Brownie cookies, which are ridiculous in the best way

Brownie cookies

Brownie cookies. Forget any vaguely brown, sticky-sweet double chocolate cookies you might have had: these go full-on with plenty of melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate chunks.

Chocolate & butter
Chocolate & butter

I have to say one of my favourite textures in baking is melted chocolate and butter. It’s just so glossy and is the perfect colour. And when you begin a cookie with this, you know that you’re off to an excellent start.

At the very beginning of the month, I made a batch of chocolate cookies for a birthday party. My lovely friend’s baby turned one (1) year old. He has six (6) teeth and many opinions, as you can imagine!

The birthday boy preferred carrot sticks, which are more nutrient-dense. I had the cookies, the chocolate-dense option.

Cocoa powder

Dark chocolate’s best friend is salt, so there’s an unwavering 1/2 teaspoon in the batter. If done right, the addition of salt isn’t salty, per se, but should taste nicely seasoned, because what salt does is help us taste the food. I would’ve added a further sprinkle on top before baking but I, er, forgot. If you wanted them to look very fancy and gourmet, flaky sea salt is the way to go.

Also, if you’re baking in the UK and have had problems with American cookie recipes–try this one. I’ve only increased the flour very slightly, as most of our plain flour is weaker than AP flour (many UK brands are closer to US pastry flour) and I find more is needed to stand up to the butter. These have always turned out perfectly round and thick, which is just how I like a cookie.

Brownie cookie batter

Brownie cookies, baked

BROWNIE COOKIES

Makes 24. From Smitten Kitchen. Keeps for at least 2 days in an airtight tin. Carefully reheat in microwave for 3 – 5 seconds for the best experience.

notes on chocolate: I won’t lie to you–230 grams of dark chocolate and a good amount of unsweetened cocoa powder do not come cheap. Invest in the first portion of dark chocolate and good unsweetened cocoa powder (anything but Bourneville’s), that’s where the flavour is. For the chips or chunks, I prefer dark chocolate chips or chopped not-too-dark-slightly cheaper chocolate, which also holds its shape a bit better, but of course fancier chocolate is more intense. You could go half and half for the best of both worlds.

SK’s original recipe features unsweetened baking chocolate, special baking chocolate comprising only pure chocolate liquor and fat. It’s not readily available in the UK unless you’re willing to order online or have a decent chocolate shop nearby. To substitute, Deb suggested using the darkest possible chocolate available to keep the depth and prevent a too-sweet cookie; I used a Green & Blacks 85% bar and was pleased with the balanced flavour. If unsweetened chocolate is available to you, here’s CI’s review of brands.

doing ahead: I’ve chilled the scooped dough in the fridge overnight, lightly covered, and all I had to do on the morning was preheat the oven and bake them. That gave me extra cooling time to make sure they were solid enough to travel. See here for how to freeze pre-portioned dough, too.

ingredients

for the cookie dough:
115g/4 oz or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
115g/4 oz dark chocolate, chopped small (80% – 100% cocoa solids. I also give you full permission to skimp a bit and use one 100g/3.5oz bar, since 15g is just a few squares more…)
190 g/1 packed cup dark or light brown sugar
25g/2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 UK medium (US large) eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp fine sea or table salt
45g/1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (any kind, I use G&B’s)
150g/1 cup plain flour

and finally:
115g/2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or roughly chopped dark chocolate (no need to be fancy, I actually prefer cheaper dark chocolate here)
A little extra sea salt, if you like

instructions

Melt butter and first 115g of dark chocolate together in a pot or large microwaveable bowl. On the hob, I never bother with a double boiler: I use the smallest gas ring and stir constantly. For the microwave, go for 10-second bursts, stirring well in between; it will take a few rounds, be patient. For both, stop when chocolate is mostly melted with a few soft nubs visible. Away from the heat, stir to evenly melt and allow to cool slightly, transferring to a large mixing bowl if necessary.

Add brown and granulated sugars to the glorious sheeny pool of chocolate and butter, beating well by hand, or machine if preferred. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla extract, bicarbonate soda, and salt. Add cocoa powder (sifting it directly over mixture if lumpy) and plain flour, stirring just to combine. Tip in chocolate chips or chunks and stir until evenly distributed.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until just firm. Any longer and it’ll need to sit outside the fridge till scoopable, a few minutes – most of an hour, depending on room temp. (See note at top for do-ahead tips.)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and line two large-ish trays (quarter sheet pans, or 33 x 23 cm/13 x 9 inch) with baking paper.

Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of the dough, spacing them apart. Sprinkle with a little extra sea salt, if you like. Bake for 11 – 12 minutes until puffed and the tops are dry. Cookies will be very soft, but will firm up as they cool on the tray. Sea salt also can be added at this point if you forgot earlier.

After 5 – 10 minutes, gently transfer cookies to a rack, or start eating them directly.

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