“There is electricity dripping from me like cream; there is love dripping from me I cannot use – like acacia or jacaranda, fallen blue and gold flowers, crushed into the street.” – Diane Wakoski, from ‘Blue Monday’
I know we’re all here for the cookies. So, this isn’t going to be a proclamations of heaving breath kind of post. It’s a post about cookies. Good cookies. My favourite cookies. And after what felt like an eternity of tests, development and promises. Here they are. Spelt Dark Chocolate Cookies. The way I like ‘em. With crisp edges, soft centers and puddles of molten chocolate. Flaked salt, always mandatory. Oh, and a word on light. I don’t usually choose to photograph in the strong morning sun. But, the cookies were there, the light was warm and they were gleaming.
– I like to use half spelt flour in my cookies, purely for the sake of texture. It adds a heartiness that I just adore. You can easily do the recipe without it. Just substitute regular all-purpose flour for the spelt.
– I use a dark chocolate block that contains a minimum of 70% cacao solids. The slight bitter edge compliments all the cookie sweetness, perfectly. If you prefer a more mild and sweeter cookie, use a dark chocolate that contains less than 55% cacao solids. Try to use the best quality block of dark chocolate you can find too. I love to use Callebaut for my cookies. Also, avoid any dark chocolate that contains dairy. Dark chocolate, should always be, dark chocolate, and not adulterated by milk fat.
– You should get about 30-32 cookies out of the dough by using a small cookie scoop (1” or 2.5 cm) or 1 tbsp. as a measure. For slightly larger cookies, use a medium scoop (2.8″ or 7 cm) or 1 ½ tbsp. as a measure.
– I like to use a tapping technique, inspired by the The Vanilla Bean Baking Book to help spread and melt the chocolate within. The technique gives the cookies those surface based pools and puddles of chocolate. You don’t have to do it, the cookies can be baked regularly. But, if you want the chocolate pools, it’ll help achieve that. It’s something a little extra that makes a slight alteration in appearance. The delicious cookie taste remains the same, regardless.
SPELT DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
200 g unsalted butter, cubed
285 g light brown sugar
80 g granulated sugar
175 g all-purpose flour
175 g spelt flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp. vanilla bean extract
225 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Flaked salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Place the butter into a medium sized saucepan, set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a large mixing bowl. Add in the light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk until smooth and combined. Set the bowl aside.
In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set the bowl with the dry ingredients aside.
Add the egg into the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk until smooth and glossy, then, add in the vanilla bean extract. Whisk until combined. Incorporate half of the dry ingredients into the bowl, using a wooden spoon to mix until just combined (some dry flour pockets should remain). Add in the remaining dry ingredients, again, mix until just combined. Fold in the dark chocolate chunks until evenly incorporated throughout the dough. Cover the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap and set the dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. (Any time longer and the dough will be hard to roll. If this happens, let the dough sit out at room temperature until it’s soft enough to roll but firm enough to hold it’s shape.)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a small cookie scoop, or a generous tablespoon as a measure, roll out as many cookie balls out of the dough as possible. Arrange the dough balls evenly amongst the baking trays, then, sprinkle over a little of the flaked salt.
Bake, for 9 to 11 minutes. Three quarters of the way into baking (about 8 minutes in), open the oven door and raise the cookie sheet by a few inches (The cookies should just be beginning to puff in the middle). Use a little force to tap it against the oven rack, so that the cookies de-flate slightly. You should see the chocolate begin to spread. Close the oven door and let the cookies bake and inflate again, for a further 30 seconds. Again, repeat the raising and tapping process above for a total of 3 times. The cookies should be golden, crisp around the edges and the middles should be just set with chocolate puddles throughout. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their baking trays for 10 minutes, before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to further cool slightly, before serving.