I remember falling in love with Dori Greenspan. No, it wasn't because she's an ineffable beauty, or because I was irresistibly drawn to the mysterious allure of her dark brown eyes. Sure, Dori is nice looking and, as "a woman of a certain age," definitely appeals to old guys, but it was her cheesecake that won my heart. One bite and I said, "That's the girl for me!"
Now, our love affair has expanded from cheesecake to cookies, specifically, the aptly named Chocolate Chunker, which appeared in her last love letter to me, cleverly disguised as a cookbook, Baking from My Home to Yours. Here's what she wrote:
1/3 cup of all-purpose flower
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 once unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup store-bought chocolate chips
6 ounces premium quality milk or white chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 and ½ cup chopped salted peanuts
1 cup raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
Turn the oven on to 30 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
Set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water: and the butter, bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate and stir until just melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool.
Mix the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes, and then beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the melted butter and chocolate. When mixed, add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed.
Mix until the dry ingredients until they turn into a thick, smooth dough; mix in the semisweet and milk (or white) chocolate chucks, peanuts and raisins.
Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoon full onto the baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies are done when the tops appear a little dry but the interiors are still soft. If the cookies are a bit "gooey" just pop them into the refrigerator for a few minutes.
I fell for Dori--fell hard--when I found Paris Sweets: Great Deserts from the City's Best Pastry Shop, in a second hand store in Kansas City. With first date trepidation, I tried out the macaroon and laduree recipes... and was smitten. Hands down, Dori Greenspan is the best baker of deserts working and writing in the United States. You can find her at better bookstores everywhere.