Midnight Cookies- Office Bake Off

by Jeanne

                       Icebox2

Icebox cookies are not new to me. But lately I feel as if I’ve discovered something new.  Most likely due to a small,  or if I’m honest, a galley kitchen in my new place I appreciate them more for the ease and simplicity. 

In the 1927 the first commercially available electric refrigerator for residential use was available from GE for $300. Most utility companies offered them to customers for $10 a month billed via their monthly statement. As part of the$1,000,000 marketing launch uses and recipes were developed.  The slice-and-bake icebox cookie was born. Most of the ingredients required for the many variations on this theme are on hand if you keep even the most basic pantry.Today they are so convenient that not having a log in the freezer is an oversight.

Yesterday the office holiday bake off was held.  I won first place and audience favorite for Midnight Cookies, one of my favorite and most requested cookies. Really how could I possibly lose? They are pure chocolate cookie with a crispy edge and a chewy center.  Previously I’ve written of a somewhat similar but (believe it or not) richer chocolate cookie, pastry chef Jacques Torres’s Mudslides

Oh yes, while these took two top prizes another secret entry under a colleague’s name won second. The Pistachio Cranberry  cookie can be found in the recent issue of Gourmet or online.

Midnight Cookies

I call these midnight cookies not only for their dark, deep color but also because they are the perfect treat to sneak as the clock points straight up.

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 ¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups chocolate chips

Yield 48-60 cookies

Melt the 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.

In a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, sugar, and vanilla at high speed until a ribbon forms when you lift the beaters out of the liquid.  Then turn the speed to low and mix in the slightly cool chocolate (it’s important that the melted chocolate is not steaming hot.)

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder.  Add to the batter.  Add the chocolate chips.  The batter will appear soft.  Place the whole bowl into the fridge until it is chilled but not stiff.  It should still be pliable. The batter should be able to hold its form somewhat.

Place a large sheet of wax paper down on the counter.  Pull the batter onto the wax paper and divide into roughly three equal pieces. If it’s not exact that’s perfectly fine.  Now take another sheet of wax paper and one of the three sections and roll it into 10” logs and 2” in diameter.  Shape and wrap the log with the wax paper; continue with the others. Ensure that the ends of the logs are covered so that they don’t dry out.  Place all three wax-wrapped logs into a big plastic bag and chill for at least 30-45 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove logs at least 15 minutes before going into oven.  With a knife—use a chopping knife– as you need a clean swipe–cut the log  by ½” increments. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Here’s the tricky part you must remove them while they are a bit shiny as that makes the center chewy.  It’s a good idea to bake a few first as a trial run.

Note: The logs can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months. 

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