Melissa Clark's Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp
Amy Scattergood's Quinoa Salad with Shiitakes and Fennel

Bret Thompson's Double Chocolate Cookies


Uhh. Looky there. Chocolate. On chocolate. More chocolate. Can't speak, can't think. COOOKIE.

Is this what it feels like to be a 15-year old boy in the presence of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model?

The Culinary SOS column has struck again and with a vengeance. I read it last Wednesday and by Thursday night was in the kitchen, up to my elbows in chocolate. It's January! We're meant to be eating brown rice noodles and copious amounts of steamed spinach! Instead, these cookies - these insane, ridiculous, almost unbearably good cookies - will bewitch you. You will not be able to resist. Just try to! You won't.

Think about this: 1 and 1/4 pounds (yes, pounds) of chocolate. To only 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 stick of butter. Are you starting to sweat a bit? These cookies demand respect. And yet are easy enough to make on a school night. You don't even need an electric beater. I did the whole thing with a whisk and a wooden spoon.

You know, melt chocolate and butter, whisk eggs and sugar, fold in dry ingredients, the usual deal. And then dump in one entire pound of chopped bittersweet chocolate. Yeah, that's where things get interesting.

Somehow I managed to keep my wits about me and, instead of following the instructions to make 16 cookies out of this batter, decided to make smaller cookies, 26 to be exact. You can fit about 12 spoonfuls of the dough on a regular baking sheet. I advise that you do the same, because 16 cookies out of this amount of batter will make monster cookies, ones that might just kill you.

You have two choices when baking the cookies. You can slightly underbake them (5 minutes on each side), which leaves them ooey-gooey and you in desperate need of a napkin when eating them. Or you can let them go one or two minutes longer on each side, so that they firm up a bit. The benefit of doing this is that when you remove them from the oven, you don't have to (cruelly) wait until they cool completely, as per the recipe. You can pace for a few minutes, pour yourself a glass of milk and then dig in while they're still hot and the chocolate is molten. This is possibly the best thing since sliced bread.

Not too sweet, velvety and complex and rich, tasting almost of coffee, though there's none in them, yes, these are possibly among the world's best cookies. There, I've said it.


Now, the milk. You cannot - I repeat, cannot - eat these cookies without milk. Oh sure, you might try to, but you will fail. I tried, I really did, and I hit a chocolate wall after about my second bite. A chocolate wall that could only be scaled by having a glass of cold 1% milk nearby. Yes, they are that intense.

Another thing: you should not eat more than two in one sitting. You might die of chocolate. When you try these, you'll see that it's totally possible. (My friend Seb managed three in one sitting, but he's 6 foot 8 and operates differently.) I have to warn you that in the presence of these freshly-baked discs, greed and insatiable desire will take over you and you will want to eat as many as you possibly can. It's practically evolutionary! You will be powerless. But try to resist. Will you believe me if I tell you that I almost regretted eating two in one go? And yet, couldn't help myself. So just be forewarned.

These cookies are a force to be reckoned with.

Double Chocolate Cookies
Makes 26

1/4 pound (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet chocolate (chunks or chips)

1. In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

2. In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a fork, combine the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Mix just until incorporated and set aside.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and mix just until combined, then stir in the bittersweet chocolate.

5. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to chill thoroughly. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

6. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on a greased, parchment-lined sheet pan, leaving 2 inches between each.

7. Bake until the edges of the cookies are just set and the center is still soft, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Place the cookies, still on the parchment, on a rack and cool slightly.