Thursday, September 04, 2008


Anyone remember Chunky? Not the town in Mississippi (really) - the candy bar. Chunk? Lump is more like it, a lump shaped like the frustum (now, there’s a real fifty-cent word for ya) of a pyramid. Milk chocolate, peanuts, and raisins...with all that crap in it, it had to be healthy, right?

The Chunky bar’s pitch (“Open Wide for Chunky!”) was that thicker chocolate somehow tasted better. I don’t know what sort of scientific mumbo-jumbo exists to support this piece of marketing ballyhoo, but I’ve got some anecdotal evidence that says they might’ve been right. With chocolate, thick is good. Lookee:

The Mistress of Sarcasm held a trunk show yesterday, selling a pile of her work to various friends and friends of friends.

My main contribution was to bake up some fresh cookies. Nothing puts people in a Jewelry and Handicrafts Buying Mood like cookies.

(Actually, that’s not entirely true. What puts people in a buying mood is having a pocketful of money and the desire to use it. And plenty of estrogen. Yeah, the estrogen definitely helps.)

I dug up a recipe for cinnamon-chocolate straws from an old magazine I had squirreled away almost twenty-five years ago. They looked elegant and delicious: twists of cocoa-infused semi-puff pastry, coated with cinnamon sugar and dipped in white and milk chocolate. Making them turned out to be a disaster, however. I didn’t mind making the dough, or the thrice-repeated steps of roll-fold-roll-fold-chill. I discovered, however, that unlike regular puff pastry that browns as it bakes, this stuff started off almost black...which meant that it was all too easy to burn. And the ones that didn’t burn were extremely fragile, making them devilishly hard to dip while having them remain intact.


But all was not lost. The same magazine also had a recipe for chocolate chunk cookies. Yes, that says “chunk.” Because mere chips will not do for these cookies. No, these cookies use big slabs of Swiss milk chocolate, hacked directly from the bar...and if that’s not enough to get you all excited, they also have a healthy shot of Cointreau. I love the combination of milk chocolate and bitter orange...and perhaps you will, too. The version below incorporates my own adaptations and “tweaks.”

Orange Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Orange Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies. (Click to embiggen.)

Orange Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large or extra-large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp orange oil
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (Instead of sifting, I just aerate the flour with a wire whisk before measuring it out)
1 tsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
3 oz chopped pecans
7 oz Swiss milk chocolate (2 x 3½ oz Lindt or Tobler bars work just fine), coarsely chopped

Use a stand mixer unless you have elbow grease to spare.

Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy, then add the egg, salt, vanilla, and orange oil and beat until combined. Add the baking soda, Cointreau, and (in two additions) the flour, beating until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chunks. Scrape the dough together into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least four hours.

Position two racks in the oven about one-third and two-thirds up; preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease two cookie sheets with butter, Crisco, or what-have-you. Measure out a lump of dough approximately 2-3 tbsp in volume (I used a small ice cream scoop), form into a ball, and place in the center of the sheet. Place four more balls of dough in the corners of the sheet, allowing a few inches for the cookies to spread. Do this with the other sheet and you’re ready to bake the cookies.

Place the sheets in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes. Midway through the baking time, reverse the sheets from top to bottom and turn the sheets from back to front.

The cookies are done when they are golden brown at the edges with a slightly paler top. Take them out, let them cool on the sheets for two minutes, then remove (carefully!) to paper towels for two minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool thoroughly.

Pack ’em in an airtight container if any manage to survive.

Once you’ve had one or two of these bad boys, you’ll never look at regular old chocolate chip cookies with their dinky-ass chips the same way. Thicker is better, especially when you’re talking about honkin’ hunks of meltingly delicious Swiss milk chocolate in an orangey cookie matrix.

Now, where the hell is the milk?

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