by Mollee Bauer
There's nothing fancy about them, no drizzles of icing, no cream fillings or cookie-cutter shapes. They're unassuming, until you bite into one.
An unexpected hint of salt combines with the chocolate for an explosive burst of flavor that melts in your mouth!
The dough mixes up in a flash. You roll it into logs and chill until a convenient time to bake them up. Then, slice the logs into rounds and within minutes, your home has that comforting home-baked chocolate cake smell.
They're great as a make-ahead dessert or to take along for a potluck or cookie exchange.
Chocolate butter cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 2 hours | Yield: 3 dozen cookies
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-size bits
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together and set aside.
In a medium mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until they're combined. The dough will look crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a 1-inch diameter log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least one hour or up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350 F. and enter a rack in the oven.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a thin-bladed knife, slice 1/2-inch thick rounds and place on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. If a cookie breaks, just squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the circle.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time, for 12 minutes. They will not be firm. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest, on the baking sheet, until they cool to room temperature. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.
The dough can be made ahead and either chilled or frozen for up to a month. In fact, if you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking, just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.