I know, right? Hard to resist that title. We may as well get the giggles out of the way now, because the name of this cookie is one of the reasons this cookie stood out to me. The recipe lives in the pages of the Sarabeth’s Bakery Cookbook, which I received as part of my Mother’s Day gift this year. In a twist of irony, I also received a top-of-the-line jogging stroller. It is my favorite thing ever right now, because the weather here is beautiful. I requested it (don’t worry; Mr. Table is still with us) because one of the cons of food writing is sneaky weight gain, and I do what I can to counteract it. After all, I don’t need these cookies to become my ‘signature cookie,’ if you know what I mean.
I think everyone has their own way of getting to know new cookbooks. Some just crack it open and start cooking, others vigorously flip through the pages and then shove them in a bookshelf and let them sit a bit. I put mine through a process which involves a cursory page-flip, followed by a reading, novel-style, of the first sections. I’m a literature major, people, so I can’t help myself; I love reading. It’s my jam. Reading cookbooks, however, is one of the notable changes I’ve seen in myself since turning the corner from “I sometimes bake things” to “making food is my world.” I take it more seriously now, and it doesn’t seem at all tedious. It gives me information I need to have for the recipes: supply lists and baking philosophy are critical, I think, to successful food-making. I know i’ve said that before, but I can’t say it enough. I suppose that ‘s my baking philosophy.
The first thing I noticed about this book was how intensely proper it looked, and I mean that in a very good way. it’s a stunning thing, really, in large part due to photographs by one of my favorite food photographers, Quentin Bacon. I would love to be him. I would love to sit and have loads of coffee with him and learn things. The second thing I noticed was that this was a baaaaaaaking book. Filled with not just cookies and cakes and whatever, but actual pastry-making. Danish dough. Croissant dough. Puff pastry, for pete’s sake (isn’t there a reason I can buy puff pastry all frozen up in grocery stores?). Technical things which I have avoided at all costs for years now, because somehow I would manage to fail at every. Single. One of them.
But not this time. This time was different. This time, I’m ready. I can do this. You know why? Because my friend Movita Beaucoup is headed to baking school in the fall, and at her orientation she learned she will be making 250 kinds of bread. I had no idea there were that many types. I’ve actually been trying to name some in my head and can’t come up with more than a handful. But she will know how to make them all soon. And who knows what else she’s planning to learn. I don’t know the first thing about baking school, but I know it takes some courage to change your career.
So here’s my plan: I’m going to attend baking school with Movita. Not really, although I imagine if she and I went to baking school together we would rock their world (or get thrown out). She will go to real school, and I will attend pretend school here, which means taking this enormous Sarabeth’s book, filled with things which I am scared of, and learning. Learning how to make buttery croissants, and wee braided danishes filled with jam, and brioche, and all sorts of other things. And when I fail, I’m just going to have to keep going until I get it right. I’ll treat it like baking school. I may even teach the Wee One to stand by me and say things like “you can do it!” and “no! try again!” and “what is that supposed to be?” to make it more realistic. I have a little thing for Gordon Ramsay (although I prefer the BBC TV shows to the American ones), so I’ll teach her to throw in things like “YOU DONUT!” for fun.
And that is how I plan to shower her with support. Because if I can do it, certainly she can do it, as I suspect she’s more talented than I am to begin with. I am so proud of her, and if we can be friends virtually, we can also attend school together from a geographic distance. Even though my school is pretend school.
Until we begin our individual dough journeys, I give her (and you) this cookie; the chocolate chubbie. It is simply incredible, and probably one of the funniest-looking cookies I make, simply because it stays standing at attention even after baking. It’s crackly on the outside, fudgey on the inside, and absolutely filled to the brim with walnuts and pecans.
