Let's get radical--about cookies. One and one half pounds of semi-sweet chocolate churned into one dozen cookies is pretty radical in my cookie repertoire.
This recipe comes from the Model Bakery in Yountville, CA, where the bakers don't call them cookies. They call them "rads," which should give you an idea of how ginormous, crunchy, chewy, nutty and chocolatey they are.
I hope you don't mind that I've modified the recipe to make 18 cookies instead of 12. They are still enormous, about double the size of the average cookie. Going to all that work for only 12 cookies was killing me. If you want to make 12 cookies, shape the batter into one log instead of two.
LET'S TALK CHOCOLATE:
This recipe states that you not use chocolate that has a higher cacao content than 55%. Cacao is the unprocessed form of chocolate. It's as pure and unrefined as chocolate can get. Cacao beans can be crushed into a powder, turned into a butter or melted into a paste. It can be used directly in chocolate bars, or it can be added as cocoa.
Cocoa is a form of cacao that has been heated to a higher temperature during processing. It’s not as raw as cacao, is less expensive and more widely available.
Percentage of Cacao
The higher percentage of cacao in a chocolate bar, the deeper and more intense the chocolate flavor. Cacao is actually very bitter and is usually offset by the addition of sugar. Generally speaking, the bitterness of a chocolate bar increases as the cacao percentage number goes up.
I tested these cookies with chocolates that were a little higher than 55%. The higher the percentage, the less the cookies spread and the denser and heavier they became. Unless you like eating a hockey puck, this is not a good thing, so stick to chocolate with a cacao of less than 60%, 55% even better.
55% cacao bars are difficult to find if you are not in the trade. I use either Callebaut 53.8% 811 callets (small disks) or Trader Joe's Belgian semi sweet chocolate bar. That bar doesn't state the percentage of cacao, but it is about 50%. Callebaut gives the cookies a slightly deeper and richer taste, which I prefer. I use Callebaut chips as well. The callets and chips are easy to purchase on line. You can get the callets in 1 lb. or 5 lbs. from Amazon by clicking here.
TO MAKE AHEAD:
After you make the batter, divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log. Wrap them securely in plastic wrap and foil and freeze them. Then when you need them, defrost slightly, about 45 minutes, slice and bake them. That way they are always fresh and gooey when you serve them. I never freeze the cookies already baked. There are never any leftovers.
Once you get radical with these cookies, beware. Your friends may never be happy if you make them any other dessert.
RECIPE: CHOCOLATE RADS
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound semisweet chocolate (no more than 55% cacao), finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cold brewed espresso (or 1 teaspoon instant espresso dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water and cooled)
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.
2.Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. 3 minutes at 50% power then stir and add 10 second intervals, if needed, until smooth.
3. Beat the sugar and eggs at high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, until the mixture is fluffy, thick and pale yellow, about 5 minutes. (Or, whisk the mixture by hand for about 8 minutes.) Beat in the espresso and vanilla.
4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the melted chocolate, being careful not to overmix. Add the flour mixture, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that the batter is completely mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. The dough will be soft, so let stand until firm enough to shape, 20-30 minutes.
5. Divide dough in half. Spoon half the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and using wet hands, roll into a 9” long x 2 wide x 1 ¾” high log. Wrap tightly. Repeat with second half of dough. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours
TO MAKE AHEAD: Logs may be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or, it can be frozen for up to 2 months.
6. To bake: Position racks in the top third and center of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
7. Unwrap dough. Using a thin, sharp knife dipped in water, mark the log at 1-inch intervals. Cut each log into 8 or 9 1-inch-thick rounds. Arrange the rounds at least 3 inches apart on the lined pans, allowing 6 cookies per pan. Refrigerate the remaining rounds.
8. Bake until the tops of the cookies are cracked and the edges are beginning to crisp, 15 to 18 minutes. switching the position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, Only the very center of the top should look wet. Remove from oven and let cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
Repeat with remaining dough rounds on a cooled sheet.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Makes 18 cookies.