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Sep 03, 2014
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By the Book: Valerie Gordon’s Chocolate Cookies

February 11th 03:02pm, 2014



I love dessert, particularly cookies. They’re the perfect end to a meal, and the possibilities are endless. They can be sweet, savory, sophisticated, nostalgic … whatever.


Valerie Gordon’s new book, Sweet, has a chapter on cookies I knew I would tackle. (Although the celebration desserts chapter sounded cute, it looked too ambitious for a weekday.) The cookie chapter had something for everyone from classics like oatmeal raisin and gingersnaps to creative recipes like coconut-finger lime cookies. This is February though, and we’re all really into chocolate right now, so I made Gordon’s chocolate cookies.





Even though they are thin, fragile little things, chocolate dough studded with bittersweet chocolate chips makes for rich cocoa taste, and a mild hit of kosher salt rounds out the flavor. And best of all, they were really easy to make.




Chocolate Cookies
Makes 50 cookies

Some people might call this a brownie in a cookie because it tastes as chocolately as a fudgy brownie. Follow the directions closely – the cookies are exceptionally delicate when warm and will break if you try to move them too soon after baking.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1½ sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups 61-percent bittersweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

• Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg, mixing well. Add the dry ingredients and continue beating until the batter is smooth. Add the milk and vanilla, then add the chocolate chips, beating until combined.
• Turn the dough out onto a cool surface, form it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, approximately 2 hours.
• Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two heavy, large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
• Using a 1-ounce scoop, scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart, or use a measuring spoon to scoop heaping tablespoons of dough on to the sheets. Let the dough come to room temperature.
• Bake the cookies for 11 minutes, or until they lose their shine. Let cool on the baking sheets on cooling racks for 10 minutes.
• Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
• The cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 4 days (These cookies are quite fragile and do not freeze well.).

There’s a lot of mediocre cookies out there. What’s the best cookie you ever had and what made it so special? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Sweet. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Susan, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook. Susan, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!





By Meera Nagarajan

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27 Responses to “By the Book: Valerie Gordon’s Chocolate Cookies”

  1. Amy Wallerstein Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I love David Lebowitz’s Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I’ve made a lot of different recipes for this classic cookie, but his combination of using a good salted butter and cut pieces of good quality chocolate make all the difference.

  2. Patty Says:
    February 12th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    My absolute favorite cookie is a chocolate macaroon with a caramel filling. It’s just perfect. Not too sweet but sweet enough. Perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of Port.

  3. K. Koehler Says:
    February 13th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    My parents make Springerles for Christmas – they’re crispy yet fluffy and have a wonderful anise taste – making them got all of us into the kitchen together when I was a kid.

  4. Jane Gram Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:11 am

    The humble chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookie is my favorite. The fact that they’re humble and easy is why I love them so much. I never tire of making or eating them!

  5. Luke Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Growing up my family lived on the other side of the state from my grandparents. So everytime there was a holiday, summer vacation, spring break we all loaded up and went to see them. I don’t ever recall being in my grandmother’s house and there not being metal tins full of sugar cookies. Decorated a dozen different ways from sprinkles to icing and more.

  6. Kristine W. Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    My best friend’s mother makes cashew cookies that are utterly sinful. They’re sweet, they’re salty, and they have a decadent brown butter frosting topped with a cashew. We used to get together every Christmas to make them, and I wish we still did. So very delicious!

  7. Michele Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Grandmas Italian jugileni cookies, because grandma made them with love

  8. Linds Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    The best cookie I’ve ever had is my great-aunt’s frosted sugar cookie. She makes them every year for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Christmas in shapes according to holiday and hand delivers a plate to each family. They are soft and moist and the frosting has a hint of spice– complete perfection! She has never shared the recipe with anyone not that anyone else would be able to make them as tasty.

  9. Niky Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:40 am

    The best cookies I’ve ever had are Monster Cookies. The name was earned by the sheer volume of awesome ingredients: peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc. I got the recipe from a cookbook that was pulled together by a small parish in Iowa – a forgotten treasure from an old roommate. It’s the best recipe in my arsenal.

  10. Laurin Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I love a soft chocolate chunk cookie, the NY Times version is great with a little sea salt!

  11. April Morrison Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Homemade cuccidati are my all time favorite cookie. The fig filling is so good!

  12. Ken Eigenberg Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I made yesterday and polished off today gingersnap cookies from an Alton Brown recipe that uses three forms of ginger: powdered ginger, grated fresh ginger, and diced candied ginger. They are my current favorite, at least until the next batch of something new.

