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The Earthbound Cook
by Myra Goodman
Chunky Candy Bars—those thick squares of raisin-and-nut-studded chocolate that come wrapped in distinctive silver foil—are the inspiration for these chunky cookies. With their rich chocolate flavor, toasted pecans, and plump, sweet raisins, these delectable treats have something to entice everyone. If someone at your house doesn't like pecans or raisins, you can substitute other nuts or dried cherries.
Makes about twenty-four 2½-inch cookies
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 large eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder (see sidebar, this page)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
• 1 cup raisins
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Butter one or two rimmed baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper, and set aside.
2. Combine the butter, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the cocoa powder in a medium-size saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
3. Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the chocolate mixture.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, and whisk to blend. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate batter and stir until just combined. Do not overheat.
5. Gently stir in the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips, the pecans, and the raisins.
6. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them an inch apart. Bake until the cookies have just set and look shiny, 14 to 16 minutes. Do not overbake.
7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. (The cookies can be stored, tightly covered, in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.)
Baking powder produces carbon dioxide when it is mixed with a liquid. In a batter, the reaction of the carbon dioxide produces tiny air bubbles, allowing the cookies or cake to rise and become spongy. It's important to work fast when using baking powder because the carbon dioxide escapes quickly, and if the mixed batter is allowed to sit too long, the baked product will not rise as expected. The effectiveness of baking powder deteriorates with time, so for the best results, replace your container of baking powder every 6 to 8 months.
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