“A flame cut in blossom, a candle watching where the blackwinged butterfly burns…” Octavio Paz, an excerpt from Sight, Touch, translated by Mark Strand.
I wanted to leave you all with these Salted Coffee Brownie Cookies before I fly off this coming week. I’ve been with them for a while. Testing them, re-testing them, loving them. And after all the broken promises, here they are. With intense darkness, slight bitterness, a little sweetness, and a hint of salt, they’re the perfect mouthful. A kind of life-bettering cookie. I’m also leaving you with an excerpt from Forough Farrokhzad’s ‘The House is Black.’ Its shadow has haunted the walls of my mind for the last few months. And I don’t want us to part, yet.
“Alas, for the day is fading, the evening shadows are stretching. Our being, like a cage full of birds, is filled with moans of captivity. And none among us knows how long he will last. The harvest season passed, the summer season came to an end, and we did not find deliverance. Like doves we cry for justice… and there is none. We wait for light and darkness reigns. O overrunning river driven by the force of love, flow to us, flow to us.”
The chocolate used in this recipe should be the very best you can find. Source chocolate that you wouldn’t just bake with, but that you would eat. The chocolate should contain a cacao solid percentage of no more than 70%, for something slightly bitter, and no less than 60%, for something slightly milder.
The dough will be soft, wet. It won’t be dough like regular cookie dough. And that’s entirely what you want. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s at scooping and rolling consistency. Fifteen minutes usually does it for me, or a maximum of thirty minutes depending on your fridge’s temperature. Any longer and the dough will firm up and become difficult to handle. If this happens, simply let it come to temperature on the kitchen counter before using. Please don’t skip this chilling step! I know it’s a little more time intensive, but the dough needs to chill to be able to be handled. Otherwise it’s a mess. A hot one, though.
I recommend using a cookie scoop for this recipe. It makes for the most perfect cookie dough balls and due to the high ratio of chocolate, it’s a lot easier to use one. I use a small 1” OXO cookie scoop, and every-so-often between rolling, I dip it into a little bowl with lukewarm water to clean off any sticky-dough. You can use a tablespoon as a measure. It’ll take a little longer and be messier, which could be delicious fun, but I’d get the cookie scoop. It’s a lifesaver.
This recipe utilises a tapping method which yields a perfectly flat cookie with plenty of crinkles. The method specifies which time intervals to tap, but, as all ovens and temperatures are not the same, let your eye, as well as time, be your guide. As soon as you notice the cookies begin to excessively puff, open the oven door, and tap the sheet against the oven rack to deflate and crinkle them.
SALTED COFFEE BROWNIE COOKIES
Makes 20 – 22
300 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60 grams unsalted butter, cubed
45 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely ground instant coffee powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
200 grams light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tablespoon water, room temperature
Flaked salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Place the dark chocolate and butter into a medium sized heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water below. Heat, stirring often, on medium-low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set the bowl aside to cool.
In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, coffee powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside until needed.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the light brown sugar and eggs on medium speed, until thick, doubled in volume, and light caramel in color, about 4 minutes. Add in the melted and slightly cooled dark chocolate. Continue to whisk until well incorporated. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Set the mixer speed to medium-low and add in the dry flour ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then, add in the water. Continue to whisk until evenly incorporated. The dough should not be firm, but fluid, and leave a thick flowing “ribbon trail” when the whisk is lifted. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven temperature to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line three large baking trays with non-stick parchment paper.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough out and into evenly sized dough balls. The dough should be soft but will hold its shape when being scooped. If you are using a tablespoon to roll, the dough may become stickier and more difficult to work with. If this is the case, simply place the dough back in the refrigerator to slightly firm up before rolling. Make sure to space them an even distance apart, to allow room for spreading. You should fit about 8 to 10 balls per sheet. Tap the sheets three times against the kitchen bench, to slightly flatten and spread the cookies. Sprinkle over a little of the flaked salt.
Bake the cookies, a sheet at a time, for about 11 minutes. 5 minutes into baking, open the oven-door and rotate the cookie sheet half-way around. Tap the sheet against the oven rack to flatten and crinkle the cookies. Close the oven door and allow the cookies to rise up again. 2 minutes later, open the oven door again, and tap the tray against the oven rack to again deflate and further crinkle the cookies. Once again, close the oven door, and allow them to rise up again. Another 2 minutes later, repeat this tapping process, for a final time. You’re aiming for cookies that are perfectly flat with plenty of crinkles. Allow the cookies to bake until done, about a further two minutes. They should be just firm around the edges and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their trays for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool further before serving.