Sunday, September 2, 2012

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

Happy Football season!!  If you know me, you know that I LOVE making cookies during the football season. It started when I made them for tailgating while going to Boston College football games. Then I started making them for my husband and his co-workers on game day at NC State (due to lack of people to tailgate with LOL). And the tradition continues here for Pitt Football. I always try to make 2 different cookies. For our first home game, I made Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies (check out the recipe HERE) and tried a new recipe for Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies (adapted from Epicurious). These cookies are a totally new territory for me. They are both flour-less and butter-less. Yes you heard that right. I made a cookie that involves NO BUTTER. Flour I can understand, but butter?!?  Well, I felt I had to try this out.


This recipe also involved another first for me: beating egg whites. Yup, you've caught me. I have NEVER beaten egg whites. Probably because I am the type of person that if you hand a lemon meringue pie to, I scrape of the meringue and then eat the pie. Meringue I am NOT a fan of. I've never even tried meringue cookies because the pie topping turns me off SO bad. But, I saw this recipe for cookies that are both very dark chocolatey and FUDGY and well, first time for everything right?
Room Temperature Egg Whites

Ok, back to those egg whites. You will use the egg whites from 3 large eggs. I put the whites into a bowl and then sat the bowl in a pan of warmed water. That brought them to room temperature in about 5 minutes. You could also just let them sit on your counter, but it takes about 30 minutes for them to come to room temp.  I was making these during Ariana's nap time, so I didn't have the extra 30 minutes.  Also, I have heard of people leaving the eggs (whole) on the counter to come to room temp and THEN cracking and separating the whites. Just a note, eggs are a lot easier to seperate when cold. So I would recommend separating the egg whites and then bringing to RT. 

While your eggs are coming to RT, place 1 cup of your chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Now, the recipe called for bittersweet chips, but I used the new Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips because a) I couldn't find bittersweet and b) I've wanted to try these. They worked really well in this recipe.  Once they are in the bowl, pop them in the microwave and microwave for about 1-2 minutes. I did 45 seconds, stirred, 20 seconds more and then they were completely melted. Once your chips are melted, put them aside to cool.  You want them roughly lukewarm; not hot and not cool.

Once your egg whites have come to RT, pour them into your mixing bowl. I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer for this, but a hand mixer would work fine. Start beating them on low speed and then increase the speed once your eggs become frothy.  Beat them for about 5 minutes (may be less depending on your speed) until your egg whites look like the below picture.
I'll admit, the recipe I was following said to beat until your egg whites become or reach 'soft peaks'.  I have no idea what that means. None. So I beat mine until I had some substance and form to it, and where it didn't immediately fall out of the beater when I raised it. This worked for me, but if you know what 'soft peaks' is beat til you reach that.

The next step is adding 1 cup of powdered sugar. You want to add that slowly and beating it into your egg whites on a slow- med slow speed. Once it's all added your mixture should resemble that of marshmallow cream.
See, like marshmallow!

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, corn starch and salt. It should look relatively like this:
SLOWLY, beat your dry ingredient mixture into your meringue/marshmallow cream looking mixture. I cannot re-iterate this enough. SLOW, slow, slow. If you add too much, trust me, it gets everywhere. Like it poofs out of the bowl. Once you get it all added and mixed your mixture should now look like the below picture.

Now you are ready to add the remaining chocolate chips and your melted chocolate. Use your [hopefully clean] finger to test the temperature of the chocolate. If it still feels hot, don't put it in yet. If it feels warm, you should be good to go. Add melted chocolate and chocolate chips (recipe called for 1 cup, but I used the rest of the bag) and blend together. Mixture should become stiff.
Adding melted chocolate and chocolate chips
All mixed

Now I guess mine became stiff, but it was still VERY sticky. Making these again, I would maybe pop them in the fridge for a minute or two. As it was, the next step was messy for me.
Put your remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar on a plate. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into ball and then roll through sugar. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. If you don't have parchment paper, just grease your cookie pan. Repeat with remaining dough.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10min or until tops of cookies crack.
In the oven

Your cookies should look like the below picture when they are done.  Cool on the cookie sheets on top of a cooling rack about 10 minutes. Then remove the cookies from cookie sheet to cool completely. 

These cookies really surprised me. The flavor was unbelievable. If you've ever had Chocolate Chess Pie or Chocolate Fudge Pie, you will love these. They were crispy on the outside but super fudgy on the inside. They tasted like brownies (or just like the pies I mentioned). The dark chocolate chips worked really well in my opinion. The chocolate was super dark, intense and just WOW. I was really impressed with this meringue based cookie.  Oh and just so you believe me, here is a picture of the middle of the cookie. 
See????? FUDGY!

1 10oz bag Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or grease)
Melt 1 cup chocolate chips (microwave about 2 minutes stirring about 1/2 through), set aside
Using mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. 
Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. 
Continue beating until mixture resembles marshmallow creme. 
Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. 
On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. 
Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Place 1/2 cup sugar on plate. 
Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. 
Place on prepared sheet. 
Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. 
Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes.
Remove cookies from sheets, place on racks to cool completely.  

Hope you enjoy this recipe and the football season! More cookie recipes to come in a couple weeks. =)

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