ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Whoppers,” from Fosters restaurant and their cookbook by Sarah Foster. They credit the SoHo Charcuterie*
TIMING: 1/2 hour, plus more for more batches
DIFFICULTY: A little difficult, to be honest
TOOLS: A very thin metal spatula and a cooling rack. Also, a stand mixer helps
COOK TYPE: Oven
HEALTH: Well, dark chocolate is sorta good for you, which is the main ingredient in these cookies. Also, if you opt for the nuts–which I suggest you do–there is the healthfulness of nuts, as well. There is some sugar, a little flour, and a whole lotta caffeine. Not the worst cookie you could eat (unless you are sensitive to caffeine (and incidentally I am)). Please try to get chocolate that is conscientiously sourced.
EXPERIENCE: We have the joy of living in the same town were Sara Foster–the made-famous-by-being-Oprah’s-chef lady–has her two restaurants. One of them is in Durham, where we live. The other is in Chapel Hill near where we had both our babies at the Birth Center. I mention the latter because both times after delivering my very obstinate babies, I sent someone up to Fosters to replenish my drained resources with a breakfast burrito. I crave Fosters Caesar Salad and I very much enjoy many things on their menu. Two of my favorite things (which I discovered when they catered meals into the doctors’ office I worked in years ago) are their two most popular cookies: Coconut Macaroons and Whoppers.
The Whoppers are–as the name implies–huge cookies with sort of an interesting airy, light, tender thing going on, delicately crispy on the outside, and intensely chocolatey. Studded inside this cloud of a cookie are chocolate chips and walnuts. Despite that I do not like nuts in my baked goods, I will happily devour a dark chocolate Whopper.
So I made a trip to the library and found the recipes in the Fosters cookbook for both the Coconut Macaroons and the Whoppers. The Macaroons (the kind that are severely coconut-y, sweet, dense, and sticky) are basically of the variety of food where you follow the recipe and you get the result. The Whoppers, on the other hand, take some serious finessing. In fact, I have had some very successful batches and some that were a big, fat flop. (The messes are just as delicious as the impressive-looking cookies, but if you are looking to take them somewhere or give them away, make sure you have enough time to atone for your kitchen sins.)
I will try to walk you through this the best I can because, despite their delicacy, they are really very good and quite impressive when executed well.
NOTE: We call them Brownie Cookies because that is pretty much what they are.
I include nuts in the recipe. You could remove them (like if your kids throw a fit over a nut in a cookie) or–as I am tempted to do next time–experiment with making the nuts into a sort of meal. This may flatten the cookie, or it may successfully hide the nuts. We’ll see. I really recommend leaving the nuts in, as the body of the cookie suffers without them.
This does not make a ton of cookies. You may want to double it, but be ready to fork over some cash for lots of chocolate.
I do not recommend using a whole grain flour here. A pastry flour may work nicely, however.
- Preheat your oven to 325F and grease your baking sheet(s). I use coconut oil or canned nonstick spray.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan or double boiler, melt 6 oz semisweet chocolate, 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, and 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, stirring over low-medium heat. Set aside.
- Mix (with a stand mixer or hand mixer) together 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until combined. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and cream until thick.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together 1/3 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Add chocolate to the egg mixture and mix until incorporated. Slowly add in flour mixture just until everything is wet.
- Gently fold in 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 2 cups chopped pecans or pecan meal.
- Drop tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet, leaving room for spread, and bake immediately for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, check for doneness. This is not easy to do, as the cookies should still be gooey, but you want the outside to be set and the inside to not be runny. After cooling for about 10 minutes, remove cookies to a supportive cooling rack to cool completely.
Serve with a cup of cold milk.
*Recipe has been changed from the original.