There has long been a sweet little cafe in Seattle called Macrina Bakery. It has a few outposts now, and any of them are fortunate places to find yourself at lunchtime or when you need an afternoon pick-me-up. Or for breakfast, of course. Or whenever. Freshly baked breads, good coffee, great pastries, a handful of equally decadent savory options to round out the offerings. And lucky for us, they published a cookbook.
I was in search of a unique chocolate chip cookie. Do yourself a favor and don’t waste time idly Google-ing “unique chocolate chip cookie.” Sometimes the internet is useful, and sometimes it’s not. I needed a cookbook.
My cookbook collection is largely geared toward the savory side of life, it turns out. What are your favorite baking books? I picked up one of the few I own, Leslie Mackie’s Macrina cookbook, and luckily it came through for me.
Chopped bittersweet chocolate and dried apricots certainly contribute generously to this cookie’s appeal. But there’s another deeper, darker secret: the mere half teaspoon of finely ground espresso. It lends a rich, difficult-to-place depth to the cookie’s flavor, firmly cementing its status as THE unique chocolate chip cookie I was looking for.
One friendly tip. The recipe instructs you to chill the dough before baking it. That is not the kind of thing I like to do. If you know me, you know that I do everything at the last minute, which means that when I make cookies they are going straight into the oven because I need them to be ready ten minutes from now. But in the spirit of experimentation, I also set aside a bit of dough and baked it the next day. The cookies were even better. The flavor was a bit more caramelized, deeper. The original cookies were good. The chilled batch was amazing.
So hey, what’s your favorite baking book? I like easy, unfussy, not insanely decadent. I can certainly recommend the Macrina cookbook (and not just on the strength of this recipe; I’ve made some others, and had still others made for me, all great). I also love Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, and I am looking forward to pulling that one out more come summertime.
Bittersweet Chocolate and Dried Apricot Cookies: In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. finely ground espresso beans, 10 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate, and 3/4 c. finely diced unsulfured dried apricots. Cream 8 oz. (2 sticks) butter with 3/4 c. granulated sugar and 3/4 c. light brown sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add 2 eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla, scraping down the bowl as you go. Add half of dry ingredients, mix until incorporated, then add other half and repeat. Refrigerate the dough for one hour (or up to 4 days) if you can possibly wait. Roll into 1″ balls, flatten slightly, and bake 8-10 minutes on parchment-lined sheets at 350, until the edges are golden brown.
Oh wow! What an interesting combination – I’ve never seen this before, it sounds truly delicious.
It is! I’m not always a fan of dried apricots, but their tang is perfect here with the chocolate.
What a great combination of flavors. And thank you for the tip to make sure you chill the dough for better results.
You bet! I always try to take shortcuts but some things are worth the wait. :)
Ha – yes, I’m not one for cookie dough in the ‘frige “overnight,” either! Overnight?! I want my cookie in 8-12 minutes! I love this combination – never, ever would have come up with it!
Vegan version: dried apricots dipped in chocolate. :) I have never made those, but I’m tempted after these cookies! Then eat them with a cup of espresso for the magic I was talking about up above. :)
Ooooh – I like the way you think ;-)!!
I love dried apricots in cookies! Usually I put them in oatmeal cookies–but this combination with chocolate and espresso sounds intriguing! I may have to make some of these pretty much immediately. :)
Dried apricots would be great in oatmeal cookies! I don’t know why I’ve never thought to bake with them before.
Do I have to name just one? Alice Medrich’s books are great with really interesting techniques. Dorie Greenspan’s are always reliable (I particularly like Paris Sweets). I use the Tartine Cookbook a good bit. Some of the best cookies I’ve made in recent years came from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. I love my old Maida Heatter books. Oh and your cookies look great! Now if I can just find some good American dried apricots (difficult around here for reasons I don’t understand), I’m definitely going to have to give them a try!
Wow, that’s a lot of options. I am going to have to take this list to the bookstore and flip through them all. Would you say that one of these stands out as having simple recipes? I like easy peasy. :)
Chocolate and dried apricots sounds like an incredible combination for a cookie!
I agree: sometimes the internet is useful for recipes, sometimes it just pulls up something like “Sifty Sal’s Gal Pal Low-Fat ‘Chocolate’ Chip Crackers.” Not helpful.
I think that’s why I like the Eat Your Books site.
You can make an electronic index of all of the cookbooks that you own just by inputting the titles of the books. You can then search them online, easily, or search other cookbooks that you might be interested in owning. They don’t really index the recipes themselves (you still need to look in the book), but it can tell you at a glance what books might have what you might be looking for.
They even index some of the blogs.
(I’m not paid by Eat Your Books, I just find it incredibly useful!)
I think you should develop the recipe you named above. Maybe for next April Fools Day. :)
Thanks for the eatyourbooks recommendation! I once looked at that site and loved the idea but didn’t do it for some reason and then completely forgot about it. But now that you’ve reminded me about it, it will probably be life changing. Setting that up is going on my to-do list, which is going on this tiny scrap of paper, which is going right here in this pile on my desk….
Just kidding. I wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it to my laptop. It’ll happen. I’ll report back. Thanks!
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