This is a recipe coup like I haven’t celebrated in years. The last two really whoop-worthy were a particular restaurant chocolate soufflé cake that my Dear Husband adored around 1998, and my ikebana-sensei’s daughter-in-law Nori-chan’s goma dare (now that’s a mouthful) around 1989 in Osaka. Every once in a while I really can’t figure out how to recreate something at home. I get twitchy about it and can’t let it go, have to putter in the kitchen with a proverbial bee in my bonnet until it’s as good as the real McCoy. These bittersweet chocolate cookies, which are our current obsession at Rustica bakery in Minneapolis, took some guesswork and tinkering, but here they are, ready for their glass case moment (and, dare I say, even better than the originals—especially when you get to eat one straight from the oven).
These coal black cookies are seriously good. They defy description, really. They’re definitely a cookie, but they’re somehow more than a cookie. They’re intensely dark with black cocoa, and layered with large discs of Belgian dark chocolate. They’re also soft and moist in a distinctly non-cookie way, almost cookie meets flourless chocolate cake.
One Sunday morning when my Honey Girl was in Kindergarten, we were at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Tokyo at a post-service coffee. Up she marched to a woman we didn’t know but whom she had decided was rather out of sorts to reveal that if she needed some emergency chocolate, her mother always had some in her purse. If you love chocolate like I do, drop everything and bake a batch of these cookies. (Maybe even keep one or two in your purse.)
Bittersweet Chocolate Cookie Tips
Black cocoa is ultra Dutched, or alkalized. It is used to make Oreo cookies. It is available here.
Measure the cocoa powder by packing it into a cup measure and leveling it.
Measure the all purpose flour by running a whisk or fork through the flour, scooping it gently into a cup measure, and leveling it with a knife.
Cream of tartar acts to activate the baking soda in this recipe. Look for it in the spice aisle.
Belgian Belcolade bittersweet chocolate discs are available here.
Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies
Yield: about three dozen cookies
1 ¼ c. European-style butter, softened
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 ¼ c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. black cocoa
2 c. all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur.)
½ t. coarse salt
¼ t. baking soda
¼ t. cream of tartar
½ pound Belcolade chocolate discs or other high quality bittersweet chocolate pieces
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
- Add the sour cream and mix well.
- Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar and mix until incorporated.
- Stir in the chocolate discs.
- Cover the bowl with cellophane and chill it in the refrigerator, at least several hours or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, dip them in sugar, and place them on a baking sheet about three inches apart.
- One sheet at a time, bake them for five minutes. Then rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees and bake an additional five minutes.