Hold the chocolate chunks, hold the chopped nuts and hold everything you think you can put in a chocolate cookie to impress me. Don't bother sprinkling them with fancy sea salt, slathering them with caramel frosting or sandwiching them together with a layer of your best buttercream either. It won't work. As a well-seasoned foodie who lives in the blog world, where everyone strives to make each and every recipe unique in some way or another, in my kitchen, every once in a while, plain is the best flavor of all -- especially when it comes to these chocolate cookies.
Mostly crunchy, slightly chewy, just like mom used to make.
Generally speaking, when it comes to "chocolate anything", I don't crave it like most folks do -- I crave, for example, things like, mashed potatoes or french fries, fried chicken or hot dogs, and, rice pudding or a strawberry shake. That said, I can't pass by a plate of basic chocolate cookies and not want one. The kind I found in my lunch box at school or was given as a snack afterward. The kind that didn't take my mom five hours and a list of expensive ingredients to make. The kind that doesn't get entered in a cookie competition but brings a smile to everyones face. The one that was printed on the back of a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder back in the 1960's. Sigh.
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup "sort of firmly-packed" cocoa powder (Note: My mom, and everyone in PA during the '60's and '70's, used Hershey's. Why wouldn't we? Hershey's is a very-respected Pennsylvania company. That said, unless you're buying Hershey's Dutch process cocoa powder, Hershey's cocoa powder is not Dutch process cocoa powder, which is why baking soda is used as a leavening agent. If you choose to use Dutch process cocoa powder in this recipe, that is fine, but, substitute baking powder in place of baking soda.)
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
~ Step 1. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Line three 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Step 2. In a large bowl, place butter and sugar. On high speed of hand-held electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl almost constantly.
~ Step 3 (pictured above). Add and beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, about 1 minute. Mixture will be soft and creamy. On low- medium-low mixer speed, add and thoroughly incorporate the dry mixture in 2-3 increments, scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula constantly, until a thick, pasty cookie batter forms. Note: If the batter gets too thick for your hand-held mixer to handle, remove the mixer and fold it in with the spatula.
~ Step 4. Working one-pan-at-a-time and using a 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place scoopfuls of dough, well apart, 12 on each pan. Place the first pan in refrigerator to chill, while scooping the next pan, about 10 minutes. Repeat this "chilling/baking" process with second pan while first pan is in the refrigerator and subsequently in the oven to bake, and, a third time with the third pan.
~ Step 5. Bake cookies, one-pan-at-a-time, on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Cookies will be puffed and cracks will appear across the surface. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5-6 minutes prior to transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will and should flatten as they cool.
A beautiful ball of cookie dough ready to go into the oven:
Special Equipment List: hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 3, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop; wire cooling rack; small spatula
Cook's Note: For a completely-loaded chocolate cookie recipe, complete with chocolate chunks, dried cherries, aromatic spices and a bit of cayenne pepper too, check out my recipe for ~ Loco for Cocoa: Spicy Chocolate Cherry Cookies ~ in Categories 7 or 13. They're a chocolate-lovers dream come true!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016