Oregon’s cookie is chocolate to the max: chocolate shortbread with bittersweet chocolate chunks, dipped in more bittersweet chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and chopped hazelnuts.
I ended up skipping a week of baking because I was busy pricing and sorting for a town-wide yard sale we participated in. But these cookies were worth the wait.
There’s something about dark chocolate that just makes eating it an overpoweringly rich experience, and I mean that in a good way. Somehow it’s more satisfying than milk chocolate. One really good piece of dark chocolate, and I’m sated. Milk chocolate just leaves me wanting more of it (I bet it’s the sugar). Don’t get me wrong: I love all chocolates, and some flavor combos do better with milk chocolate (I’m looking at you, peanut butter). But dark is my favorite.
I elected to chop the chocolate with a knife instead of the bench scraper. Honestly, I’ve never found the bench scraper to be a good chocolate chopper in the first place: too blunt.
Hazelnuts are too round to chop with a knife without lots of frustration, so I broke out the mini food processor again.
After chilling (overnight, though the recipe said an hour I ended up getting waylaid by life and had to come back the next day) the dough was pretty crumbly, especially in the one log I managed to roll while maintaining an air pocket inside of it. I also chopped it with my bench scraper instead of with a knife, which I used for the second log. The more rugged-looking finished products are from the bench scraper, the smoother topped ones from the knife.
These were rich, chocolately and satisfying before dipping in chocolate, but you gotta get those hazelnuts on (they weren’t incorporated in). Instead of the microwave method most of these recipes (including this one) recommend, and I’m often lazy enough to do, I did a double boiler. I do this because instead of using microwaves to heat the water in the chocolate, this applies heat from outside and you can do a slower, easier to control melt. Not only are you less likely to seize it up, the chocolate ends up being nice and runny to work with, and if you keep the temperature low enough you won’t break its temper and instead of having to temper it again yourself, you’ll have the nice shiny chocolate that sets well and has the satisfying snap. This is of course easier to do with the bar baking chocolate that is made to melt, rather than the chocolate chips that are meant to hold their shape better.
Overall impressions: YUM. These are chocolate upon chocolate. The salt does an excellent job of keeping me from being overwhelmed by it. Hazelnuts are amazing. I would love to incorporate them into the dough but it was very stiff dough to begin with and I’m surprised I even managed to incorporate the chocolate chunks. An option would be to swap the chocolate chunks out for the nuts, but then you lose the chunks. If you think there’s one chocolate thing too much, you might consider it.
Next time: Pennsylvania brings us Cranberry Walnut Sand Tart Cookies, which look very simple and lovely. These will actually have to be chilled overnight, so I’ll plan ahead. They take a whole frickin’ pound of butter o__O