Thin, Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I don't know about you, but I'm running out of just about everything over here, guys. Shopping days, patience for fellow shoppers, time, mental capacity, clean pairs of stretchy yoga pants to house the results of all awesome holidayfood I've been consuming as of late. And on a related note, I'm also running out of my beloved Valrhona cocoa powder because in order to cope with the madness, I've made a double batch of the best dang chocolate cookie you'll have all season.

Because it makes me feel better about my stress levels, I'd like to think that we're all in this harried holiday race together, so I will just get to the point and tell you what you really need to know: this particular chocolate cookie gives the legendary World Peace Cookie a run for its money. And that's no joke. Consider it the soft, chewy counterpart to that cookie. And if you haven't tried a WPC and have no idea what I'm talking about, well, now you've got an awful lot of chocolate cookie baking to do. Both are the epitome of sweet-salty-chocolately perfection. But this chewy chocolate cookie has a texture on top of that amazing flavor that is so incredibly craveworthy. It's really something. If, like me, you're still trying to milk these last few holiday baking days for all they're worth, this recipe is a fantastically worthy candidate. Perfect for stacking in holiday cookie tins, too.

Now, I'm not one to go on and on about how you always have to use, say, the BEST vanilla extract or the BEST chocolate in a recipe or it's just not even worth attempting the recipe. I'd much rather have people use the best ingredients they can afford, whatever those may be and not make anyone feel all bad about not buying the $15 bottle of vanilla extract (can you hear me, Martha and Ina?). But because we're friends, I will always gently point it out when spending more for a premium ingredient makes a big difference in a recipe. And this, my friends, is one of those times. Going for one of the excellent cocoa powders on the market makes for a rich, midnight-dark dough that really makes this cookie spectacular.

These cookies are one for your permanent repertoire--dead simple, big chocolate flavor and so, so right with a hot mug of coffee or cocoa on a wintry day. I should know; I've been routinely regrouping from all the holiday craziness by parking myself on the sofa with a mug in one hand and one of these cookies in the other, in a pair of aforementioned stretchy yoga pants.

Thin, Chewy Chocolate Cookies Adapted from Martha Stewart

This is a time that it's so worth it to spend a little more for a dark, rich, premium cocoa powder. I love Valrhona and Scharffen Berger in this recipe. In place of regular salt, I like to use 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel when I'm feeling extra fancy--it does make a difference.

Makes about 4 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt (see note) 1 1/4 cups (2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 cups granulated sugar 2 large eggs Additional granulated sugar or sanding sugar, for dipping

Into a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and vanilla on medium speed until it is creamy, about one minute. Scrape down the bowl and add 2 cups of sugar and the eggs. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about two minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually stir in the dry ingredients until the dough i just combined and there are no dry pockets. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about one hour.

When you're ready to bake, position an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Scoop the dough by level tablespoons and roll each portion into a smooth ball. Dip the top of each dough ball into granulated sugar or white sanding sugar to coat. Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are set, but still soft in the center, about 8-10 minutes (you will notice the cookies will puff and then deflate--they will be finished about one minute after they deflate). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Chocolate, CookiesShauna Sever