by Mike Sula
There have been (and are about to be) a lot of good new cookbooks released by local authors lately. I'm going to try to excerpt recipes from each of them as they come out. First up is Cookie Love, by pastry superchef and Hot Chocolate proprietor Mindy Segal (with Kate Leahy, a food writer based in Oakland, California). This is simply a lovely book, chock-full of cookie porn, with some 60 recipes broken down into categories like drop cookies, shortbread, sandwich cookies, bars, spritz and thumbprints, etc. Yes, there are basics like the simple chocolate chip, which yielded some of the best ever produced in my household, but there's also lots of wild stuff like smoked-almond shortbread with orange-blossom framboise, kolachkes with red-wine-and-ginger-pear butter, and graham cracker-passion fruit whoopie cookies. The recipes are built with enough flexibility to allow experimentation, but it's hard to imagine wanting to mess with something so elementally satisfying as brownie krinkles, which was the second recipe attempted by the aspiring pastry chef in my house. The great thing about this recipe—and about quite a few of the recipes in the book—is how Segal uses salt to intensify already deep and powerful flavors.
Brownie Krinkles by Mindy Segal
makes approximately 42 cookies
MY MOM BAKED BROWNIE krinkles the day she invited my kindergarten teacher over for lunch. I must have been hovering around the kitchen, because I clearly remember biting into one of the cookies. It was as soft as a pillow and rich with chocolate, with a light layer of powdered-sugar sweetness that coated my tongue. I was hooked. This is the first memory I have of eating cookies. I still think of these cookies as special treats, and every so often I go off on a tangent and eat a dozen.
When making the batter, mix the chocolate into the oil and sugar while still warm. For best results, bake the cookies just until the edges are set and the tops no longer look raw. They dry out and lose their fudgy center if baked too long.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
½ cup canola or sunflower oil
1 ¾ cups cane sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) barely simmering water in a pot (see "Using a Double Boiler," page 280), melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Keep warm.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salts.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil and sugar on low speed for 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and mix to combine, approximately 30 seconds.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. On medium speed, add the eggs and vanilla, one egg at a time, mixing briefly to incorporate before adding the next, approximately 5 seconds for each egg. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together. Mix on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds to make nearly homogeneous.
Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until the dough comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 30 seconds. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the dough completely together by hand.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Heat the oven to 350°F and line a couple of half sheet (13-by-18-inch) pans with parchment paper.
To make the coating:
Put the confectioners' sugar in a bowl, ensuring there is plenty of room in the bowl to roll the dough in the sugar. Using a ¾-ounce (1 ½ tablespoon) ice cream scoop, portion the dough into 12 mounds and roll into balls. Coat the balls completely and generously with the confectioners' sugar. (You will not use all of the sugar.) The dough should resemble snowballs.
Evenly space the balls on a prepared sheet pan. Add a generous pinch or two more confectioners' sugar to the tops. Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes. The cookies will form crinkles and will be set in the middle. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from Cookie Love, by Mindy Segal, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.