I have been chasing this cookie for years: Something deeply chocolatey and almost brownie-like in the middle, but with a crisp exterior. Something studded with tart cherries and crunchy bits of nut.
Something, well, like this cookie you see before you. Queue the hallelujah chorus and pour yourself a glass of milk — I am beyond thrilled to finally have this cookie securely in my recipe box.
There are two secrets to these cookies. The first is using a double-dose of chocolate: cocoa powdered added to the dry ingredients and melted chocolate added along with the butter and eggs. That ensures a fudgy interior and deep, borderline-ridiculous chocolate flavor (a.k.a. happy place).
Second, you need to whip the batter for several minutes before starting to add the dry ingredients. This is a trick I first learned from Shirley O. Corriher in her book BakeWise. Whipping the eggs with the eggs and sugar actually starts to create a little meringue action. In the heat of the oven, baked goods from a paper-thin crunchy shell on the exterior.
I love these cookies with dried cherries and walnuts folded into the batter, but honestly, you could go many many directions here. Want triple chocolate cookies? Just add chocolate chips instead. Don't have cherries? Use cranberries or raisins. I can definitely see a future version of this cookie made with bits of crunchy, buttery toffee.
It's the base cookie that's really important here. Oh, man, do they hit the spot when you're hankering for a few bites of chocolate. Definitely have a glass of milk handy — you'll want it!
Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Cherries & Walnuts
Makes about 5 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups walnuts
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried tart cherries
Heat the oven to 350°F with 2 racks positioned in the top third and bottom third of the oven.
Spread the walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast them while the oven is pre-heating. They are ready when starting to turn golden and very fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, roughly chop, and set aside.
Place the eggs in a bowl and cover with hot tap water to warm them up. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or in a heat-proof metal bowl placed over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted, then set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar on in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the warmed eggs one at a time until fully combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes. The mixture will gain some volume during this time and become very creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture. Mix just until the flour is barely incorporated. Stop the mixer and add the chopped walnuts and cherries. Using a spatula, fold and stir in the walnuts and cherries until evenly distributed. The batter at this point should be glossy and thick.
Line two baking sheets with parchment (do not use Silpats or other baking mats for this recipe; the cookies will stick). Drop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. If you don't use up all the batter in one round, leave it out at room temperature while the first batch bakes — refrigerating makes the batter stiffer and less easy to work with.
Bake the cookies until crackled on top, set around the edges, but still soft in the middle, 14 to 16 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling using a thin spatula.
Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)