Five by Five Chocolate Cookies

chocolate cookies on plate

I wanted to feature the dried cacao fruit I discovered recently at Whole Foods, little thin squares that seem like fruit leather, from 'Blue Stripes Urban Cacao', in 4 oz packages (the recipe uses one whole package).  I've been curious about cacao pulp since as soon as I realized that the pulp was the original attraction of cacao for the indigenous people who discovered it, but since the pulp is key to traditional fermentation of the beans, I figured I'd have to go to a cacao farm to actually taste it. 

I built these comparing several different recipes, including Chewy Chocolate Cookies from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book and some of my own previous versions trying to create a fudgy brownie-like cookie without making something too close to a flourless chocolate cake or even truffle.  I  also made them without gluten so I can share them with a colleague who is gluten-sensitive, and because teff is so very good in chocolates.  The chia is to help them hold together with the gluten-free flours, and can be omitted if using a wheat flour with gluten. 

Mincing the cacao fruit is difficult because it is so sticky, so I use my favorite technique of letting the food processor do the work by adding the dried fruit with a portion of the flour, so the fruit bits get immediately flour coated as they are chopped, and you can get it quite fine that way.

(revised for 100% teff and with correction in calculating the substitute flour quantities)

Lightly greased or lined baking sheets         Oven 350F / 175 C        Baking time 12 minutes

3/4 cup / 170 grams unsalted butter
    (if what you have is salted, see adjustment below)
3/4 cup / 150 grams sugar

3 1/2 ounces / 100 grams unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons / 45 grams water
     OR 1/4 cup buttermilk OR 1/4 cup water
[1 teaspoon vanilla if not using vanilla bean]

Milled together
    225 grams teff
    2 inches vanilla bean
               [OR use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, added with the eggs and buttermilk or water]
 
Alternatives for the flour
    1 1/2 cups / 225 grams teff flour
   
   [OR
    1 1/2 cup / 225 grams whole wheat pastry flour OR soft wheat flour OR unbleached all purpose flour]

2 tablespoons / 12 grams buttermilk powder [omit if using buttermilk]
1/2 cup / 75 grams cocoa
10 grams ground chia seeds [omit if using wheat flour]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt [omit if using salted butter]

4 ounces / 113 grams dried cacao fruit, minced

1/2 cup / 2 ounces or 60 grams cacao nibs
2 ounces / 56 grams finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I love 70% Sambirano from Dick Taylor, or Scharffenberger 70%)


Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together (I do it in the microwave on lower power to avoid scorching the chocolate, stirring often).  Transfer to mixer bowl, and beat together with the sugar.

Beat in the eggs, water or buttermilk and vanilla if you are using that. 

Take half of the flour and whirl in food processor with the dried cacao fruit until the fruit is very finely minced.  This stuff is STICKY and the food processor struggles a bit to manage it; I have to stop and pick the gummy coating off the blade a few times to get it done.  You can also chop it with a knife but it is hard work and the knife will need a lot of clearing too.

Sift or whisk the flours, chia [if using gluten-free flours], salt, baking powder, buttermilk powder [if using] together, and add to the mixing bowl together with the the flour/cacao fruit, cacao nibs, and chopped chocolate.  Stir together until well mixed.

Icebox/Refrigerator cookies versionwork less, eat later

This is how I made them the second time, and I think it worked better:  let sit for several hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator, to hydrate the flour and let the dough firm up enough to be shaped into rolls.  Take about 1/3 of the dough and form into a roll, about 2 inches in diameter, and wrap in waxed paper or parchment or plastic wrap, and chill until quite firm for neat slicing (about 2 hours in freezer, overnight in refrigerator).

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325F / 163 C.

Slice the rolls 1/4 inch thick and place on prepared baking sheets (lightly greased, or lined with parchment or silpat).  Bake 325F for about 12 minutes, until they are a little dry and firm on the outside, should still be a little soft but not gooey inside.

Hand-rolled balls version:  work harder, eat sooner

This is how I originally made them:   let sit for several hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator, to hydrate the flours.

Preheat the oven to 325F / 163 C.

Roll teaspoonsful of dough into small balls, flatten them a little, place them fairly close together on lightly greased or parchment or silpat lined baking sheets (they won't spread much).   Bake 325F for about 12 minutes, until they are a little dry and firm on the outside, should still be a little soft but not gooey inside.


Return to Recipe Index

Return to Diane's Food Page

Return to Diane's Home Page