salted dark chocolate cookies

I noticed these cookies on Orangette a few weeks ago and decided to give them a go. Who can really say no to chocolate or salt, much less chocolate and salt together.

These cookies were also an experiment in dough refridgeration. The recipe recommends that you refrigerate the dough overnight, and I was curious how much of a difference that made in the end product. The first night I baked these cookies, I froze the dough for 30 minutes before baking. I also baked them the next day after they’d been refrigerating for about 24 hours. Honestly, I didn’t notice a big difference at all.  Do note though, this dough is quite sticky straight out of the mixture so some sort of refrigeration is necessary, unless you just want to make a drop cookie similar to a chocolate chip cookie.

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies, via Orangette and adapted from from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, and from Renee Erickson and Boat Street Café

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
8 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
cup plus 2 T sugar, plus more for rolling the logs
2 large eggs
¼ t kosher salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk (I used 1% and it turned out just fine)
Maldon salt, for finishing (Amazingly, we had this particular variety of salt. You might remember The Salties. You’re looking for a large-flaked salt so it doesn’t just dissolve into the cookie or over-salt it)

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. I usually use a medium-sized metal bowl over a small sauce pan with a few inches of water in it. Melt the chocolate slowly, stirring frequently. Chocolate can burn so easily.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Slowly add the sugar, and continue to beat until the mixture is completely smooth and soft, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the salt and the vanilla, and then add the melted chocolate, beating to incorporate. Add the milk, and beat until combined. Finally, add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. The dough will be quite thick and stiff.

Cut two large pieces of plastic wrap and put them on your counter. Divide the dough into two portions and place in the middle of each square of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands, smoosh the dough into a log like shape that is about two inches in diameter. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and stick in the freezer or refrigerate to firm up.

When it’s time to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put another sheet of parchment paper on your work surface. Take a spoonful or two of sugar, and pour it onto the parchment, making a ridge of sugar of approximately the same length as your dough logs. Remove a log from the fridge, unwrap it, and roll in the sugar to evenly coat. Using a thin, sharp knife, slice the dough into ¼- to 1/3-inch slices.  Lay the slices on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with a few flakes of Maldon salt.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the top of the cookies looks set but still feels a little soft to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack, and leave the cookies on the pan to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

These cookies will keep for several days in a cookie tin.



the salties

It is pretty obvious to our friends and family that Jordan and I like food. Because of this, we often receive specialty food products as gifts — hot sauce, candies, olive oils, that sort of thing. Thanks to our loving family and friends, our collection of one particular pantry staple outshines all the others … SALT!

Our friend Katie (art history buff turned pastry chef turned organic farmer—seriously, read her blog) was visiting a few weekends ago, and after a bit of good food and wine, we decided we ought to taste test our entire salt collection. It turned out to be a lot of salt. Friends and family, I think we are solid on fancy salts for a while.

Here are the results of our exhaustive sampling. Hopefully, this tongue numbing experience wasn’t in vain and these descriptions will be helpful in your next specialty salt purchase.

A note about our technique. We tried a pinch of each salt, and comparing against our baseline of kosher salt, made notes for each variety. It got rather silly after a point because well, salt is salty. A few salts received specific “awards”, a few were blessed with amazing quotes by Katie, all were salty.

The Salties, in alphabetical order

Black Diamond: Shock and Awe 
Black, salty rocks. This salt is all about the spectacle.

Fleur de Sel: Most Classic 
Straight up salt. Nice flake.

French Grey Sea Salt: #1 Finishing Salt
Mild, oceany and crunchy. “I like a wet salt” – K.L.N.

Hawaiian Sea Salt: Don’t Waste Your $$$
Basically kosher salt.

Kosher Salt (either Morton or Diamond Crystal): Best All-Purpose Salt 
Size makes for even distribution, all purpose, super affordable

La Baleine French
What you think of when you think sea salt.

Lemon Flake
Amazingly lemony. It’s like a salt snack.

Malakai Guava Smoked Salt
Surprisingly mild smokey flavor.  Add to homemade BBQ sauce.

Slightly crunchy, very nice texture.

Meadow Sel Gris
Light texture, but a very substantial crystal. “It’s useless it is so big” – K.L.N.

Molokai Red: Most Surprising (in a Good Way)
Fruity at first, with a salty finish. Very crunchy. Would be great on roasted potatoes

Murray River
Light, snowflake-like texture. Very, very salty

Rosemary Salt
Wow! That is rosemary.

White Truffle Salt: Salt of the Gods
Hands down our favorite flavored salt. “This doesn’t even taste like salt. This tastes like food” – K.L.N.

A shout out goes to the tasters for their valiant efforts and also to our amazing friends and family who always seem to bring us back fabulous, salty presents.