Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pecan Mudslide Cookies

- 430 grams (15 ounces) high-quality bittersweet chocolate, in disks (couverture chocolate is sometimes sold that way) or roughly chopped
- 60 grams (1/2 cup) pecan halves (or walnut halves)
- 135 grams (2/3 cup) sugar (I use light unrefined cane sugar)
- 35 grams (1 1/4 ounces, about 2 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces, a scant 1/2 cup) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Makes 16 cookies, about 45 grams (1 1/2 ounces) each.

Have ready a medium baking dish, square or rectangular, lined loosely with parchment paper (don't worry about lining it too neatly; you just want the bottom and sides covered).

Reserve 180 grams (6 1/3 ounces) of the chocolate and set aside in a bowl with the pecan halves.

Melt the remaining chocolate in a double-boiler (i.e. a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water), stirring regularly until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. You want the batter to be super smooth.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then add that to the previous batter, mixing until just combined.

Add the melted chocolate, mix until just combined, then add the reserved chocolate and pecans and stir them in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it into an even-ish layer with a spatula. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes, or until firm enough to handle without it sticking to your fingers. Don't leave it in for too long, though, or it will be too hard to shape. (If you do, just let it come up to the right temperature on the counter.)

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Remove the dough from the fridge and slide the parchment paper and dough onto a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (a simple way to do that it to cut the dough in four vertically, then in four again horizontally).

Give each piece a somewhat rounded shape with the palms of your hands and place on the prepared baking sheet.

(At this point, you can freeze the rounds of dough for later use; freeze in a single layer before putting them in a freezer bag or container. Bake without thawing.)

Insert into the oven and bake for 15 minutes (16 if they were frozen), until the surface is just set, but still plenty soft when gently pressed in the middle. Let the cookies settle on the baking sheet for 20 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Adapted from a recipe by Jacques Torres published in the New York Times on August 11, 2003.

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