Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It Began With Brownies


... and ended with some cookies.

I've been trying out different chocolate brownie recipes lately. Some recipes have been good, but not great. And some have been downright bad. I don't know if it's me or the recipes, but I have yet to find a recipe that I love. I have always had trouble making simple chocolate brownies. Pate a choux? No problem. Cheesecake? A breeze. Molten caramel? Piece of cake. But your basic chocolate brownies? Hit or miss. It's not rocket science. It's brownies for heaven's sake! Ugh. I don’t know what's wrong with me.

One particular batch of brownies turned out pretty dry around the edges, but was okay in the middle. I really hate wasting food, so I cut off the dry borders and stored them in the freezer. I brought the middle piece to work to share with the folks at the office.

What was I storing those edges for? I had no idea. Maybe I would make brownie chunk ice cream if I ever got around to buying an ice cream machine (since making my own ice cream is one of my 2010 resolutions). Or maybe I would blitz them in the food processor and use them with the cake crumbs ala red velvet kisses (a perfect treat for Valentine's Day). But then I remembered seeing a recipe for brownie chunk cookies in a past issue of Bon Appetit magazine. At the time I thought it sounded a bit weird and I hardly gave it second thought. Who would ever think to put brownie chunks into a cookie? Apparently someone did. And boy was I glad!

It's basically a chocolate chip cookie where baked chocolate brownie chunks are used in lieu of chocolate chips. I would have expected that brownie chunks baked into a cookie would turn hard or dry considering that they would be double baked. But I guess that the cookie batter (with the butter and sugar) did a good job of hydration. The formerly dry brownie edges were somehow transformed. Imagine if I had started with moist brownies!

I did make some minor changes to the recipe. I made the cookies smaller than specified in the original recipe and, therefore, I cut my brownie chunks smaller too. I mixed in the brownie chunks really well so that they were more crumbly than chunky. I liked that the little bursts of chocolate brownie were almost indistinguishable in texture from the cookie itself. But feel free to gently fold in the brownie chunks if you want them to stay a bit more distinct in the cookie. I got some nice compliments about the cookies from my co-workers.

As strange as I initially found the idea of putting brownies into cookies, it's really quite genius. And since my chocolate brownie trials are ongoing, it's a great way to use up all those not so successful batches of brownies.


Brownie Chunk Cookies
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
(makes approximately 4 dozen cookies)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (half pound/2 sticks/16 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
approximately 4 cups of 1/4-inch cubes of chocolate brownies (you can use any chocolate brownie recipe you like)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet pans with parchment. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture and then walnuts. Fold in brownie cubes (brownies may crumble).

Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Flatten mounds slightly.

Bake cookies at 350F until edges are just set, about 12 minutes.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those look really good! I'd love to have one with my coffee!



Rambling Tart said...

What a splendid use of leftovers! :-)

Allison said...

Are those not the best cookies?! I made the same recipe about a year ago and my dad still won't stop talking about those cookies. I just wish it didn't take making two full recipes.

Yosha said...


Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing what recipes you've been trying. I definitely agree though. Even if I get the recipe to turn out correctly, I still haven't found one that I bite into and just know it's exactly what I'm looking for in a brownie.

I think my favorite to date is Malgieri's supernatural brownies, though those have the problem of being dry around the edges.

I really liked Dorie Greenspan's Katherine Hepburn brownies too.

Mary said...

Anonymous - Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't tried either of those yet. But they are now on my list to try.

Anonymous said...

After trying millions of brownie recipes myself, I think the best is right on the back of the Baker's chocolate box...they are fudgy and always terrific. Trouble is, how will I ever have any leftover to try your delicious sounding recipe?

emiglia said...

Wow... what an awesome idea!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

What a great idea!! These are the best of both worlds. :)

Anna said...

I was on a similar search, often defaulting to the back of the Baker's chocolate box as well...until I stumbled upon the Brownies Cockaigne recipe in Joy of Cooking. It's perfect.