A slightly crunchy sweet crust breaks open and the intense flavor of chocolate bursts in your mouth as you eat one after another of these amazing cookies. Be careful, they are addicting! If you have a chocoholic in your family, these cookies will be their favorites. Chocolate is powerful. It was originally considered so precious that only royalty was allowed to have it. When the Spanish brought it back from Mexico, they kept it a secret for over 100 years. It wasn’t until Queen Anne of Austria (formerly Princess Anne of Spain) married Louis XIII of France that the secret got out and Europe embraced the heavenly concoction. The Dutch figured out how to take some of the bitterness out of chocolate and the Swiss blended it with milk for a creamy confection. The United States and Switzerland designed the first mass-produced chocolate and M&M’s were developed so that American soldiers could carry chocolate with them into war. Once you’ve had it, you must have more!
These cookies have a surprise ingredient … pecans mixed into the flour so that they are barely perceptible. They add a richness and a slight chew and a savory flavor that will have people guessing what it is. You could use other nuts I suppose, but the buttery profile of pecans lends itself to blending in. Other nuts may be too assertive. You can most certainly chop everything by hand, but a food processor will give you a much finer chop and the nuts will virtually disappear into the flour.
Ok, look out, I’m climbing up on my soapbox now, LOL! The high quality chocolate can be life changing and it’s worth every penny. Once you’ve had the good stuff you’ll never go back. There, I’ve said it. Whew! Try something fun … If you have a chance, gather a few friends together and do a blind chocolate tasting. Buy several different kinds of dark chocolate and chop them into small pieces. Put into individual bowls labeled with numbers instead of the names. You may be surprised by your friend’s reactions.
I have made these cookies for years and they have never failed to be the hit of every party. When I enter them in the local county fair, they always win a blue ribbon and if someone is having a down day, these are guaranteed to lift their spirits. You will probably find that they become one of your most requested items. I hope you enjoy this first Chocolate Monday recipe and may it bring as much happiness to you as it has to my family and me. “There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles.” – Author Unknown
Jane’s Tips and Hints
Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop makes forming the balls of dough a snap. Once you try it you will never make cookies without one again! There is a kind of powdered sugar that doesn’t melt and you can find it at King Arthur. It is perfect for these cookies, lemon bars, gingerbread, or any other moist items that usually absorb the sugar. Sifting the powdered sugar before using breaks up any clumps, making a smoother coating.
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed
- 8 oz unsweetened chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Powdered sugar, for coating
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixer bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly blend in the butter and chocolate and mix well.
- In a food processor, chop nuts fairly finely. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Process until nuts are very finely chopped and thoroughly incorporated into the flour. Add this to the eggs and chocolate. Mix until just combined. The dough should be very soft at this point. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or until very firm.
- To bake the cookies, Set racks in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Place the powdered sugar in a shallow plate.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into thirds. Work with only 1/3 of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered in the refrigerator.Form balls of about 2 tbsp of dough. Roll each ball in the sugar, making sure they are heavily coated. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheets at least 2-inches apart.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, spinning them and alternating sheets top with bottom halfway through. When done, the cookies will have a slight crust on the top but feel soft to the touch. Be careful not to burn them. Let sit on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Yield: About 4 dozen cookies