, this cookie, from One Bowl Baking, is deservedly in that love at first bite category. This is a great, exceptional, wonderful cookie.

Author Yvonee Ruperti compares this cookie to a brownie and calls it that, too. There is a brownie flavor and texture, I admit, but I think this cookie is more. I love soft chocolate cookies and I love thin cookies [and thick ones too]. The issue is that softness is often correlated with that thickness. It is hard to fashion a cookie that is both soft and thin. Most often, the baking process just naturally turns thin cookies into firm wafers.

Not here. The brilliance of this recipe is the ratio of sugar to flour and the placing of the cookies on the baking sheet. In a standard brownie recipe, the ratio of sugar to flour is typically 2:1. Here it is 1:1. The cookie dough is shaped into balls, about the size of a golf ball, and when baking starts they don’t immediately collapse. But over time, with that extra flour, the cookies gracefully settle in thin rounds.

When you bite one, it is soft, succulent and just chocolaty enough to make you sigh in pleasure.

The recipe says you get twelve 3½ inch cookies. You do. That batter spreads. So you have to exercise care in spreading the cookies out on the baking sheet. They will truly cover, if not dominate, every square inch of a half sheet pan. If your oven will accommodate a full sheet pan, that is that safer route. If you use a half sheet and some of the cookies spread into each other, I’m afraid the only solution is to take those misfits, eat them, and bake another batch.

I said this cookie was exceptionally good. Not perfect.

The premise of One Bowl Baking is to achieve superior products with minimum mess. That’s exactly what occurs with this recipe. If you have a child or grandchild who has been cookie deprived, this is a wonderful way to cook with them and show them what wonders can be achieved in your own kitchen.

The title has “walnut” in it. As usual, personal preference went to pecans. Our portfolio probably includes pecan stocks.

 

Fudgy Walnut Brownie Cookies

 

Yield: twelve 3½ inch rounds

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup walnuts (3 ounces or 85 grams), chopped, divided [pecans or other nuts can be readily substituted]

 

Preparation:

Place an oven rack in the middle position.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large heatproof bowl heat the butter and chocolate to just melted, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the eggs, one a time, until completely mixed in.

Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, then stir to combine. Stir in half of the chopped walnuts.

Scoop the batter into 12 balls, spacing evenly on the pan. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the t op of each cookie.

Bake until the cookies are puffed, cracked, and barely set, about 8 minutes. Do not overbake.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Sources: One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/10th second at ISO-3200

 

 

Dolci di Noci from Southern Italian Desserts

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What if you could make an astonishing desserts in five minutes with just three ingredients? Too good to be true? No, not at all. This is an astonishingly good cookie.

I tested it last night on two good friends.

“What do you taste?” I asked.

“Coconut? Peanut butter? Cinnamon? …” The questions kept coming and I started to laugh.

This is the prototype Italian recipe. Simple. Swiftly created. A few ingredients, but carefully honed.

There is no coconut or peanut butter or any spices here. You simply take nuts and some sugar, put them in the food processor and blend away. Take that nutty sand, add an egg, shape, cut and bake.

It’s incredibly easy. The recipe calls for walnuts, which Suzen is not the fondest of. So, I used pecans, which do have a more complex flavor. Apparently, to some people, pecans have overtones of coconut, peanut butter, various spices, …

The cookies are to bake base side up, not cut side down. I, uh, neglected to read that so my cookies are flatter here and wider than you’ll achieve if you wisely follow the instructions. And these cookies to spread, so used full cookie sheet or divide the batter between two half sheets.

Author Rosetta Costantino found this cookie in the town of Maratea, the only town of Basilicata on the Tyrrhenian Sea [Southern Italy, west side, just above the boot]. It’s a coastal town of beauty and culinary distinction. In the bakeries there, this cookie comes two ways: bare bones and with a thick layer of pure sugar frosting just roughly draped over the cookie as you see here. Rosetta loves the pure flavor of nuts alone. My test guinea pigs last night split: one liked bare and one loved frosted. I prefer frosted with the contrast of the cold clean frosting versus the nutty intensity of the cookie itself. Your choice.

Oh, some final notes. If you are someone you know has celiac disease, this no-flour delicacy is perfect for you. For celiac kids, its a great introduction to the kitchen. They can get their hands dirty as they make the cookies, lick their fingers and in a few minutes smile as they bite away.

If someone has a nut issue, then this dish is not for you.

 

Dolci di Noci

Yield: makes ~30 small cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups walnut halves or large pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190″C) with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine the walnuts and sugar in a food processor and process to make a fine meal the texture of sand. Transfer to a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the egg. Use a fork to briefly whisk the egg, then begin incorporating the nuts until everything is thoroughly combined, finishing the mixing with your hands. The dough will be quite moist and a little sticky.

Divide the dough into quarters. On a flat surface, shape one piece of the dough into a 6-inch log, flattening the sides to make a bar about 1inch wide by 1 inch high. Cut the bar into 3/4 inch segments to make eight pieces. Space the cookies evenly on the prepared baking sheet, standing on their base (not on a cut side) with 1 inch of space all around for spreading. Repeat with the remaining bars to make thirty­ two cookies.

Bake the cookies on the upper oven rack until they are golden all over, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑1250