Just look inside there. Take a peek. Glorious, I know. And even though this is a silly looking cookie, it does demand a certain amount of technical work to make it successfully, so read through the recipe. I finally purchased a proper ice cream scoop during a recent kitchen stock-up trip to Sur la Table because I knew these were on the agenda for me, and I can’t imagine having these come off correctly without one. You want perfectly rounded domes, and you can’t always get that from rolling them around in your hands. I tried a few using the hand-rolling method, and here’s what happened:
Right. Not so chubby. Still delicious, but less brownie-like on the inside, and a little crackly on the outside.So put that little ice cream scoop on your list if you don’t have one; it’s a wonderful tool to have around for all sorts of cookies if you want them even in size and shape.
Feel free to make adjustments to the nuts if you wish: I know some people have a thing for walnuts, and some can’t stand the sight of them, so do as you wish. I’d keep the quantities the same, but substitute one for the other (or do more of one and less of the other) as you like. I normally use a nut chopper when a recipe calls for chopped nuts, but for this, I hand-chopped them roughly with a chef’s knife. I’d argue that it’s actually less work than running all of them through a nut chopper, and I wanted to stay as true to the cookie’s name as possible. So; chubby nuts in the chubby cookies. I need to test my theory, but I suspect the fat nuts help bolster the cookies a little too.
Although the chocolate chronicles have concluded, I have my designs on continuing the series later this year and making it an ongoing special feature. There’s one more bonus post coming up for this chapter, so stay tuned and ready the ingredients for your favorite one of the series.
Because I’m going to show you how to make. An all-homemade. Twisted. S’more.
With homemade graham ganache and marshmallow fluff.
I’ll leave you with that. Oh, and the chubbies recipe.
Adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 9 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used a 60%; use one that is no more than 62%), chopped*
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped*
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature*
- 1 1/4 cup superfine sugar*
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
*notes on ingredients: where chocolate is specified, use good-quality chocolate baking bars, NOT chocolate chips. They won’t always melt in the same manner and could seize up on you, which means you wasted money AND you don’t get chocolate chubbies. If you forget to take your eggs out a few hours before you begin, pop the unbroken eggs in a cup of warm water for a few minutes while you assemble your dry ingredients to take the chill off. Don’t have superfine sugar? Whiz some regular sugar in a food processor for a few minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F and position racks in center of oven. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper. This may be the only time you ever see me say “line 2 pans,” because my rule is 1 sheet at a time, but these seemed to work well with 2.
Bring a small amount of water to a summer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put the butter in a wide heatproof bowl or double boiler and melt the butter over the hot water in the saucepan, stirring occasionally.
While the butter is melting, Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
Add the semisweet and unsweetened chopped chocolate, stirring frequently, until melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cooled slightly but still warm, about 5 minutes.
Whip the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickenened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar and the vanilla. Whip on high until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and beat in the warm (but not hot) melted chocolate until completely incorporated (no streaks). Change over to the paddle attachment, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and reduce the mixer speed to low.
Add the flour mixture in two parts, beating after each addition on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts, making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough. This takes a few minutes, but it’s well worth your time; you want all three chunky ingredients evenly in each cookie.
Using a 2-inch diameter ice cream scoop, portion out the batter onto the prepared pans. I think it helped the shape to scoop out and up the side of the bowl, pressing the dough against the side. once out of the bowl, i pressed the dough into the scoop once again with my palm, then gently unearthed the dough ball from the scoop onto the tray, being careful to not disturb it too much. Set them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating your sheets from top to bottom and front to back between your two racks halfway through baking. Check them at about the 13-minute mark for doneness, because you won’t want to overdo these. Mine were done at 15 minutes, and any more time could have caused dramatically different results. Chocolate cookies, although worth the trouble, are really difficult to tell when done. Especially these, because you take into account their mass. i’m here to tell you it’s okay; do a test batch of a few first if you’re worried.
Cool your cookies for about 10 minutes on baking sheets, then lift carefully using a spatula and transfer to wire racks to cool the rest of the way. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes just about 24 big fat cookies.