Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Cherries and Pecans
Somewhere in the back of my increasingly feeble, mother-to-an-almost-toddler mind, I seem to remember learning in school about the hierarchy of basic human needs. I'm pretty sure they included food, water, shelter, chocolate and an aunt and uncle set who are significantly cooler than your parents. Baby C scored on that last bit. A prime example being that her awesome Uncle Pat recently rolled through town on a tour with his band, while her totally boring mother baked cookies for said band. But as it turns out, it's a tall order, baking for rockstars.
Although homemade cookies of all sorts would probably be welcomed by a van full of boys, you certainly don't want to send them off with a container full of anything too delicate that might shatter into crumbs while getting rattled around among their gear and various gaming platforms. No, surely a lady cookie wouldn't do. You need something sturdy. Dude Cookies. Road Biscuits. Like chewy nuggets of midnight dark chocolate, nubbly with tart dried cherries, bittersweet chocolate and toasty pecans.
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's great Pure Dessert, a book brimming with the kinds of recipes that turn out flavorful, earthy desserts that are never too sweet and always completely satisying. The recipes are familiar enough to create an instant craving, but there's always a few ingredients that are off my everyday baking radar tossed into the mix that get me all excited to forage aisles in the market that I might not normally visit. And if that kind of spontaneity isn't rockstar, well then I don't know what is. How about staying out until midnight on a weeknight to go see a show in a bar AND paying someone to watch our kid for the first time?! THAT'S rock n' flippin' ROLL, people! Hard core!
Makes about 4 dozen
The original recipe calls for the dough to come together in a food processor. I've never acquired one myself, so I used a standing mixer and have rewritten the recipe as such. The beauty of a food processor is that it doesn't incorporate a lot of air into the dough, making for a decadent, dense cookie, so if you use a mixer like I did, just keep the speed as low as possible.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into 12 chunks 3 tablespoons whole milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 6 ounces (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips 6 ounces (1 cup) dried tart cherries 1 1/3 cups chopped toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Drop by level tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies look drier and set--the centers won't be firm at all, but shouldn't be too squishy. Cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in airtight containers in single layers separated by waxed paper or parchment.