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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I-Miss-Tucson Triple Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies (First Attempt)

It has been almost four months since I picked up and moved from the scorching heat of Tucson, Arizona to the green lawns of Los Angeles, California. Despite the fact that I have moved to better weather and a better job, I am still missing Tucson a whole lot. One of the things I miss the most (along with that special someone) is the Bentley's House of Coffee and Tea, the place where I spend the last three months of grad school and a significant fraction of the previous six years too. I am really more productive when there are people around me, when there is talking and music and interesting faces to secretly stare at for distraction. The quiet unnerves me and the hustle and bustle of the cozy coffee shop were a fantastic escape. Being able to get a huge mug of hot coffee and a bagel (ah, those fabulous 9-grain bagels) any time during the day was also a big advantage. Last but certainly not least was their fabulous selection of cookies. Mmmmm, cookies! Especially the triple chocolate cinnamon ones which I discovered one cold December day last year. And my life was changed forever. Seriously.

A few days before I moved away I asked the owner for the recipe. She refused politely but ensured that a big jar of cookies was supplied the next day which was sweet but I still wanted the recipe. And then I found this recipe on Epicurious. Aha! So here is my first attempt at making these cookies. I didn't quite follow the original recipe because of limitations on the available ingredients so here is what I did:

Triple Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

1/4 C + 1 Tbs flour
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 C (3 ounces) chopped milk chocolate (or chips)
1/2 C chopped walnuts, raw

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and set aside. In a big bowl beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and beat till smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix in. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, beating until incorporated. Stir in the milk chocolate pieces and walnuts. The dough is done.

Shaping the cookies can be done in two ways - ice-cream-scooping and slicing. I did the latter because I didn't have time to bake the cookies on the evening I made the dough. The scooping is easier: scoop level ice-cream scoops of dough and place them on a parchment-paper, 2-inches apart because cookies will spread. Bake for 12 minutes in the lower third of the oven. Cookies will be a bit soft to the touch and glossy. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes and then cool completely on a rack. The slicing method is messier because the dough is very soft and sticky. Roll the dough into two logs about an inch and a half in diameter (or bigger if you want bigger cookies) by wrapping it in parchment paper and rolling it. You are bound to have chocolate behind your ears. It's ok. Once the logs are shaped wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer. The dough can stay in the freezer for a few weeks... if you can wait that long. To bake the cookies, slice the logs into 1/4-inch slices and place on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, cool on pan and then on a rack. Eat.

These cookies turned out sooo fabulous! They were soft and chewy, chocolatey with just the right amount of cinnamon and walnuts, so delicious, I could not have just one. Everyone loved them. So did I but they were not quite what I was shooting for. The Bentley's cookies are drier, less chewy and they crack on top. I think I will try making them with all white sugar and adding some more flour next time. I'm going to work on these. Come Christmas, I'll have them perfect!

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