When is a cookie more than a cookie? This one truly takes the cake.
Sorry I couldn’t resist. The model for this cookie is, of course, Bavaria’s most famous confection, the Black Forest Cake. To look at them you think “Chocolate cookie.” The surprise is what’s inside. More chocolate and cherries. And the whipped cream of the cake is replaced with white chocolate inside the cookie. The recipe came from two of Andrew’s favorite bakers, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito in “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart Tabori Chang 2008). You have to love these guys. 17 years ago they ditched the Advertising business and opened a sublime bakery called “Baked” in Red Hook, Brooklyn. They still own and operate the bakery and even opened a branch in Tokyo. All I can say is “Bravo”, as this pair has given Andrew inspiration for one great dessert after another. Links to some of the others follow this recipe.
A couple of caveats
The last time these were made, they were meant for a dinner party gift to our hostess. Forgotten was the fact that the batter has to rest for 6 hours. So you either have to start this recipe very early in the day. Or leave the batter in the fridge overnight. The second is the yield. This gives you way more than the 24 cookies Matt and Renato promise. It’s more like 40! But the more the merrier with this cookie. It is a chocolate lover’s delight. Biting into this cookie, there is more depth of chocolate flavor than in most chocolate desserts.
About that Black Forest Cake…
Because I love a good food story, I can’t resist telling you this one. I am on a Viking Rhine River cruise which takes us to the Black Forest in southwestern Germany. Unlike most Viking Shore excursions which are all about authentic experiences, this one featured what could loosely be called an amusement park. On offer was a cake decorating session which I eagerly attended. As you can see the cake was covered in whipped cream, dusted with chocolate, and adorned with preserved cherries. I was impressed enough to ask the young cake decorator where he had gone to pastry school. He hadn’t. He answered that he was an electrician from Croatia who’d landed a job here decorating cakes. Odd, I thought, until I dug a little deeper into the origins of the cake. Like the electrician, the cake doesn’t necessarily have its roots in the Black Forest…
Black Forest Cake is not named for the Black Forest…or is it?
It takes its name from the specialty liqueur of the region, Schwartzwalder Kirsch. And the liqueur is one of the most important ingredients. It has a distinct cherry flavor. Initially, cherries, cream, and kirschwasser were combined to make a dessert. It was really quite simple: cooked cherries were topped with cream and kirschwasser. The cake originated far from the Black Forest. One claimant to the recipe, Josef Keller dated his invention to 1915 in his confectionary in Bonn, some 500 kilometers from the Black Forest. Then there are those who claim the cake was indeed named for the Black Forest’s traditional head garb, The Bollenhut. It features big red pom poms on top. The first written recipe for Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte appeared in 1934 giving Berlin as its birthplace. By that time, it could be found at patisseries in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Here’s the recipe:
Black Forest Chocolate Cookies
The surprise is what’s inside. More chocolate and cherries. And the whipped cream of the Black Forest cake is replaced with white chocolate inside the cookie.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 cacao), coarsely chopped
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 large eggs at room temperature please
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
- 1 cup (6 ounces) dried cherries - if you're a cherry lover add an extra 1/2 cup.
- Step 1 Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Step 2 In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the dark chocolate and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Step 3 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugars on high speed until the mixture is pale and thick, about 5 minutes
- Step 4 Add the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds.
- Step 5 Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined about 10 seconds. Do not overmix.
- Step 6 Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and dried cherries. The dough will look very loose, but it will harden in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- Step 7 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Step 8 Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time until the tops of the cookies are set and begin to show a few cracks.
- Step 9 Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before removing from the pans and serving.
- Step 10 The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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