Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies
Here’s how it’s going down on this Monday:
and more chocolate.
Chocolate is showing its not-so-basic face 4 times in today’s cookies. Well, maybe only 3 but I do encourage you use two different types of cocoa powder so that’d make it 4. Not sure if that’s cheating, but I’m pretty sure it’s always good form when salted dark chocolate cookies are involved.
I made these for my friend’s birthday this weekend. She adores chocolate in any intense way you can get it and maybe I even bought a tiny 6-inch double dark chocolate cake for her because I ran out of time and couldn’t make one from scratch. Now THAT definitely is cheating, but the frosting tasted like straight-up fudge so we’re all good. For the cookies though, Kristen loves these salted caramel dark chocolate cookies so I started from there.
First, let me rewind to that cocoa powder business.
This is actually my favorite chocolate cookie base. Remember when we chatted about that? I’ve used it more times than I can count and there’s a few different variations I’ve made right here on my blog. The chocolate flavor comes from natural cocoa powder. When mixed with both granulated sugar and brown sugar (soft cookies!), butter, and other ordinary cookie ingredients– the cookies taste like brownies. The edges get a little crisp while the centers are soft and tender, absolutely exploding with intense chocolate flavor. To amp things up, I used both natural cocoa powder and Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder today. Have you ever seen that stuff on shelves? It’s really good. It’s deep, dark, and bold. This is actually a cocoa powder that’s a blend of natural cocoa and dutched cocoa. Not to get all nerdy on you or anything, but there’s a huge difference between natural cocoa and dutched cocoa and you can break a recipe if you go around swapping. You can read all the nerdy stuff right over here if you’re interested.
But the special dark cocoa made by Hershey contains both natural and dutched. This makes it a little tricky to use in baking recipes, but I’ve actually had a lot of success swapping it in recipes like cookies and brownies. But today, I’m using half natural and half special dark in this chocolate cookie recipe. (So I guess you could say 3/4 natural and 1/4 dutched since special dark is already a blend!) I realize how confusing all of this is. Too much for Monday morning? Here, have a cookie.
I really like the heightened flavor the special dark brought these chocolate cookies. Like I said, I’ve made them hundreds of times with just natural cocoa powder but the slight addition of the dark stuff really transformed them into something even better. I had no idea it was even possible to make this chocolate cookie dough even richer! The chocolate flavor is deeper, darker, and much more brownie-y. That’s the official term. Brownie-y.
The cookie dough is quite sticky, so make sure you’re chilling the cookie dough for at least 3 hours. In fact, I always make this particular cookie dough 1 day in advance to ensure it’s perfectly solid and sturdy. Your hands will get messy when you’re rolling the cookie dough, but that’s the only price you’ve gotta pay!
Since Kristen is a bonafide chocoholic, I added both chocolate chunks and chocolate chips. This is the 3rd and 4th time chocolate is used. You don’t have to be that crazy and can easily just use chocolate chips. I simply chopped up some pure chocolate– I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate baking bar– and added the chunks to the cookie dough, along with a handful of chocolate chips. The pure chocolate chunks melt down since they do not contain any stabilizers (unlike chocolate chips) and create pools of chocolate inside and outside of the cookies. Pools of melted chocolate is right where we want to be this morning, right?
At this point, I know you love salty sweet as much as I do. I sprinkled the cookie dough balls with a little sea salt before going into the oven. I finished them of with a little more sea salt before serving. The sea salt brings out the chocolate flavor… as if the cookies needed any help… as well as softening the sweetness.
So…. quadruple chocolate cookies. Let’s do this, Monday.
Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/3 cup (26g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder1
- 1/3 cup (26g) Hershey's special dark cocoa powder1
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
- 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks and/or chips, plus a few more for topping2
- sea salt for sprinkling
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt together until combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the milk, then the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes-- if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 2 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls. Place on the baking sheets and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. During this time, you can press a few more chocolate chips/chunks into the top of the warm cookies-- this is just for looks. You can also sprinkle with a little more sea salt as well. The cookies will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
- If you can't get your hands on Hershey's special dark cocoa, you can use 2/3 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder instead. Do not use purely dutched cocoa in this recipe because you need the acid in natural cocoa. However, I've gotten some questions from non-USA readers who cannot get their hands on natural cocoa powder. Easy fix! Just bake these chocolate cookies instead. You can used dutched cocoa! And add sea salt on top.
- I used a mix of chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. You can use all chocolate chips, all chocolate chunks, or a mix of both.
Check out my top 5 cookie tips before beginning. It includes how to prevent cookies from over-spreading and why room temperature makes a difference.
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