These cookies are dark and full of magic and soothing properties, totally Witch-y, or dark and mysterious and dangerous like every single male character on 'Pretty Little Liars', which I don't watch regularly but sometimes things HAPPEN and you find yourself really wondering about Aria. They are the cookies I turn to when I want a hit of proper, indulgent, 'I am soothing myself with something delicious' intensity. They're as big as my outstretched hand, salty, sweet, and Canadian.
Like Justin Bieber, circa 2009.
This Summer was just like last summer, but completely different, and not just because of the cookies. For the first time in my life, the sun gave me natural highlights, revealing that Surfer destiny. I was challenged and dared. And what can you do but thank those seasons that reveal your weak spots, humble you, and then give you gifts that you can hardly even imagine having asked for, not even in your wildest, you know? Here you go, the Universe says, You get to shit yourself in front of many new and exciting people. Every day of my life this Summer was a 'Dear Sugar' column. Every damn day of it.
I remember, in my youth, thinking that there would be a point where life would drop the anchor. That you'd be granted the right to stagnancy, in the best way possible. Your Adult traits would have solidified, cured, and you would be fully formed. Now, in the ignorance of my advanced age, I am amazed at the buoyancy, the continual movement towards Who Knows What. There is no time to drop anchor, shore up. We are on the move, and isn't the horizon beautiful.
I cannot wait to see where your sails take you. Send a message in a bottle when you get where you're going, and I'll do the same.
But make these, too. You'll need the sustenance.
Those Damn Cookies (Tacofino's Chocolate Diablo Cookies, Neutered)
Like Julie, I often omit the Cayenne. I also use powdered ginger when I don't have fresh, which is almost all the time. I use some butter as well as the oil, because I like butter in a cookie, and a little extra vegetable oil because my dough almost always needs it. I prefer chocolate chunks in these, though chips are just fine. Basically, you're not going to mess them up, they're delicious, they'll get you into trouble and you'll be ever thankful for such an honor .
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil (start with 1/4 cup, though I usually use closer to 1/2)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Cocoa Powder (I use a blend of half-Dutch, half-Regular)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 cup chopped and chunked Milk Chocolate, plus extra for 'decoration'
Sugar and Kosher Salt, for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix together both Sugars, Flour, Cocoa, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, and Ginger. Toss in the chunked Milk Chocolate, and toss to coat.
In a small jug, measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the Eggs, Butter, Oil, Vanilla. Dump the wet into the dry, and using all your might, stir until you have a sandy, incorporated 'dough' that resembles the beginnings of a Graham Cracker Crust. It might look pebbly, it might look like a mess, that is so fine. What you want is uniformity in color - if there are still large pockets of unincorporated dry ingredients, or the dough just isn't holding together at all when squeezed, dribble in a little more vegetable oil, Tablespoon by Tablespoon (don't exceed 1/2 a cup, total, of vegetable oil) until you've got it together. Literally.
Now: I've found that if you have the time and patience, a 15 minute rest on the counter does wonders for the texture of these cookies. So walk away, clean up, do something. Then come back. The dough will look no different.
Using a standard ice cream scoop, or 1/4 cup measure, pack the dough into mounds and drop on an ungreased, light-colored half-sheet pan or cookie sheet. Use your palm or two fingers to flatten each cookie slightly, and stud the top of each with a couple of extra shards of chocolate. Scatter with a pinch of kosher salt, a sweep of granulated sugar, and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until cracked and fudgey. Remove, let cool on the pan for two minutes, or until they're moveable to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely.
Enjoy. They're really something. And so are you.