Sunday, September 12, 2010
Salted Chocolate Almond Cookies
I don’t bake cookies very often, maybe three times a year at best, but Ina Garten did it again. I was at the gym watching The Barefoot Contessa when she had Kathleen King, the owner of Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, on as a guest. Kathleen shared her recipe for a bakery favorite: Double Chocolate Almond Cookies. I could see why they were so popular – chewy, chocolaty dough packed with chopped almonds and two types of chips. As Ina would say, "What's not to love?"
So when I was planning dinner for our group camping trip in the San Juan Islands last weekend, I decided to give her recipe a go. We were responsible for Saturday night dinner and I thought that a chocolaty hand-held dessert after plates of chicken tikka masala, cardamom rice and cucumber salad would be just perfect. I made the dough ahead of time, baked off a few for taste testing purposes*, formed the rest into balls and froze them. Come Saturday, all I had to do was pop them into the cabin’s oven for 15 minutes.
*Taste testing proved key. While the cookies were incredibly yummy, they were a bit sweet, which I remedied with a light sprinkling of sea salt before baking.
The Henry Island crowd gave them rave reviews. I actually remember Cecily saying, “This is the best cookie I’ve ever had.” And Jared, I’m pretty sure, gave up on his diet that night.
Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe further by using dry roasted almonds and omitting the white chocolate altogether. The result: sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy, chocolaty goodness. Does your cookie do that?
Salted Chocolate Almond Cookies Recipe
Brown sugar is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts water. This property is what keeps these cookies nice and chewy. As for sprinkling salt, use one that can stand up to baking (kosher salt will melt instantly). Adapted from a Tate’s Bake Shop recipe.
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped dry roasted almonds
Good quality semi-course sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light a fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; mix to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Add the chocolate chips and almonds. Using a large wooden spoon and some old fashioned elbow grease (dough will be stiff), stir to combine. Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop balls of dough two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sea salt. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets. They will be quite soft out of the oven but will firm up as they cool.