Sometimes you find yourself in the mood to make a grand pastry or dessert, even if it takes a lot of work. It's so beautiful and so delicious that you don't mind organizing your time and washing a lot of dishes and pans. The payoff is one you can share with family and friends and it's so satisfying that the challenge is welcome.
Then there are times when you just want a quick treat, when you simply want something you can assemble and bake in no time at all without the fuss of unusual ingredient lists or belabored instructions. You still want that buzz of deliciousness but don't have a lot of time or the focus to spend in the kitchen. If that describes your inclination at the moment and it's cookies you have in mind and chocolate you fancy, this is your recipe. It comes from rightfully acclaimed cookie expert Alice Medrich, so let there be no doubt about it.
These cookies have a deep cocoa richness without being too rich. They have a fudgy texture and they're balanced in terms of sweetness and great flavor. The ingredients are basic and handy and the method couldn't be easier. You start with melting butter in a saucepan and the rest of the ingredients get mixed right into the same pan. The cookie dough is beautifully easy to work with and the cookies are baked in 10 minutes flat.
This is for chocolate fans. If you have a desire for a great chocolate sensation and can spare a few minutes, crank up the oven. This is the real deal. It's certainly a recipe you'll want to add to your cookie repertoire for just the right moment.
- Medrich advises that bleached all-purpose flour (rather than unbleached) makes more tender cookies.
- You can use natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder. I used natural.
- Though the dusting of powdered sugar would add more drama, I omitted that step and thought they were the right amount of sweetness.
- I'd use a heaping 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
- When baked for 10 minutes, the cookies are fudgy and soft in the center. Add another minute or two and you'll get a cookie that is chewier.
- When you test for doneness, the cookies are going to feel very soft to the touch. They firm up as they cool.
- The recipe says it makes about 32 cookies. I made mine a tad bigger and got 25.
- To gild the lily, I can imagine adding a pinch of spice or small bits of chopped nuts or an extract.
Saucepan Fudge Drops
Makes about 32 cookies
1 C flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
2 1/2 oz (5 T) butter
1/2 C + 1 T cocoa powder
2/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C brown sugar, packed
1/3 C plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt
1 t vanilla extract
2 - 3 t powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside.
Cut butter into small pieces and melt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Blend until smooth. Add the sugars and blend. The mixture will be sandy. Mix in the yogurt and vanilla. Add flour and stir just until the whole mixture is moistened and there are no streaks of flour.
Drop rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, 1 1/2" apart. Use a fine strainer to dust powdered sugar on the tops.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the tops look dry and cracked but they are still soft to the touch, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking. Remove the pans and cool on a wire rack until firm.