Amuse Bouche™: Weekly Musings on Food and Life

19Mar09

chocolate-cookieA Cookie You’ll Remember, Even When You Forget the Eggs

By Suzanne Lenzer

Lately I’ve been thinking about macaroons. I can’t help it, but when Spring fever hits my head starts imagining all the fabulous things that are soon to be in season. This train of thought leads quickly to the question of what I’m going to cook. Unfortunately it’s still too early to plan around fresh peas or rhubarb. So I’m left pondering what to bake instead.

With Passover and Easter just around the corner, macaroons naturally top that list. So that’s what I had planned to bake for this weeks’ column. But (and this is a rather big “but”) while macaroons don’t depend on flour, they do require eggs. Having been in the city all last week I forgot that I was out of this crucial ingredient up here in CT. Oops.

So next week I’ll talk more about macaroons. Stay tuned.

For this week, I’ve decided to embrace my eggless situation and make the best of it. And I really mean best. That’s because the cookie I’m going to share with you is seriously great, albeit eggless. No, it’s not one of those over-the-top, gooey, brownie-masquerading-as-a-cookie cookies. But it is a rich, sophisticated cookie in it’s own right, with a crumb that’s reminiscent of shortbread, though more chewy and not nearly as dense.

Now if you bake even a little, you probably know that most cookie recipes call for eggs. Eggs provide moisture, and they give baked goods structure as well as a nice tenderness (when you’re going for that gooey chocolate thing, you’re going to need eggs). But as I said, because these are fashioned after a shortbread recipe, all the tenderness comes from the butter, while the structure is helped along by the addition of oats. 

I make these cookies quite small; a tablespoon scoop per cookie flattened with the bottom of a measuring cup or other flat utensil. Somehow the smaller size gives them a delicate, precious appearance that I like (it also means I can eat three and not feel too badly about it). But you can certainly make them larger if you like, just remember that the cooking time might change a bit.

Admittedly, these can’t compete with the unbridled decadence of other desserts, but I bet they become a regular part of your repertoire simply because they’re so easy, so fast (thirty minutes from start to finish), and so delicious—even without eggs. 

Bittersweet Chocolate Biscuits

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup oats

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

1.Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter in until it’s fluffy (if your butter is really soft you can also do this by hand with a wooden spoon), then add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until it’s well combined.

3. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar; at this point the batter will become quite firm. Add the oats and mix them in evenly, then add the chocolate chips. You may have to knead the dough by hand at this point to fully integrate the oats and chips. 

4. Using a tablespoon, scoop up balls of dough and put them on the prepared cookie sheet about two inches apart. Once you’ve filled the sheet, flatten each ball slightly with the back of a spoon or the flat side of a measuring cup; you may need to moisten the spoon or cup to keep the dough from sticking.

5. Bake the cookies until the top is set and cracked, about 14 minutes. Set on a rack to cool and serve. Makes about 18 cookies.

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