triple chocolate cookies with sea salt and cayenne sprinkling
According to Jay, I have some ‘splainin’ to do. I seem to have named this site “Batter Licker,” and yet there hasn’t been so much batter around these parts lately. In fact, the most recent dessert was posted almost three months ago!
But dessert is back, and these triple chocolate cookies are rich enough to make up for the utter lack of dessert since early February.
These cookies have an intense and complex chocolate flavor that comes from the combination of cocoa powder (I used Valrhona, and yes, this is the size of the box I lugged back from Paris for cheaper than you can get it in the US), 70% chocolate, and cacao nibs. This is chocolate decadence at its utmost in cookie form.
While these are a touch more on the crisp side than my Chocolate Brownie Cookies, these cookies come together much more quickly (no need to beat the batter for 15 minutes!). And for you Batter Lickers out there, taste away without fear, as there are no eggs in this batter!
Just like some of the salt-sprinkled chocolate chip cookies floating around out there, these deeply chocolate cookies pair amazingly with a pinch of salt on top. But to add some warmth and heat, I also sprinkled them with cinnamon and a touch of cayenne pepper. Not enough to burn your tongue off, but just enough to taste the spice (and salt) cutting through the dense chocolate for a more exciting and complex flavor in each bite.
Triple Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt and Cayenne Sprinkling (adapted from Clotilde Dusoulier’s Very Chocolate Cookies recipe in Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen)
Makes approximately 4 dozen small, very rich cookies
1 c. all-purpose flour (may substitute half with whole wheat flour)
1/4 c. cocoa powder (unsweetened Dutch-process)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used 70%), chopped in chip-sized chunks
1/4 c. cacao nibs (optional, but really good in these!)
1/2 c. plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. vanilla extract
cinnamon and cayenne pepper for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
In a medium microwavable bowl, melt half of the chopped chocolate by microwaving and stirring in 30 second increments until just melted. (Or set a bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt the chocolate.) Set aside, and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat the butter by hand or with an electric mixer until just smooth. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.
Stirring by hand, add the melted chocolate. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into the bowl, and stir until just combined. Add cocoa nibs and remaining half of chopped chocolate, and stir until evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.
Scooping the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, space cookies out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each with sea salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, if desired.
Bake until top of cookies takes on a slightly dry sheen, about 10 minutes. (They will firm up more when cool.)
Do ahead: Dough will keep in airtight refrigerated container for up to a week, or store in freezer for up to 3 months.