Food & Wine (December 2008)
Well, maybe you're still not finished with your holiday shopping, and you need more last minute gift ideas.
Or maybe you're all finished, and ready to kick back and enjoy the holiday, laughing maniacally as your fellow citizens frantically run to the mall.
Either way, these Cherry-Nut Mudslides are just want you need: a rich and delicious holiday cookie that's great to have on hand at home and can even serve as a nice homemade gift for those people on your list who have a sweet tooth.
We don't typically do a whole lot of baking. On occasion, we'll whip up a nice cake. Or for a weeknight indulgence, we'll make a small batch of basic cookies (typically oatmeal, chocolate chip, or -- even better -- oatmeal with chocolate chips).
But this year, as the weather's gotten colder, we've been aching to bake. This December, Gourmet, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine have extensive spreads filled with cookie recipes, most of the very fancy sort.
But the Cherry-Nut Mudslides from Food & Wine really called out to us. We loved the idea of toasted hazelnuts mixed with pistachios, dried cherries and two kinds of chocolate.
Don't be dismayed by the recipe if you don't have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Though the recipe calls for this equipment -- which we don't own -- we mixed ours by hand and the cookies turned out very well. It likely added an additional 15 minutes of "active time," but that wasn't a problem.
The resulting cookie is a decadent confection, moist and chewy, salty and sweet.
They're just what you need this holiday season.
* ACTIVE: 30 MIN
* TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN
* SERVINGS: Makes 5 dozen cookies
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup salted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the hazelnuts in a pie plate for 12 minutes, until the skins blister. Transfer to a towel and rub to remove the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts.
2. In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt 1 pound of the bittersweet chocolate with all of the unsweetened chocolate. Let cool completely.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar until sandy. Beat in the eggs, then beat in the melted chocolate. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Fold in the pistachios, cherries, hazelnuts and the remaining bittersweet chocolate.
4. For each cookie, scoop 2 tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roll into a ball; space them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake in batches for 15 minutes, just until the tops are lightly cracked; shift the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. Transfer the sheets to racks to cool slightly, then transfer the cookies to a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.