I give you cookies. Not just any cookies, mind you. Barely crispy on the outside, soft and chewy in the middle, filled with gooey dark and milk chocolate… no wait… studded with chunks of white chocolate and dried cranberries… no wait… speckled with flakes of shaved chocolate and loaded with melted peanut butter chips… no wait… rolled simply in organic cane sugar for the perfect sugar cookie. Can’t decide? Let’s make them all, from just one basic dough, and serve them with three different flavors of warm chocolate ganache, for dipping. You read that right. We’re going to be dipping these fabulous cookies into white, milk, and dark, chocolate ganache, while we’re eating them. Sorry See’s and Russell Stover, I’m afraid you’re out of your league this time.
Let’s get started, shall we? Here’s what you’ll need for the basic cookie dough:
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- 1 Egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar (don’t worry, it doesn’t flavor the cookies)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Your butter should be room temperature before you begin. If you’re like me, however, you probably forgot to pull it out of the fridge ahead of time. No problem. You can simply place it, with the wrapper still in place, into a bowl of warm (not hot) water, and leave it for 10 minutes. That should soften it sufficiently. Throw the butter into your mixing bowl and cream it until it looks like this:
Add the sugar and continue to mix until they are well combined, and the butter is a nice light color. Add the egg, vanilla, and vinegar, and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment, and mix again. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flours, salt, powder, and soda, and add to the wet mixture. Stir until just combined, scraping the bowl again, if necessary. At this point, your dough should be soft enough to stir or knead in goodies, but not sticky to the touch. If it is still somewhat tacky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough loses its stickiness, but don’t let it get too stiff to work with. Remove ¾ of the dough from the mixing bowl, and set aside.
Pull out your box grater and a piece of whatever chocolate you like.
Grate about ½ of an ounce (if you’re using one like mine, 2 squares would have been plenty) on the fine part of the grater. It should look something like this:
Add the grated chocolate to the dough you left in the mixing bowl and stir until incorporated.
At this point, you have some decisions to make. What I’m giving you here, is just a roadmap. You can mix in anything that might strike your fancy. My husband has a nut allergy, so you won’t find them in my recipe, but feel free to add nuts, dried fruit, or any flavor of chips you like. Here is the group of add-ins I used:
This is probably a good time to preheat your oven to 375°. Divide the dough into 4 separate bowls. To the dough with the chocolate flakes in it, I added peanut butter chips, and I didn’t skimp.
To the first plain dough I added white chocolate chunks and dried cranberries.
To the second, a combination of milk and dark chocolate chips. (and white chocolate to some, as well)
The last bit of dough I rolled into balls and dropped into a little bowl of sugar.
Just shake it around a little until it looks like this:
Since we’re going to be dipping these cookies, smaller is better. I rolled balls about the size of nickel. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet (it doesn’t have to be lined, but I like the easy cleanup), leaving a good two inches between them.
The ones in the picture are not spaced far enough, but they looked silly all spread out, so I moved them for the picture, and then spaced them back out. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
I pressed a piece of white chocolate into the double chocolate cookie right when they came out of the oven. Why not, right? Now, while those cool down and set up a bit, let’s start on the ganache. The ratio I’m using is ¼ cup of chocolate to 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. A glass measuring cup makes this easy.
Microwave the mixture for 20-30 seconds and then stir until smooth. Repeat the process with milk chocolate and dark chocolate, pouring each into its own bowl for dipping. Surround the bowls with cookies, and serve with an ice cold glass of milk.
Plenty for sharing with your Valentine, but good enough for one to enjoy, just wrapped in a warm blanket (or snuggie, if that’s your thing), while reading your favorite romance novel.
CAUTION: Chocolate ganache and books (of either the paperback or electronic variety), may not always get along.
What will you be eating this Valentine's Day?