Procrastibaking – Chocolate Manuscript Cookies (with Walnuts!)

Last post, I said I needed a snappy title for my chocolate chocolate chip cherry walnut cookies.  I decided on Chocolate Manuscript Cookies.  Why?  Because CCCC stands for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cherry, and for Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, which houses an insane number of medieval manuscripts!  I guess Chocolate Manuscript Cookies (with Walnuts!) would be a more accurate name, but whatever, I’m calling them Chocolate Manuscript Cookies.  Because I’m a nerd and I’m owning it.  Don’t eat these while actually reading a manuscript though, because I guarantee you that someone who works at that library will tackle you to the ground.  If you’ve got a digitized manuscript on your screen, however, go nuts.

What am I procrastibaking for?  Chapter three!  The rambling idea of which I have emailed off to my supervisor, who is busy marking exams right now.  I should probably start writing the chapter soon because it’s due in about ten days.

I originally got this recipe from the Food Network website, but I’ve altered it enough that posting the link to it will not be of that much help.  Mostly because the original recipe calls for a whole tablespoon of vanilla extract, which, no, I refuse to put that much vanilla extract into a cookie.

For this recipe, you will need your butter (2 sticks of it) at room temperature (or at the very least, softened).  I’ll wait here while you go do that.

Right, let’s start with toppings so that they’re prepped and ready to go once the rest of the batter is done.  First, chop 1 cup of walnuts.

CMC 1

When it comes to walnut-chopping, chop them until they’re at a size you’d be happy with in a cookie.  Meaning, if you take a bite of a cookie and get that size of walnut, would you be happy, or would you think, “I should’ve chopped this more/less”?

Now add 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of dried cherries.  Try to get unsweetened cherries.  England puts sugar on everything, so I had to put sweetened cherries into my cookies.  Unsweetened cherries would’ve given the cookies more of a sour taste to balance out the sweetness of the rest of the cookie.  Alas.  Sweetened cherries it is.  Feel free to play around with the amount of toppings.  I may do 1 cup of each next time.

You can put these in a medium-sized bowl and mix them so that they're evenly distributed, but I'm leaving them on the chopping board because I only have one medium-sized bowl, and I need it for the dry ingredients.
You can put these in a medium-sized bowl and mix them so that they’re evenly distributed, but I’m leaving them on the chopping board because I only have one medium-sized bowl, and I need it for the dry ingredients.

Set aside.  In a medium-sized bowl, add 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda.

CMC 3

Combine.

CMC 4

In a larger bowl, add 2 sticks of softened/room temperature butter, 3/4 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup packed brown sugar (I use dark), 2 large eggs (beaten), 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp milk (I use 2%/semi-skimmed), and 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Green & Black or Ghirardelli).

I promise it'll look real good real soon.
I promise it’ll look real good real soon.

Mix.

CMC 6
I am a baker of my word.

Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture.  If you have a mixer, just add it slowly while it continues to mix.  If you do not, add it in thirds and mix after each addition.  So, first third, stir until mostly combined, then add the second third, stir, then the third third.

This was the first third!
This is the first third!
CMC 8
Post third third.

Add toppings and fold them in until combined.  I say “fold” and not “mix” because the batter will take a bit of arm power to actually stir.  You’re also just trying to get the ingredients evenly distributed throughout the batter without overmixing, which is done a lot more efficiently through folding instead of straight up mixing.

That is beautiful.
That is beautiful.

It will look like way too many toppings at first, but once you fold them, you may be tempted to throw in more walnuts.

I won't judge if you eat the batter.
I won’t judge if you eat the batter.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough onto the sheets.  Again, small sheets (because England), so I just put 9 scoops on each sheet.  Make sure there’s enough room for your cookies to expand, because they will once they’re in the oven.

CMC 11
The lighting is only dark and depressing because it looked like it was going to rain outside. I feel like “because England” should be a hashtag for poor weather, small bakeware, and overly sweetened cherries.

Not pictured, but heavily recommended: flatten each ball of dough with the palm of your hand.  Your cookies will look more uniform when they come out of the oven, plus you’ll be able to feel which cookies have more or less toppings than the rest, and can redistribute the toppings more evenly.  This is important, because cookies with fewer toppings tend to spread out more in the oven than cookies with more toppings.  I’ve had perfectly normal cookies come out of the oven next to cookie semi-pancakes.  Cookie semi-pancakes can be avoided.  Redistribute those toppings!

Bake for 9-10 minutes.  You may use this time to lick whatever batter remains on the spoon that you used to stir/fold everything.  Then remove the cookies from the oven and wait an additional five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

These are the ones I flattened with my palm before they went into the oven.
These are the ones I flattened with my palm before they went into the oven.  Someday I shall take a picture of them stacked on top of each other.  I’m told it’s artsy.

This recipe is supposed to yield 3 dozen cookies, but I have routinely made 4 dozen.  Perhaps I should make these larger next time.

Here’s the recipe in full!

Ingredients:
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup cherries (feel free to play with this combination as you see fit)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (~227g) butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla and 2 tbsp milk (semi-skimmed, but others may also work)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)
2. Chop walnuts to cookie-appropriate size.  Add chocolate chips and dried cherries.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking soda.
4. In a larger bowl, mix together butter, both sugars, eggs, vanilla, milk, and unsweetened cocoa.
5. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture until combined.  Fold in toppings.
6. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Measure out batter by the tablespoonful and make sure the cookies have room to expand.
7. Bake for 9-10 minutes and remove from oven.  Wait 5 more minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Thanks for reading!  If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to follow/subscribe to this blog or my Twitter (@Access_Bakeshop), or to share this recipe on the social media outlet of your choice.  Next week, another coffee shop!

Happy procrastibaking!

Val

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