Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

When going through the blog posts recently, I noticed something very, very grave. You may have noticed it too. I'm surprised I hadn't spotted it earlier.

What with my pasta frenzy, a stretch of experimentation with fried desserts, and most recently, my focus on posting slightly more conscientious recipes it has been a very, very long time since I've posted a recipe for something chocolate-y. In fact, my last chocolate-inclusive recipe was all the way back in August -- six months ago! -- when I posted about this Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. And before that -- all the way back in March 2019, when I told you about this Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake. As a blog that prides itself on its sweets (the name of the blog is Pancakes & Biscotti, after all) this is not acceptable. I apologize. I will try to do better. I will! Starting with these abundantly chocolate-y cookies, okay?

This batch of  some-of-the-best-cookies-I've-ever-eaten-ever came along thanks to the wise purchase of Anne Byrn's newest cookbook, American Cookie, a bible of sorts for all of the cookies of my home country, covering everything from Virginia Tavern Biscuits to 1922 Girl Scout Cookies to Black and Whites, Snickerdoodles, and homemade Fig Newtons, among many other American cookie classics. If this rings a bell, it's probably because I've also talked about Anne's book American Cake -- which I mentioned here, and here! -- the frosted, layered predecessor to American Cookie. For a culinary nerd like myself, these books are pure gold, with lots of fun food facts and knowledge, plus -- and most importantly of all -- consistently excellent recipes, like these Chocolate Mudslides. So! Mudslide cookies were first created and coined in the early 90s by pastry Chef Robert Jorin, who entered them in a baking contest in Petaluma, California, and subsequently won (no surprise there). A decade later, celebrity chef Jacques Torres made his own version of these cookies on his TV show, upping the ante and adding a whopping 2 lbs of chocolate in to the dough, thus making Mudslides a household name -- indeed, many bakeries in the U.S have their own versions of this cookie. 
I wasn't quite sure where to begin with this cookbook -- a classic case of l'imbarazzo della scelta, as we say in Italian, i.e spoiled for choice -- so my sister, who loves to browse cookbooks, but not make any of the recipes in them (she has me for that) came to the rescue, narrowing down the list of options swiftly and choosing superbly (did you expect any less from my other half?!) Here's the breakdown: a good amount of baking powder make these Mudslides expand and puff up in the oven and then deflate, souffle'-like, creating a crackly, brownie-ish exterior and a delightfully soft and fudge-y interior (yes, you read that correctly: a cookie that is reminiscent of both a souffle' and a brownie). These are spectacularly, profoundly chocolate-y -- a combination of melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate chunks -- a chocothon interrupted only by the welcome crunch of a buttery pecan. This first batch received rave reviews by my sister and group of amiche on a rainy weekend hangout, meeting various different ends -- some were whisked away right off the baking sheet once cool enough to eat, others were enjoyed alongside mugs of tea, and still others were then tucked away into paper bags to be brought home for eating the next day or quite possibly just later that evening; the very few cookies that made it to my office the next day promptly vanished, with a colleague of mine aptly describing them as "un pedacito del cielo," a piece of heaven. Awww.

Bonus: if you're planning on celebrating Valentine's Day this week -- a holiday that expressly celebrates chocolate -- these would fit the bill perfectly, because something that you've baked up yourself will always be a bit more special than a box of (store-bought) chocolates or a bouquet of (thorny) roses, at least in my book. Bake up a batch of these for February 14th and watch as you keep finding other new holidays to make them for -- a half birthday! President's Day! 2020 Leap Year! it's only Tuesday and I need a cookie! You get the idea.

A couple of notes: I made a few changes to the recipe as originally written; for one, the recipe in American Cookie calls for 7 eggs, which seemed like a lot of eggs to me; I halved the recipe, using 3 large eggs, which worked fine. I swapped in pecans for walnuts, used only semi-sweet chocolate instead of a combination of bittersweet and unsweetened, added in some cocoa powder to up the chocolate factor, and left out the 1/2 (which would've been 1/4 teaspoon since I halved the recipe) espresso powder as I didn't have any on hand. These minor changes produced perfect cookies, but do as you like. Even by halving the recipe, I found that these made quite a few cookies, but I used an ice cream scoop to form them rather than the 1/4 cup that is written in the recipe originally. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature and up to 6 months in the freezer. 

Looking for more chocolate-y recipes? I have these Brownie Cookies, this Brownie Pie, these Fudge Brownies, this Hot Fudge Sauce, this Pecan Chocolate Pretzel Pie, this Cioccolata Calda, this Chocolate Tartthis 1940s Wacky Chocolate Cake, this Wellesley Fudge Cake, this Chocolate Fudge Souffle Cake, these Chocolate Lava Cakes, this Chocolate Loaf Cake, and this German Chocolate Cake


CHOCOLATE MUDSLIDE COOKIES 
Recipe adapted from American Cookie, by Anne Byrn. Makes 20-22 cookies, depending on what size ice cream scoop you use.

Ingredients:

6.5 ounces (182 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (90 grams) flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (220 grams) chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/4 cup (155 grams) pecans, chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 170 degrees Celsius, putting the oven rack in the middle of the oven.  In the meantime, melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan over low heat and set aside.

2. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with the electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, then pour in a third of the melted chocolate, and beat on low speed until just combined. Add another third of the chocolate and mix to combine, then add the final third of the chocolate and mix briefly, about 10 seconds.

4. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Carefully turn the flour mixture onto the chocolate batter, and mix on the low speed until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. The dough may seem too soft to be cookie dough, but don't worry -- it will be fine!

5. With an ice cream scoop, drop six scoops of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each. Bake the cookies in your pre-heated oven until opaque and firm on top but still soft, 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies rest on the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Proceed in the same way to bake the rest of the cookies. Enjoy!
 









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