Double Chocolate Oriolos
At this time of year, you can never have too many chocolate cookies.
I stand by that thought unequivocally.
While versions of this chocolate-frosted, chocolate cookie abound, these particular “Double Chocolate Oriolos” are more modest in size, making them a perfect treat to indulge in without overindulging.
The recipe is from “The Cookie Bible” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy, by legendary New York baker Rose Levy Beranbaum.
The collection includes recipes for cookies of every sort: drop, cut-out, bars, sandwiches, chocolate-dipped, and more.
There’s everything from “Tahini Crisps,” “Double Ginger Molasses,” and “Cranberry Sconettes” to “Strudel Cookies,” “Candied Pineapple Biscotti,” and “Peanut Butter Financiers.”
Levy Beranbaum named these crisp, light cookies for her friend Richard Oriolo, the art director of many of her cookbooks, who couldn’t resist them.
Like many of the recipes in the book, Levy Beranbaum gives directions for making them in both a food processor (faster) and a stand mixer (easier to get the dough out of the bowl). I went with the food processor method, which worked just great.
The cookie gets intense chocolate flavor from a generous amount of cocoa powder in the dough, and a nice nuttiness from toasted walnuts that are ground and mixed in.
The resulting dough is quite sticky. Levy Beranbaum recommends placing the dough in a plastic bag to get it to hold together. But I found I didn’t need to do that, as the dough already came together enough in the food processor. You might find the same.
A scant tablespoon of dough is rolled into a ball, then the bottom of a flat glass is pressed into sugar and used to flatten the dough ball on the cookie sheet. The recipe stated to set aside 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to dip the glass into. I found this was way more than necessary. I think you really need only about 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar for this purpose, so that’s what I changed it to in the recipe below.
The recipe states to bake these cookies for a total of 20 to 25 minutes, which I found was far too long for ones that are fairly thin and only about 2 inches in diameter. Because the dough is so dark from the cocoa powder, it’s not easy to tell when the cookies are done, but I found that baking them for 7 to 8 minutes, rotating the pan, then allowing them to bake another 3 minutes worked well, so I noted that in the recipe below. You want the cookies to be firm enough so they’ll hold up to being frosted, but not so overdone that a bitterness develops.
After the cookies cool, smear them on top with chocolate buttercream, made by melting dark chocolate and stirring in butter, vanilla extract, and a touch of corn syrup.
You’ll want to be a little stingy with the frosting on the cookies because the buttercream recipe makes a small amount. Either that or make another half or full batch of frosting to be able to spread it on liberally.
Top each frosted cookie with chopped, toasted walnuts for a pretty effect. The buttercream adds a festive touch, along with a creaminess in contrast to the crunchy cookie base.
It’s chocolate on chocolate — a cookie that doubles down on deliciousness.
Double Chocolate Oriolos
(Makes about 34 cookies)
For the dough:
125 grams (1 1/4 cups) walnut halves, divided
142 grams (10 tablespoons or 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
67 grams (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
38 grams (1/3 cup lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) powdered sugar
24 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted before measuring) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
110 grams (3/4 cup lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off, plus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
33 to 50 grams (1/4 to 1/3 cup) granulated sugar, for pressing down the dough balls
For chocolate buttercream with walnuts:
42 grams (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
85 grams (3 ounces) dark chocolate, 60 percent to 62 percent cacao
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
75 grams (2/3 cup) chopped walnuts in reserve, for topping
Preheat the oven: Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 325 degrees.
Toast and chop the walnuts: Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Turn the walnuts onto a clean dish towel and roll and rub them around to loosen the skins. Discard any loose skins, and cool completely.
Chop the walnuts medium-coarse. Reserve 75 grams (3/4 cup) in a small bowl for sprinkling on the cookies.
For the food processor method: Thirty minutes ahead or longer, cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Wrap and refrigerate.
For the stand mixer method: Thirty minutes ahead or longer, cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and set on the counter to soften.
Make the dough with food processor method: In a food processor, process the 50 grams (1/2 cup) walnuts, the sugars, and cocoa until the walnuts are finely ground.
Add the butter and pulse until the nut mixture is absorbed by the butter.
Add the flour and pulse it in until there are a lot of little moist crumbly pieces and no dry flour particles remain.
Make the dough with stand mixer method: Finely grind the walnuts in a spice mill with a little of the granulated sugar, or use a rotary nut grinder.
Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, sift the cocoa. Add the ground nuts and the (remaining) sugars, and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, until evenly mixed.
Add the butter and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy.
On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
For both food processor and stand mixer methods: (Note: If your dough already has come together well, you may find this next step unnecessary.) Empty the dough into a plastic bag and press it from the outside of the bag just until it holds together.
Remove the dough from the plastic bag and place it on a very large sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, knead the dough only a few times, jut until it becomes one smooth piece.
Divide the dough into thirds (about 143 grams each). Wrap two of the pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate them while you roll the first piece.
Shape the dough: In a small bowl or large custard cup, place the sugar for pressing down the dough balls.
Measure out 12 pieces of dough (1 scant tablespoon or about 12 grams each). Roll each piece of dough between the palms of your hands to form a 1-inch ball. Place the balls a minimum of 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Spray the bottom of a flat glass tumbler with nonstick cooking spray. Press it into the sugar and then use it to flatten a dough ball to a disc about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Recoat the tumbler with sugar before flattening each of the remaining dough balls.
Bake the cookies: Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway around. Continue baking for 3 more minutes, or until the cookies are firm enough to lift from the sheet but still soft when pressed lightly on top.
While each batch of cookies is baking, shape the dough for the next batch, then bake once the previous batch is done.
Cool the cookies: Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 2 minutes, or until firm enough to lift from the cookie sheet. Use a thin pancake turner to transfer the cookies to another wire rack. Cool completely.
Make the buttercream: Thirty minutes ahead, cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Set on the counter to soften slightly.
Chop the chocolate into coarse pieces. In a small microwavable bowl, heat the chocolate, stirring every 15 seconds with a silicone spatula, until almost completely melted (or heat 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 — stirring often until almost completely melted).
Remove the chocolate from the heat source and stir until fully melted.
Add the butter to the melted chocolate 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until blended. If the butter is not warm enough and does not incorporate, scrape the mixture into the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering water (do not microwave) and stir briefly just until incorporated; remove from the heat. Stir in the corn syrup and vanilla extract.
Let the buttercream stand at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until thick enough to spread.
Compose the cookies: Use a small metal spatula to spread buttercream over the cookies. Don’t spread too thick of a layer or else you may run out of buttercream before frosting all the cookies. Sprinkle the reserved walnuts on top.
Let the topping set for a few hours or overnight at room temperature; or refrigerate for 30 minutes, before storing the cookies.
To store cookies: Without buttercream, airtight at room temperature, 3 weeks; frozen, 6 months. With buttercream, airtight at room temperature, 1 day; frozen, 6 months.
Adapted from “The Cookie Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Another Rose Levy Beranbaum Recipe to Try: Clinton Street Brookies