Chocolate on Chocolate on Chocolate Nuggets
Cake flour makes these cookies melt in your mouth.
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Dear Lynne: Everybody calls me the Cookie Queen, which is why I am embarrassed about not knowing this. How and why is cake flour flour? -- Red-Faced Queen
Dear Cookie Queen: Cake flour is the baker's insurance policy in piecrust and cookies. It saves overworked doughs from baking into hockey pucks. High in starch, but low in the proteins that can turn into rubber bands when dough is overmixed, cake flour protects against toughness. The other way I use cake flour is for greater tenderness, and/or a melting texture in cakelike cookies.
I substitute cake flour for 1/3 of the all-purpose in crusts and cookies. These melting, fudgy cookies illustrate the technique. The food processor has them done in minutes. Chill the dough up to two days. Freeze it for three months. Cookies hold for three days, sealed, at room temperature.
Chocolate On Chocolate On Chocolate Nuggets
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, measured by scooping up flour and leveling with a knife
1/3 cup cake flour, measured the same way
1/2 tightly packed cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3.5-ounce bar bittersweet chocolate, broken up
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 chunks
1 large egg mixed with 1 tsp. vanilla, and 2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, or butter generously. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the two flours, two sugars, cocoa, salt, cinnamon and chocolate bar.
Process until chocolate is coarsely ground.
Add butter, pulsing the machine until butter is in pea-sized pieces. Then add liquids. Pulse four or five times to moisten the dough. It will be rough. Turn into a bowl. Blend in chocolate bits, without overmixing. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet, spacing about an inch apart. Bake 15 minutes, or until tops are dry and interior is moist. Cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container. Decorating with dots of white icing transforms the cookies into Dalmatians.
Yields: 28 to 30 drop cookies, doubles easily
Lynne Rossetto Kasper is host of the national radio show The Splendid Table (splendidtable.org).
Here's an easy gift idea: Dip it in chocolate, dress it up and give it away.