Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chocolate truffle cookies

Although I want this blog to focus primarily on reviewing chocolate, I can never pass up the opportunity to share my favorite chocolate recipes. The following is one of my favorites to make around Christmas, although the only reason I think of it as a Christmas recipe is because I found it in a December issue of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. The only way to really describe these sinful cookies is with one word: potent. There are three sources of chocolate in them: unsweetened baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and unsweetened baking cocoa. Thus, there's so much chocolate in these babies that you have to make them on the small side, or else they'll be too rich to finish. So, without further ado, I bring you my chocolate truffle cookies:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the butter in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and seat aside to cool.
  2. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, and sugar until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.
  4. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture until combined well. Stir in the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips.
  5. Cover dough and chill for two hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls with dampened hands. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (or sheets lined with parchment paper) so they are 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies before entering the oven.

After their trip to the oven. As you can see, they don't expand much.

A few notes...
- the original recipe calls for ungreased cookie sheets, but I've found that the cookies can still stick a little once they're done. So I prefer to use parchment paper instead.

- you definitely want these cookies on the small side. As noted above, they pack quite a punch, so 1 inch balls is really all you need. (That's what she said?)

- although the recipe says to have the dough refrigerate for two hours, you can probably get by with just one hour.

- it's a little hard to tell when they're done; I take them out when cracks start appearing in the top of the cookies (which should be after 10-11 minutes). These cookies are definitely ones that taste better undercooked rather than overcooked.

- they taste fantastic when warmed up. You can microwave them for 10-15 seconds to get that gooey, warm taste; the chocolate chips melt when they're warmed up and taste amazing!

If anyone makes these cookies, let me know how they turn out! They're always a hit with my family :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Okay, so I'm kind of lazy about updating...

Greetings, fellow chocoholics! I've been meaning to update for a while now, but I decided that I couldn't do a proper post without first consuming all of the chocolate I was planning on blogging about. Obviously.

Today's post is about a brand of chocolate that I have wanted to try since it was introduced in 2005. Unfortunately, until last week I could only ever find it in box form - and as much as I like chocolate, I draw the line at buying boxes of chocolate for myself (however, I will never say no to a box of chocolate given to me as a gift...).

I am, of course, talking about Choxie, and if you've never heard of this brand, you clearly haven't looked carefully enough at the chocolate section of Target. Choxie is Target's brand of chocolate, and, in terms of packaging, it's just what you would expect from Target: bright colors and cute designs. It's no small wonder that I've wanted to try Choxie for the packaging alone; I'm a sucker for Target-brand goods.

Truth is, I almost missed the Choxie bars when I was at Target last weekend, but then my eyes fell upon the "Buy 2 get 1 free" sign and I was in heaven.

First up is the Dark Chocolate Bar, which I decided to buy in order to have a comparison of Choxie dark chocolate vs. Ghirardelli/Lindt/Godiva dark chocolate.

smooth, dark and rich all in a solid bar of decadent chocolate. who needs handsome and mysterious?
(that's what the label says)

Nowhere on the package is the cocoa percentage listed, but I would guess 45-50%. Also, one serving = half the bar (whereas with Ghirardelli it would be, say, a square), so it's really not that strong. But is it GOOD? Well, kind of. The dark chocolate by itself is better than Hershey's, but still not quiet as smooth and rich as Ghirardelli or Lindt. I enjoyed it, but in the future probably would stick with buying some of Choxie's more exotic flavors.

Which leads me to the second bar I bought:

Uh, I guess my wrapper got a little beat up...

Here's the description provided on the package: "dark chocolate surrounds a sweetly tart raspberry lemon-flavored truffle filling with biscotti bits added for intrigue." Basically you have a center, which is solid raspberry filling with a touch of lemon flavor, surrounded by a thin layer of biscotti, which in turn is surrounded by a slightly thicker layer of dark chocolate.

I would never have thought to put all these flavors together, but it's actually pretty incredible. At the same time, though, there's almost too much going on; the bar would still work just fine if the biscotti was taken out. Would I buy it again? Absolutely. The lemon/raspberry combo is not a flavor that you normally find in chocolate, so I enjoyed it for that alone. But what I really liked is how not one flavor overpowered the others; they all blended together so well.

I can't find a fill list of Choxie bars anywhere, but many of there bars are similar to the raspberry one; I saw a creme brulee one last weekend, and I know there's a key lime pie one floating out there too. In short: I'm keeping my eye out for other Choxie bars, if only because it's the only brand that I've found with chocolate flavors as unique as these.

Choxie Dark Chocolate Bar: 3.5/5
Choxie Dark Chocolate Raspberry Lemon Biscotti Truffle Bar: 4.5/5