  13. Betty Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:16 am

    The best cookies I’ve ever had were sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Ordinary sounding, yes, but the taste was phenomenal – way better than any other chocolate chip cookies I’ve had. Uses brown sugar and white sugar, and then most important part is baking time and mixing time!

  14. Melissa Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Favorite cookie is from my friend’s bakery… double chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt. Amazing.

  15. Shane Overton Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Best cookie I ever ate was a recipe from Alton Brown. Added fleur de sel to the tips! Chewy, chocolatey, salty, crispy brown on the bottoms. Mmmmm…. Perfect!

  16. Erin Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Definitely spingerles, too. My grandma’s. She would press beautiful stamps into the tops of them, you would almost feel bad for eating them if they weren’t so delicious.

  17. Madeleine Rowe Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:38 am

    The best cookie I ever had was given to me by an Oracle, in her apartment kitchen, when she told me not to worry about the vase I broke, BEFORE I actually broke it. That really baked my noodle when I thought about it afterwards. One thing strange about the cookie, though, was that it was much crunchier and crisper than I thought it was going to be, having just come straight out the oven. Anyway, it was delicious and afterwards I felt better and more powerful. I’m called Neo, BTW.

  18. Anna Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    The best cookie I have ever had was the coverture chocolate chip cookie at Comet Coffee in St. Louis!

    They use coverture chocolate, which it very nice and high quality. The cookies are made fresh and it has the perfect chew and texture. I am a huge baker and I have visited tons of bakeries and made tons of cookies… and I really think this is the best chocolate chip cookie in St. Louis…and maybe ever!

  19. Taylor Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Before she passed away a few years ago, my Polish great-grandma used to make the most delicate, buttery kolaches filled with apricot, raspberry, or prune preserves. Dusted with a little powdered sugar, these morsels outshone everything else on the holiday cookie platter (yes, even those pretzel-Rolo turtles!) My uncle has inherited her recipe, although she never wrote it down, so we still get to share in this delicious tradition. The rest of the year I have to resort to the Schnucks bakery for my kolache fix, but there really is no comparison!

  20. Carol Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 11:58 am

    My best ever cookie is one I made myself, lime, pecan and coconut Mexican wedding cookie. I love the delicate combination of flavors and the delicious melt in the mouth quality. It has become a favorite at our annual “cookie weekend” at the holidays where my son and I bake cookies to share with our friends and neighbors.

  21. Debbie Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    The best cookies I ever had, were my moms Cream Cheese cookies. I was living in Denver, and feeling very homesick, as I was not able to get back for Christmas. She se t me a box of these cookies, and it tasted like home. To this day, its not Christmas, without the Cream Cheese cut out cookies.

  22. Beth giffee Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    My daughters make the BEST cookies ever! Especially Michon! Recently I had the opportunity to try black and whites at Kohn’s deli in St Louis. They were buttery shortbreads with melted chocolate! So many goodies and so little time!

  23. Angela Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    The best cookie I’ve ever had was made by me. Alton Brown’s The Thin (chocolate chip cookie). My family loves thin chocolate chip cookies. And it was one perfect recipe. I adore it.

  24. Lara Thiel Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    My three year old daughter and I made Valentine’s cookies last week. The dough was rolled a bit too thin, the first batch a bit brown on the edges, the white frosting turned beige’ due to my improvisational addition of vanilla extract, the frosting was sloppily applied and the grocery store sprinkles unevenly dispersed. They were the best cookies ever.

  25. Vicki Davenport Says:
    February 19th, 2014 at 6:36 am

    My best cookie is an almond sugar cookie that I make for cutout sugar cookies. It’s moist and the almond flavor reminds me of my childhood. The trick is to roll the dough pretty thick and pull them from the oven just before the edges start to brown. Soft and heavenly!

  26. Rich Says:
    February 19th, 2014 at 11:40 am

    OK, let’s throw out a cliche here. The best kind of cookie is the one in your hand! Seriously, it’s impossible to pick a favorite. There are times nothing but a traditional chocolate chip will do. We make ours with extra vanilla to bring out all of the flavors. Another special-occasion favorite? Almond shortbreads… a lot like regular butter shortbreads, but replacing some of the flour with ground almonds. Delicious, rich and simple.

  27. Natalie Butz Says:
    February 20th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    The best cookie I have ever had is a carrot cake sandwich cookie. I was given the recipe from school, Forest Park Baking and Pastry. They are prefect, moist, slightly crisp and the filling is cream cheese icing, who doesn’t love that.

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