When Are Cookies Like Brownies? When They Are Clinton Street Brookies

Is it a brownie or a cookie? It's a cookie that tastes like a brownie.
Is it a brownie or a cookie? It’s a cookie that tastes like a brownie.

You know that delightful crackly, papery layer that forms and separates from the top of brownies when you bake them, adding a fabulous textural contrast to the cakey or chewy foundation below?

That’s exactly what you get in cookie form with these “Clinton Street Brookies.”

They bake up fairly flat and modest in size. So you’re taken aback at the unexpected colossal chocolate taste they provide that’s as deep, dark and potently rich as your favorite dark chocolate brownie.

The recipe for these stunners is from “Rose’s Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with More Than 600 Step-by-Step Photos” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by baking doyenne Rose Levy Beranbaum, veteran of more than 10 cookbooks and creator of the blog, Real Baking with Rose.

As the title implies, these 100 recipes tried and true favorites that have been refined to a perfect pitch. Each recipe includes measurements in weight, volume and imperial amounts. Each also has step-by-step photos, as well as — what I always appreciate — recommendations on how to best store what you make.

Enjoy everything from “Rose’s Chocolate Chip Cookies” (made with browned butter), “Japanese Milk Bread,” and “Glazed Mocha Chiffon Cake” to “Chocolate Cream Pie,” “Pizza Rosa,” and “Apple Cider Cake Doughnuts.”

“Clinton Street Brookies” are adapted from the ones in the “Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook,” which were created by that New York bakery’s former pastry chef Ernie Rich.

Because they are flat, you get the optimum ratio of chewy interior to crackly, papery top.
Because they are flat, you get the optimum ratio of chewy interior to crackly, papery top.

Like making brownies, the cookies require melting chocolate with oil and butter over a double boiler before flour, eggs and sugar are added.

This extremely soft dough that’s almost like pudding in texture needs to be chilled in the freezer before being scooped out.

The cookies bake up chewy and soft.

This holiday season, spoil yourself with one — or two or three — still a little warm from the oven. You can thank me later. Happy holidays!

Go for it.
Go for it.

Clinton Street Brookies

(Makes about 24 cookies)

1 2/3 cups dark chocolate, 60 percent to 62 percent cacao, coarsely chopped, divided

1 tablespoons canola or safflower oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus 1/2 tablespoon bleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3/4 cup, firmly packed light Muscovado or dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate: Thirty minutes to 1 hour ahead, melt half of the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the container touch the water), with a silicone spatula, stir together 1/3 cup of the chocolate, the oil, and the butter. Heat the mixture, stirring often, until the chocolate is fully melted. Remove it from the heat and let it cool until room temperature.

Into a medium bowl, weight or measure the eggs.

Make the dough: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the eggs and whisk until combined. Use the whisk to fold in the melted chocolate mixture.

With a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the flour mixture until evenly combined. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate.

Chill the dough: Line a shallow pan, such as a quarter sheet pan or pie plate, with plastic wrap and lightly coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Scrape the dough into the pan; the dough will be very soft. Cover it with another coated sheet of plastic wrap and set it in the frezer for about 15 minutes, or until it is firm enough to scoop.

Shape the dough: Using a 1 1/2-inch-diamater cookie scoop, make 12 level scoops of dough and drop them 2 inches apart onto a nonstick cookie sheet or one lined with parchment or nonstick liner. You can use a small metal spatula to help the sticky dough release from the scoop. (Alternatively, use 2 teaspoons to drop and mound the dough.) The mounds will be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If the kitchen is hot and the dough becomes very soft, return it to the freezer to firm for about 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies: Bake for 5 minutes. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheet halfway around. Continue baking for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the tops are dry and cracked. When pressed lightly on top they should give slightly, and feel firm around the edges but still a little soft all over the top.

While the first batch of cookies is baking, shape the dough for the second batch.

Cool the cookies: Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 3 minutes, until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Use a thin pancake turner to lift the cookies onto another wire rack.

Store airtight at room temperature, 4 days; refrigerated, 1 week; frozen, 2 months.

From “Rose’s Baking Basics” by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Bake and cool the second batch.

More Chocolate Love: Chocolate Popcorn

And: Sweet Buns with Cardamom and Chocolate

And: Double-Chocolate Honey Bread

And: Chocolate and Olive Oil Cake

And: Dark Chocolate Espresso Wake-Up Bread

And: Marbled Red Wine and Chocolate Bundt Cake

And: Soft Chocolate and Fig Cake

And: Ad Hoc Chocolate Chip Cookies

And: Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

And: Dark Chocolate Chicharron Cookies

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