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.