Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies

by Laura on February 18, 2011

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.)

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kris Jacobson February 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm

What a cute story!

2 Haley March 12, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hallelujiah! You don’t know how long I’ve been looking for this recipe! Trying it tomorrow. Thanks so much.

3 Laura March 13, 2011 at 7:59 am

So, did Rustica publish their recipe somewhere? I would love to compare my recipe for their cookies with the real McCoy. If you ever stumble on it again, please let me know!

4 Haley March 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Did you buy black cocoa powder somewhere in the Twin Cities? If so, where? I couldn’t find it at Whole Foods or Kowalski’s.

5 Laura March 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I couldn’t find it locally. I ordered it online from King Arthur Flour. Here’s a link: You can get the Belgian chocolate discs from them, too. (*They haven’t paid me to say this!)

6 Kristina June 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

I have been trying to figure out how to replicate the Rustica recipe for sooo long! Thank you for posting this – I’ll give it a try ASAP.

7 Laura June 10, 2011 at 7:15 am

Hope you like it. Happy to have helped a fellow Ole!

8 Carey October 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Hi Laura!
Your t. I assume stands for teaspoon(tsp.) NOT tablespoon (Tbs.)
Thanks much!

9 Laura October 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Yes! Little t, teaspoon. Big T, tablespoon.

10 Dan January 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

What are your thoughts about freezing some of the dough in balls to defrost and bake a small batch later?

11 Laura January 4, 2012 at 7:58 am

I would think that would work well. Wrap the dough well before freezing and allow it to come to room temperature before baking.

12 nicole July 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Thank you! I love these cookies and can’t get them locally!

13 Laura July 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I’m going to tweak the recipe again soon. I think they use Callebaut chocolate chunks now–at least that’s my best guess.

14 Lisa Larson September 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thank you , thank you ! I adore these cookies and was hoping to find a similar recipe! I am so delighted to have found your site, I have been reading it for an hour now and don’t want to stop. You have a beautiful way of writing about food, life and minnesota, all things dear to my heart. I am getting off the couch to bake some cookies now and am hoping to have a batch ready when my sweet boy gets home from school!I can’t wait to make everything on this site, and I look forward to your next writings……….

15 Laura September 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Oh, thank you so much! That is so kind of you and so touching to me. I think the best cookie on the site is my Grandma Fladeboe’s ginger cookies. The bittersweet chocolate are on my list to tweak one more time.

16 Margo Broehl December 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

The batter is delicious–but we could not get the cookies off the parchment. We tried when they were cool; we tried when they were hot…no luck either way. We scraped crumbs we will use for something else. And, since we doubled the recipe, there is a lot of batter left, which we are going to use for black bottom cupcakes. But what did we do wrong??
Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the recipe. I would love to do it right!

17 Laura December 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

Margo, Hmmm, that is a mystery. I can’t seem to find an answer for you in any of my books, and without being there next to you as you bake I can’t tell what you might have done differently. So many things might have affected outcome: oven temperature, ingredients, the way you measure and mix. I’m so sorry the recipe was a flop for you.

18 Greg December 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I just took a swing at these over the weekend for a holiday cookie exchange at my office. I did it on short notice and so didn’t have time to get black cocoa and used Valrhona instead.
The results are delicious, but they don’t hold together as well as the Rustica cookie. The dough pools or “flares” easily at the bottom and gives the cookies a brittle bottom edge (I see evidence of this in your photos too), while the Rustica cookie is chewier, with firm, rounded edges. Also, in the Rustica cookie there is still a clear “cookie dough” flavor of egg, butter, and sugar—possibly brown sugar—whereas this recipe was more hit-you-over-the-head chocolately.
I doubt my coworkers will complain, but with the remnants of my Valrhona powder I think I’ll try some adjustment to the recipe so the cookies are less delicate and more chewy. I’d like it if they were better travelers.

19 Laura December 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Greg, Thank you for the feedback. This recipe has been on my list to tweak. I’ll repost when I do. Let me know if you rework the recipe with better results.

20 Shay December 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

Wondering which are better. These or the midnight chocolate cookies….
Hubs and I are planning to bake on Christmas Eve.

21 Laura December 18, 2012 at 11:16 am

Shay, I think the midnight chocolate cookies–definitely. Happy baking and Merry Christmas!

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