Chocolate Decadence Cookies

Just imagine an intensely bittersweet chocolate brownie with nuts and chocolate chips and a crunchy exterior. If the batter is scooped and baked immediately after mixing, the cookies are voluptuously lumpy with a thin crust and a soft luscious center concealing nuts and chocolate pieces. If the batter is chilled and sliced before baking, the cookies develop appealing earthquake cracks, with nuts and chocolate pieces revealed and a more dramatic contrast of crunchy exterior with soft center. Have it your way.

Makes 30 (2 1/2-inch) cookies.

2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8-teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped or left in large pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

2 cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper or greased

Preheat oven to 350F. If you plan to bake the cookies immediately after mixing, otherwise wait until you are ready to bake. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla in a small bowl to combine thoroughly. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of hot tap water while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in another small bowl and whisk together with a whisk or fork.

Put the chopped chocolate (not the chips) and the butter in a large heatproof bowl in a skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Or microwave on medium power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Chocolate should be warm, not hot. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate, stirring just until thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour mixture, then the nuts and chocolate chips.

To bake the cookies immediately:
Scoop lightly rounded tablespoons of batter and place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the surface of the cookie looks dry and set and the centers are still gooey.

To bake the cookies later:
Tear off 2 sheets of aluminum foil about 16 inches long. Scrape half the dough down the center of 1 sheet of foil, forming a strip of dough about 10 inches long. Bring up the sides of the sheet to shape the dough into an 11 x 1 1/2 inch log. Repeat with the second sheet. If the batter is too soft to hold a log shape, let it rest for a couple of minutes to firm up. Refrigerate the logs until firm, 30 to 60 minutes or up to 2 days. The dough may be frozen for up to 2 months.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven and position the racks as described above. Cut each log into slices 3/4 inch thick and place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the surfaces are dry and cracked and the centers are still gooey. Rotate the sheets from back to front and top to bottom halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

Slide the parchment sheet onto cooling racks or use a metal pancake turner to transfer cookies from the pan to the racks. Cool completely before storing or stacking. May be stored in a tightly sealed container for 2 to 3 days.

Source of recipe: Alice Medich