Chocolate Chunk Cookies With — Wait For It — Chicharrones
Chocolate chunk cookies studded with bacon? Yawn. Been there. Ate that.
But have your teeth ever sunk into “Dark Chocolate Chicharron Cookies”?
Nope, didn’t think so.
I know mine sure hadn’t until I spied the recipe for them in the new cookbook, “Eat Mexico: Recipes From Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy.
The cookbook is by Lesley Tellez, a New York City culinary guide and creator of the blog, The Mija Chronicles, who immersed herself in Mexican cooking when she lived in Mexico City for four years. The beautiful photos are by my former San Jose Mercury News colleague, Penny De Los Santos.
The book includes recipes for favorite Mexican street food such as “Roasted Poblano Pepper Tamales,” “Thickened Mexican Hot Chocolate,” and “Shrimp and Octopus Cocktail.” But where I think the book really shines is in the last chapter, “At Home,” in which Tellez incorporates Mexican flair into unexpected dishes such as “Oatmeal with Charred Poblano Peppers and Cheese” and “Stuffed Cactus Paddles,” which are reminiscent of loaded potato skins.
That last chapter is also where you’ll find this cookie recipe.
It’s a straightforward chocolate chunk cookie recipe — until you get to the addition of the pork rinds. As Tellez notes in the book, you can find them easily at Mexican markets. For this recipe, you’ll want ones that are meatless. Well, unless you want your cookie to double as an entree, too.
I used the fabulous 4505 Kettle Cooked-Style Chicharrones made by San Francisco’s meat maestro, Ryan Farr. Fried in lard, they are extremely airy and crisp. The recipe calls for 1 cup of crumbled chicharrones, which is about one 8-ounce bag of the 4505 one. Find them at select Whole Foods and other retailers.
You won’t necessarily bite into this cookie and exclaim: “A-hah! Pork rinds!”
The taste is more subtle than that. Crisp on the edges and chewy-soft in the center, it’s a rich cookie that tastes primarily of dark chocolate. But as you chew, you will discover bits of crisp-chewiness with a hint of salt. Those are the pork rinds. They are less discernible than bacon would be. In fact, you might not figure out what they are until someone spills the beans to you.
My husband, who tends to prefer basic, classic cookies, would opt for the cookies without the chicharrones added.
Me? I definitely think they can be made without them. But they certainly are a fun and novel accent sure to get people talking.
Dark Chocolate Chicharron Cookies
(Makes about 32 cookies)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
1 cup crumbled chicharron (pork cracklings)
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the eggs and both sugars until light and fluffy and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Lower the speed, and mix in the butter and vanilla until well combined.
Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the dry mixture into the wet until just combined. Gently stir in the chocolate and chicharron, being careful not to over-mix.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop the cookies by mounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges just start to brown and the middles are still soft.
Let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cooking Tips: To crumble the chicharron, if it’s very hard, place in a plastic bag and whack it with a meat pounder or frying pan.
The cookies taste best if you chill the dough overnight in the fridge — resting allows the dough to develop more flavor. The baked cookies will keep for 4 days in an airtight container.
From “Eat Mexico” by Lesley Tellez
More Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes to Try: Ad Hoc Chocolate Chip Cookies by Thomas Keller