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If you are going to make chocolate cookies, make them spectacular

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That's right--forget chocolate chips or peppermint crunch. Make this Chocolate Crumb that was published in America Online's Food section and you will end up with cookies that people will beg you to bake and bring to dinners and potlucks.

What many cookies are missing is crunch; that is why we add nuts to many cookie recipes. I find that things like toffee bits or crushed peppermint candy are not satisfactory because they melt into the cookies as they bake; the small size of cookies accounts for this.

But this recipe from AOL passes all tests. You won't find a better recipe anywhere if you love chocolate cookies. I would invest in the large cookie scoop for these cookies as well, although I already own a couple. But you will not long for nuts or sugar sprinkles or anything else in this cookie--it is perfect as it is.

This is not a "dump cookie," in that it is not easy to whip up in a minute. You have to go through two steps, first making the chocolate crumb and then making the cookie dough. Then you chill it before baking. Just do it! Sometimes you pull out all the stops and go for it. When you have that occasion, well, now you have the cookie.

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 sticks organic butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups organic granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 large organic egg at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces 55% chocolate, melted
1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 recipe Chocolate Crumb, given below
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 Tablespoons butter at room temperature

For the chocolate crumb:

Heat the oven to 300°F.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed. Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.

Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake them for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating.

For the cookie dough:

Combine the butter, sugar and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, vanilla and melted chocolate, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

Place the the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk them together. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, folding just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you risk over mixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Still on low speed, add the chocolate crumbs and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Using a 2-3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1⁄3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature -- they will not turn out properly.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Arrange the chilled cookies a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. If after 18 minutes the cookies still seem soft in the center, bake for another minute in the oven.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. The cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

One thing you could do for extra pizazz would be to sprinkle the cookies lightly with sparkling sugar just before baking. That would give them a surface that looks sophisticated, as if the actual cookies are not amazing. But you could.

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