An Extra Bittersweet Goodbye

On Tuesday I had to say goodbye to Joe, the honors paralegal I've been working with who is heading off to Cornell Law School next month. I decided to bake up a batch of New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies for his send off.

Because I have a large supply of Callebaut extra bittersweet chocolate discs on hand, I decided to use them in the cookies. This chocolate (which I purchased last month at Surfas when I was in LA) is 70.4% cocoa solids, which is pretty darn bitter, and pretty much the limit of what a normal person could stand to consume straight. While I bought this chocolate intending to use it in applications where it would be melted, I still thought it was worth it to give it a try as chocolate chips in a cookie. I mixed up the cookie batter on Saturday afternoon and kept it in the refrigerator until I baked the cookies on Monday night.

I've never had this particular cookie recipe produce cookies that were so beautiful. Each one was perfectly round, with a slightly crackled deep golden brown top studded with lots of chocolate. Upon breaking open a cookie, it was evident that unlike regular chocolate chips -- which are meant to keep their shape in the oven -- these chips melted easily (as they should, for other baking applications) and the chips in the interior of the cookies had flattened into little flat slabs of chocolate. I think that this is one reason that the cookies maintained their shape so well during baking.

Besides being the best-looking cookies I have ever made from this recipe, I think they may have also been the tastiest. They had the perfect texture of a slightly crisp outside with a dense soft center, and a rich and deep caramel flavor. The flavor of the extra bittersweet chocolate was mild in the finished cookie and worked marvelously with the sweetness of the batter and the salt sprinkled on top.

I'm glad this cookie turned out so well; I told Joe that I had to bring out my A game for his last batch of baked goods! I'm so happy that he's going off to a great law school in the fall, but very sorry to see him go. Just like the cookie, sometimes saying goodbye is extra bittersweet.

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