Friday, February 24, 2023

Chewy Chocolate Strata Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Strata Cookies 

I already have a version of this cookie on the blog here, but I recently took it a step crazier and created chocolate wafer pieces so the resulting cookies have the stratified chocolate that you see in the pics. They really are worth the effort because the chocolate gets distributed in lovely even layers, providing the eater with the perfect amount of chocolate in each bite of cookie. 

I rarely eat cookies past the first two days of their lives, but these ones I'll eat even on the third day (if they don't disappear) because they don't get stale the same way some other recipes do. 

Heads up: this is a ridiculously complex recipe. Not difficult really. Just lots of prep to get to the fantastic final product. I've seen chefs on TV and YouTube use chocolate baking discs, but those always seem so expensive. Plus, I just love Dove Dark Chocolate in my cookies.

There are lots of videos on Youtube that will show you chocolate tempering techniques (like this one). I believe this one shows three methods. I use a version of the "seeding" method, and that is described below.If you don't want to go through the trouble of tempering the chocolate, just chop up two bags of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises. They'll still taste great.

So buckle up and get ready for some of the most satisfying chocolate chip cookies you've ever eaten.

Chocolate Strata Cookies
    --adapted from For Me-For You who in a roundabout way got it from Jacques Torres

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour 
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoon coarse salt, such as kosher

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespons  granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs
 (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 20 oz. good quality semi sweet chocolate chips/chunks/discs (I used two 9.5 oz bags of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped an chopped into large chunks.)
  • First prepare the chocolate.
    • Line a half sheet baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
    • Place all but about 2-3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl (that's about 10-12 Dove Promises), and then place that bowl over a double boiler set to medium (with the water already at a simmer).
    • Allow chocolate to melt about 2/3 of the way, stirring occasionally.
    • Remove from heat and continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted. If it's not all melted within about 5 minutes, return to the double boiler for another minute or two, remove, and stir until chocolate is melted.
    • Add 2-3 Dove Promises at a time to the melted chocolate and stir until they are completely melted in. Repeat until all chocolate is gone. Ideally you'll have one last Promise that just won't melt. The chocolate will become a bit thicker, like a loose chocolate pudding. 
    • Pour chocolate out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly to all edges using an offset spatula (I told you this was complicated).
    • Set aside and allow chocolate to set. Once set, move parchment to a cutting surface and cut chocolate into 1 1/2 centimeter squares.
  • Place 1/2 stick of butter in a small or medium sized heat-proof bowl.
  • In a small pan over medium-low heat, melt the other stick of butter, and stir until its foamy on top and you can see browned bits of milk solids at the bottom. Be careful to not over-brown the butter. 
  • Pour hot browned butter over the 1/2 stick butter in the bowl. Also place the cream cheese in there to get it started softening.
  • Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Put dry ingredients through a sieve to sift them together. Set aside.
  • Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. 
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low/stir; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • Add the chocolate pieces and stir with a silicone spatula or spoon to incorporate the chocolate. Do not use the mixer paddle at this point because you'll break the chocolate pieces if you do. 
  • Using a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), scoop all cookie dough into balls and place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  • Arrange dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until puffed, matte looking (not wet and shiny), and the edges are lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool on baking sheet at least 5 minutes before removing carefully to a wire rack to cool completely. Alternately, if you have a baking sheet that lacks rims on some sides, you can slide the parchment with the baked cookies onto a cooling rack to cool right when you remove them from the oven.
  • Continue baking the remainder of the dough balls, or place in the freezer. Once frozen solid, move dough balls to a zip-top freezer bag. Keep in the freezer and bake up a few at a time as needed.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Your tempered chocolate should look like this when it's cut up.

There are nuts in this image of the ingredients, but they're optional, of course.

These will be frozen for baking at a later date.

Layers of dark chocolate. Mmm. So good. 

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