Valentine's Day

  • img1

Chocolate a must-have come Valentine's Day

No Valentine's Day is complete without chocolate. Men and women alike look forward to their sampling of sweets come February 14, and that sampling simply must include some delectable chocolates.

Those who want to go the extra mile this Valentine's Day can try their hands at crafting their own confectionary concoctions from the comforts of their kitchens. The following recipe for "Triple-Chocolate Cookies" from Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage's "Chocolate Obsession" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang") will no doubt please your valentine this February.

Triple-Chocolate Cookies

Makes about 48 cookies

11/2    cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3    cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1/2    teaspoon baking soda

12    tablespoons unsalted butter with 82% butterfat, at room temperature

1/2    cup cane sugar

3/4    cup dark brown cane sugar

1/2    teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2    Tahitian vanilla bean, split horizontally

1/2    teaspoon fleur de sel in fine grains

3    ounces 41% milk chocolate, roughly chopped

3    ounces 65% chocolate, roughly chopped

Make the dough:

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together into a bowl. Set aside.

Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add both sugars and the vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the top. Beat on medium speed just until combined.

Reduce the speed to low. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, pulsing the mixer to incorporate each addition before adding the next one. Pulse just until a crumbly dough forms. Add both chopped chocolates and mix on low speed just until incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times to incorporate any crumbs.

Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 11/4 inches in diameter and 12 inches long. As you roll, gently push the ends toward the center occasionally to prevent air pockets from forming and to keep the logs at an even thickness.

Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Bake the cookies:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line the bottoms of two 12-by-18-inch sheet pans with parchment paper.

Remove the logs from the refrigerator and unwrap them. Using a ruler to guide you and a sharp knife, cut each log into rounds 1/2 inch thick. If the dough crumbles as you cut it, reshape each slice. Place the rounds on the prepared pans, spacing them 11/2 inches apart.

Bake on the middle shelves of the oven, rotating the pans 180 degrees halfway through the baking time, until set but soft enough to hold a slight indentation when pressed with a fingertip, about 14 minutes. Let cool completely on the pans on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.