A Fruitful Combination: Chocolate and Apricot Cookies

When I was in college, my favorite pizza place was Pizz'a Chicago on El Camino Real. And my favorite pizza was "The Jane Byrne" (sadly, I don't see it on the menu anymore), which had dried apricots and bacon. I know it sounds awful, and I can't even remember what first prompted me to try it -- but I was hooked from the first bite. I don't particularly enjoy eating dried apricots out of the bag, but I appreciate that their chewy tart flavor can be surprisingly delicious in some unexpected places. So when I came across a recipe for "Chocolate and Apricot Cookies" from Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook, I didn't bat an eye.

The recipe is essentially a chocolate chip cookie with some ground espresso beans and chopped dried apricots added. You beat room temperature butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer until very smooth and pale; add eggs and vanilla; and fold in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, ground espresso beans, bittersweet chocolate, and chopped apricots). You need to chill the dough for at least an hour, but the recipe says you can keep the dough for up to four days, and I refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, I scooped out the dough and baked the cookies. I was surprised that the cookies spread quite a bit in the oven and ended up quite flat, given that I had chilled the dough for 24 hours; usually prolonged chilling means you get fatter cookies with less spread. They weren't the best looking cookies in the world, but they tasted pretty darn good! I couldn't detect the espresso, but this is a solid chocolate chip cookie. A little on the sweet side, perhaps, but it has a wonderfully warm caramel flavor; I'm guessing that the chilling time helps enhance and improve the flavor, as it does with Jacques Torres' chocolate chip cookie recipe. And the apricots? Fantastic! I loved their wonderful chewy texture.

Even though I would definitely make this cookie again, I did find myself wishing that the texture was more substantial and chewy, like the Jacques Torres cookie, or Christina Tosi's compost cookie. But then it occurred to me that I could just add chopped dried apricots to one of those recipes (or another chocolate chip cookie recipe) and see what happens!

Recipe: "Chocolate & Apricot Cookies" from Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook.

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