Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Death by Chocolate: Grand Central Bakery's Cocoa Nib Cookies

While in Seattle, I visited the famous Grand Central Bakery, and bought their baking book. The first recipe I tried was their Cocoa Nib Cookies, and the results were amazing. This was also the first time I really used my kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. I think it really made a difference. I definitely recommend buying a kitchen scale.

Cocoa Nib Cookies, from The Grand Central Baking Book  by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

1 1/4 cups (6.25 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1.5 oz) unsweetened cocoa-powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (6 oz, or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup (1.75 oz) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup (2 oz) cocoa nibs*
1/2 cup (3 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Measure the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine. They recommend running the cocoa powder through a mesh sieve, and I definitely agree. Cocoa powder can be especially lumpy.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until very smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, then reduce mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until they disappear into the dough. Fold in cocoa nibs and chocolate chips with a sturdy spatula.

Shape the dough into 2 logs 2 inches in diameter, then chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the cookies 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place them about 1 inch apart, in 3 by 4 rows, on the prepared pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The cookies should be firm to the touch.

My additions and suggestions:
It is not an easy task to slice these cookies. The frozen dough crumbles easily, so be prepared. However, my roommate and I learned quickly that the leftover crumbled dough makes an excellent treat. I put the remnants in a bowl in the fridge for a delicious dessert in its own right.

I happen to love the taste of rich, dark chocolate with sea salt. I bought some pink sea salt and sprinkled some of the cookies with it. I love the way this tastes, and I recommend you try it too!
*What are cocoa nibs? I had the same question. Cocoa nibs are raw, roasted cocoa beans which are broken into small bits. They are very tasty even on their own. Unfortunately they are not easy to find, and your local grocery store may not carry them. I suggest going to Whole Foods, although, they are fairly pricey. ~$5 for 2.2 ounces
((post by emily))

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