Tuesday, April 27, 2010

{TWD} Chockablock Cookies


This week the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group takes us back into cookie territory as we bake Chockablock Cookies. One thing I've learned as we've baked through Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours is that I love her simple recipes, evidenced by the recipe I chose when it was my turn, the Swedish Visiting Cake. So I approached this week's cookie with a bit of apprehension. Dorie calls these cookies "chockablock" because they are stuffed full of stir-ins, all held together with a molasses-rich cookie dough. Molasses is one of my very favorite ingredients, and Dorie has some pretty wonderful plain molasses cookies that we baked back in November. I had to wonder if in these cookies the molasses would be just one flavor competing with the other "chockablock" items: nuts, dried fruit, coconut and chocolate.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet chose these cookies, and you can find the recipe on her site, or on page 86 of Dorie's book.

- I made 1/3 recipe which yielded 13 cookies.

- There's a lot of flexibility in this recipe - nuts of choice (I used pecans), dried fruit of choice (mixture of currants and golden raisins for me), coconut (toasted), and chocolate pieces.

- I adore the taste of molasses, but didn't enjoyed the molasses/chocolate combination in the Chocolate Gingerbread we baked for TWD, so I left out the chocolate from my cookie dough. Once I'd formed the cookies I studded two of them with a few Ghiradelli 58% chocolate chips.

- The dough is interesting because even though there is molasses, there aren't any of the "usual suspects" in terms of spices that often accompany molasses in baked goods.

- Rather than the recipe's proportion of 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening, I used 1/3 shortening, 2/3 butter.

- My cookies spread and flattened just the right amount and were perfectly baked in 13 minutes, 30 seconds.


the verdict:

My husband and I both enjoyed the non-chocolate cookies - they were filled with textures and tastes. The cookies had nice soft interiors, chewy but tender, and pleasantly molasses-y. Rather than competing with the fruit and nut flavors, the molasses pulled them all together. I'm taking a wild guess and saying that absent the influence of "Christmas spices," the molasses became a true team player.

As for the cookies with the chocolate chips: I could eat my words, but I'd much rather eat the cookies! I enjoyed the full chockablock experience - fruit, nuts, coconut, and chocolate were all very good together. I give the credit to the molasses. And the relatively mild chocolate. I'm glad I didn't use darker chocolate, because the mellowness of this chocolate helped it fit in with the (many) other flavors.

39 comments:

Kaitlin said...

I'm glad this recipe was able to change your mind! With so many different flavours, I too was surprised at how well they went together. It's just the dried fruit I had issues with.

cindy said...

What a fun recipe, so many possible variations. I only put 8 ounces of chocolate instead of 12. Perfect mix. I so enjoy your blog. It is so friendly, such a great place to visit!

Leslie said...

I'm glad these were a happy surprise for you! I ended up making these twice as the first batch was a fail. They won't be a favorite but I'm glad we made them.

Nickki said...

I'm so glad you were pleasantly surprised by these cookies! I wasn't sure I'd enjoy them either but they were really tasty :-)

mike said...

Impressed that 2 versions were made and compared. AND glad that you enjoyed both - I LOVED the chocolate / molasses combo. I found the entire cooky delicious. They look so nice and deeply colored - tres delicioso!

Sweet and Savory said...

I should have used chocolate chipe instead of shaved chocolate. The two you made, look great with the chocolate showing.

Romaine said...

Did you put a new picture in your header? Very cute.

Good idea with the chocolate chips just to give them a try.

limo hire said...

Thanks for the recipe to share with us..

Mary said...

I am glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for baking along with me and thanks for all your helpful NOE tips.

chocolatechic said...

No chocolate?

OH...the horror! lolol

Your cookies look good.

Pamela said...

I was a little unsure of the molasses chocolate combo, but I did enjoy these cookies. Glad you did, too. They look great, Nancy.

Becky said...

good observations about the molasses. and i agree, it did pull everything together and made them a unique cookie.

i did figs, craisins and raisins in mine. next time i want to do just figs.

hope you'll join me next week for burnt sugar ice cream. it's delicious!

Jayne said...

