Thursday, January 17, 2008

Carlton's Chocolate Chewies

Chris picked this recipe from the Pastry Queen Christmas book and I suspect that part of his motivation was that it is a very easy recipe to make. Considering that I was pretty grumpy tonight for no apparent reason, an easy cookie recipe was probably the right choice. Unfortunately, I ended up having more problems with these silly cookies than either of us could have anticipated.

The recipe is very quick and easy to mix up. Lightly beat some egg whites for a few minutes, throw in all the other ingredients -- pecans, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, mix and bake. Nothing could be easier, or so I thought.

I think part of the problem is that I made the cookies too big. The recipe says 1-inch diameter scoop and I eye-balled a tablespoon or so. It also says that the cookies would bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Well, I baked the first set 11 minutes, took them out to let them set-up, realized they were still impossibly gooey and threw them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

In the end, the cookies that finally set-up the most, baked for probably a total of 20 minutes. They are slightly crispy around the edges, but still soft and gooey in the center. The cookies that didn't get the repeated trips to the oven are horribly gooey -- so soft that you can't even pick them up really without them oozing and goozing down your fingers. The good news is that they taste fantastic -- but what a freaking mess. I was impossibly frustrated by the whole thing, and not even the fantastic chocolatey goodness of the cookies could snap me totally out of my foul mood. *shrug* Can't win them all.

In her notes section of this recipe the Pastry Queen mentions that the cookies can handle a couple of additional add-ins. The base cookie is chocolate and pecans, but I also added coconut and chocolate chips to give them an extra kick. They are wonderfully chocolatey and good -- no question about it, just be aware if you try to make them yourself that they might take a wee bit longer than 8 minutes to bake. I suspect most of the problems I have stem from the fact that these cookies don't have any flour -- so if you know anyone who is into gluten-free cooking, but can still have eggs -- these would be an excellent choice.

2 cups whole pecans
3 large egg whites
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharfen-berger)
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla exract

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and coarsely chop. Reduce the oven temp to 300. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy, about 30 seconds. Stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa, salt, vanilla, pecans, and if you want -- an additional 2 cups of add-ins such as coconut, chocolate chips, or dried fruit. Using a 1-inch diameter scoop, drop spoonfuls of dough 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (HA!), until set and shiny with zigzag cracks on the top. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.


boullion jello surprise said...

really. why do i torture myself reading this blog when i'm so far away?

Anonymous said...

i liked these more than i thought i would--i was afraid they'd be too meringue-y (meringues being the one kind of cookie that i really, really don't care for). luckily, they weren't meringue-y at all--just gooey, which is fine by me :)
and something about the picture made me think there were peanuts in it, which there wasn't. but you know, i like chocolate covered peanuts, and this is a cookie that i think would work with salty peanuts. just keep it in the back of your mind for something different ;)