The final read of the year for book club was Doc by Mary Doria Russell. A book about the infamous John "Doc" Holliday...who I had no interest in whatsoever so I decided not to read the book. And then...a phone interview was scheduled with the author and I did not want to be sitting around a table with a dunce cap on, yet again, so I read the book...and I'm SO glad I did! Not only was this a fascinating read, but it was entertaining...Russell is a great story-teller, weaving history of the Wild West, Dodge City, Wyatt Earp and a cast of other real people, with an intriguing fictional back-story...I can only say, using the author's own words, it put a shit-eating grin on my face.
And so did these cookies...they are not your average chocolate cookie...so don't waste them on the kids...these cookies are for serious chocolate lovers...chocoholics/chocotics/chocopologists...you could even call them a gateway drug - they are that good. Let's start with the toasted pecans...fragrant and lightly browned in the oven...then there's the pound of melted semi-sweet chocolate...yes, you read that right, ONE POUND of chocolate is mixed with sugar and eggs that have been beaten for five full minutes...until slow ribbons fall back into the bowl when the beaters are lifted. Heaven awaits! There is only 1/2 cup of flour in this recipe...which is why these cookies look like cow pies...they are ever so slightly crisp on the outside with a crackled and bumpy surface but inside...oh inside(!)...they are fudgy soft with an intense chocolate flavor...but hold your horses because these cookies also have semi-sweet "dark" chocolate chips and white chocolate chips, too!
Doesn't that pic almost bring you to your knees? These cookies will put the giddy back in your giddy-up - or put you in a coma - oh wait, that's just me. Which is why I had to share these cookies...I took my Cow Pies to my Literary Group...Doc Holliday himself would have appreciated these cookies as he was a cultured and schooled man, who was used to the finer things of life...classical music, good books, the best whiskey and the occasional whore...hey, it was the Wild, Wild West after all!
Make these cookies - you won't be sorry - you might be up a few pounds the next day but who isn't?! They are worth the time/money/trouble...which isn't all that much...if you love chocolate, then these cookie will be your new best friend. Amen.
Cow Pies - Pots and Pins
1 cup pecans, chopped (you could use walnuts)
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder (if you use instant coffee, make sure you crush the granules so it turns into a powder)
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (the better quality of chocolate, the better the taste!)
1/4 cup butter, cut into small chunks
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (Nestle makes these and they are goooo-ood!)
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Remove and let nuts cool, then chop coarsely.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder or instant coffee.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of electric mixer beat the sugar and eggs until pale yellow and thick, 5 full minutes. (Do not rush this, five full minutes are needed. When you raise the beater the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) Beat in the cooled melted chocolate and the vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients but only until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter just until firm, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing evenly. With moist fingers, press batter to form 3 to 3 1/2-inch rounds. (I made my cookies larger, I was envisioning a larger cow(!) so mine were about 5 inches round, you can make them any size you want, just as long as they are about 1/2-inch thick.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. The tops will be cracked and shiny. Do not over-bake or the cookies will be dry...good but dry!
Remove from oven and place baking pan on a wire rack to cool. DO NOT remove cookies from baking pan for at least 10 minutes, they need to "set". When cookies are firm, remove from baking pan and let cool completely on rack. These cookies are best the day they are made but can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days. Makes about 20 large cookies.
"If I should step in soft cow manure I would not even clean my feet on that bastard!" ~ Attributed to Lottie Deno of Ft. Griffen, Texas, in 1877, who was referring to Doc Holliday.
Just so you know, these cow pies are meant to be eaten...not stepped in.