Beautiful job! I love your notes! I used a mixture of nuts and chips in mine and loved the fact that every bite was different, and every combination worked, at least in this house.

Ashley said...

These cookies definitely had a lot of flavor! I too was a little skeptical at first, but glad I gave them a shot. Yum!

spike. said...

Glad they worked for you, molasses and all! I didn't know so many people disliked molasses until reading posts today!

Kayte said...

When you said that you weren't going to use chocolate in all of them, I wondered why, so now that little mystery is cleared up. Your cookies look great...I made them like the recipe (well, I cheated and used all butter as I don't do the shortening thing), and the guys inhaled them and asked for more. I would say we have another winner.

sarahe said...

they look wonderful,and golden raisins and currants sound like they would be amazing

Clivia said...

You've made me want to try the recipe without chocolate now. but that's taking away my safety net. Glad you also got "the full experience!"

Jules Someone said...

I think skipping the chocolate is just wrong. Mine spread too much. Yours look yummy!

Tia said...

molasses don't get enough praise. nice analogy with the 'team player' thing

Mary Ann said...

I really liked these too, but couldn't really taste the molasses when the bite of cookie had a piece of chocolate in it.
I might have to try them again without chocolate to see if I get a better molasses result.
They look yummy.

Valerie said...

Your cookies look tasty! I love how Dorie offers so many variations on her recipes, She always allows us to get in touch with out inner pastry chef.

TeaLady said...

These were open to a lot of variation. Next time less fruit, but loved the molasses/nuts/coconut and oatmeal in them.

(And no white chocolate!!!)

Cathy said...

I thought about leaving out the chocolate from these too, but ended up loving the whole mix. I just have to accept it - I can't question it, because this combo still makes no sense to me on paper. Glad you all enjoyed these too! They look beautiful!

Teanna said...

It's great to hear that you loved the cookies that featured it all! Your cookies look absolutely delicious! And I am SO sorry I wasn't able to comment on the Swedish visiting cake, but THANK YOU for picking it because it was absolutely DELICIOUS! And again, I am so sorry I was a week late! I felt horrible!

Carol Peterman said...

I used a 72% chocolate and it didn't work with the molasses, so your call on using a light chocolate was a good one. I had forgotten about the Chocolate Gingerbread, which I thought was great, but the combo didn't work for me here.

Jessica said...

I love that there are so many possible variations too! I would like to try a non-chocolate version, but I think my husband would veto that idea :)

Erin@The Sweet Life said...

They look delicious! The molasses was great in these...I was afraid that it might be overwhelming, but it was just right.

Flourchild said...

Very nice cookies! I loved this recipe! Im glad you enjoyed them too.

Di said...

I was surprised by the lack of spices in this recipe, too. I'd like to try them with some ginger added; I think it would be good with the fruit and chocolate. I don't like chocolate and cinnamon together, but for some reason ginger and chocolate works for me. After reading your comment about the milder chocolate, I wonder how they would be with milk chocolate rather than dark.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

yes, the molasses did a lot of good things to these cookies. i'm glad i used it. yours look wonderful!

Marthe said...

Funny how much darker your cookies are compared to mine, it must be the molasses! I used golden syrup instead

Meg said...

Glad you liked the cookies! I agree that the chocolate was a winner in these!

Jess said...

Glad you liked them after all! I barely noticed the molasses, but I'm sure the cookies would have tasted very different without it.

Piggy said...

I like the flexibility of this cookies recipe too. Yours looks great!

Lauren said...

These cookies look wonderful! I recently received the Happiness 101 award, and I would love to pass it along to you! You can see more details on my blog.

Barbara said...

This sounds like a great cookie, Nancy. I don't think I would have tried them if I hadn't read your post. Now I'll put them on my "make it" list. They seem like a great Christmas cookie.

Jencrafted said...

Your cookies look fabulous. I love molasses. I love dark chocolate, in fact any kind of chocolate. So I had both in my cookies. Loved it!

Tracey said...

They look terrific Nancy! I purposely included mix-ins I wouldn't like so I wouldn't be tempted but my mom raved about them. I specifically asked her about the molasses and she didn't think it was too overpowering, which definitely had me concerned too. Glad these were a hit!