Happiness is a Warm Gun

Actually, it’s not. It’s any of these three things, alone or in combination:

  1. Fluffy orange dog (Chester) sleeping on my blanket
  2. Dark chocolate-espresso-hazelnut chewies (cookies)
  3. Lanky sheepdog (Felix) sleeping on a pile of boxer shorts (clean)

Ideally, I would be lounging with the dogs eating the cookies and drinking an iced espresso, but despite the fact that this couch is 8 feet long we can’t all fit on it at once because someone is a sprawler and hogs four whole feet of couch to himself, Felix.

It’s a swingin’ Saturday night, and Brian is out at a beer-tasting party. I’m not there, because (1) there are lots of people I don’t know there, and small talk makes me break out in hives and (2) I already know what kind of beers I like and I’m sticking to them (Belgian, fruity lambics, Magic Hat #9). Instead, I’m having a women’s night in, which means hanging out alone at home, watching part of a Top Model marathon on Bravo, feeling dirty, watching part of a Dirty Jobs marathon to wipe the image of Tyra’s crazy-ass weaves out of my head*, and then deciding to go bake some cookies.

That might not sound like the ideal Saturday, but allow me to assure you that really, I’m a lot of fun. If I liked people, I’d totally hang out with you; I’m sure we’d paint the town red.** Unfortunately, I don’t like the vast majority of people. (Note: This does not apply to any of you. I mean the other people, the people who do not have the good sense to read this blog.)

*Also Mr. Jay’s hair, because what the fuck is up with that? How do you get your hair to be silver? And why is that desirable?

**Other thing I considered doing tonight: painting the den. The paint we bought several months ago is still sitting around, glaring at me, waiting to be used. But then this episode of Dirty Jobs came on about a cloth diaper service and I was oddly compelled to watch, because I am extremely pro-cloth diaper despite a complete lack of diaper-needing persons (babies or elderly) in my house.

I wanted chocolatey cookies, but not chocolate chip cookies because really, how pedestrian. I like those fudgy chocolate cookies with the crackly tops, and I wanted something not very sweet. I cadged a basic recipe from Short and Sweet, a book of quick desserts using 8 ingredients or less by Gale Gand, the pastry chef at Tru in Chicago. (She also used to have a good show on the Food Network, back when they had actual chefs and weren’t the MTV of food.)

Her recipe seemed too far to the sweet side and involved a lot of chocolate chips, so I was forced to make some modifications. Literally forced. It’s a powerful little book.

See, I was just starting to get over the “literally” thing, when I heard a young man on the subway in deep discussion with his subway partner talking about someone or thing that “literally, it like, blew his mind,” and then my dander was up all over the place again. Although I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that his brain did literally explode in his head, thus explaining his terrible command of the language. I do try not to expose too many people to my dander on the subway.

So, cookies. They have 4 main components: eggs and sugar, beaten together until light and fluffy, along with some espresso (pictured up above); dry ingredients like flour and whatnot, not pictured because it’s flour, for Christ’s sake; hazelnuts, shown above getting nice and toasty on the stove prior to going under the knife; and copious amounts of 72% chocolate (I would have gone even darker, but that’s what I had around). Witness:

Chocolate. Chopped. Melting with butter. Mixed into cookie dough with chopped toasted hazelnuts. Delicious any way you slice it.

Okay, maybe not so delicious with an unmelted slab of butter. But in any other state: delicious.

Like brownies, these have hardly any flour in them – a quarter cup in the whole batch. The dough was thick and easily scoopable, and the cookie sheet went into the fridge while I headed downstairs to watch Mike Rowe making bird food out of suet and dehydrated fly larvae. Also, there was a part where he had to kill a bag full of maggots. Apparently the way you do this humanely is to douse them with boiling water, causing them to die instantly. When one does this, the water turns brown. Why? Because they shit themselves to death. Literally. When I say literally in this case, I mean literally.

There seems to be a shit theme running through the evening, what with the diaper service, the maggot genocide and the chilled cookies, which I am fully aware look like little lumps of dog shit. I apologize, and can only hope that the finished cookies will make up for it. I would send you some, but I don’t know where you live and I don’t really want to share them anyway.

Because they are damn tasty. Rich chocolate flavor enhanced by the espresso, which deepens the already dark and complex chocolate and adds just the right amount of up-front coffee flavor. Texture wise, they’re a nice juxtaposition; slightly crackly on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside, with crunch from the nuts. Not too sweet just like I wanted, and perfect with the iced espresso that I did have even though I had to sit on the couch all by myself because the traitor dogs wouldn’t budge from the front door where they were pathetically waiting for The Fat Man to come home. Like I’m not good enough to curl up on the couch with.

FINE, I didn’t want to curl up with you anyway. You’d just get dog hair on my cookies. And now The Fat Man is home and has already gone to bed, and so did they, and I’m still alone on the couch writing about cookies because these dogs are THANKLESS. Whatever, suckers; more cookies for me.*

*I would never actually give these cookies to my dogs no matter how irritating they get, and let me tell you, when they see a squirrel running along the backyard fence and they cry and hurl their bodies against the back windows, it’s REALLY IRRITATING. I just like to taunt them sometimes when there’s really yummy people food that they can’t have. And then I immediately feel bad and give them a hunk of raw meat.

Dark Chocolate-Espresso-Hazelnut Chewies
1 3/4 c. dark chocolate of your choice
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. espresso grounds
1/4 c. AP flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 toasted chopped nuts. I like the hazel, but you can mix it up.

In a double boiler or bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. As soon as everything is fully melted and combined, remove it from the heat.

In a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until they lighten in color and turn fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add the espresso.

Mix in the chocolate mixture; once that’s combined, add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined – you’ll have a thick batter. Take the bowl out of the mixer and fold in the nuts by hand.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat, and drop generous, rounded tablespoons of dough; they can be fairly close together – 2 inches or so – because they won’t spread that much in the oven. Chill them for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour or so. You can also freeze them, bag them, and bake them off later.

Preheat the over to 375. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on whether they’re coming out of the fridge (8) or the freezer (10). Depending on how big you’ve made them they may take a few minutes less or a few minutes more; keep an eye on them and remove them when the tops start to crack. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, remove to a cooling rack, and try not the burn your tongue eating them.

ONE YEAR AGO: Daring Bakers: I Brake for Cake

32 thoughts on “Happiness is a Warm Gun

  1. Can I make them with another type of nut? ‘Cause hazelnuts, despite being our state nut out here in Orygone, give me hives and anaphylactic reactions. Maybe pecans?

  2. You’ve got me thinking about cotton diapers. That’s right, not the cookies but the diapers.
    My mom and dad only used cotton diapers. Maybe it’s worth a shot. I’m glad I’m not alone here!

  3. OMG. They look like the cookie version of Barefoot Contessa’s brownies! WANT!

    And excellent description of FN, by the way. It never hit me before, but you are right. They are totally the MTV of food now.

    I miss Gale Gand. And Ming Tsai. And Sarah Moulton.

  4. Sounds like a fantastic Saturday night to me. Except I would rather have someone else make the cookies, so all I had to do was eat them.

    Oh, and here’s a fun little fact for you. If your dogs were to eat something they shouldn’t (like chocolate, which will poison them) you can make them throw up by making them swallow hydrogen peroxide. With a turkey baster. I have never had to do this, but the idea of it is kind of hilarious to me. I mean, OBVIOUSLY, if my dogs were sickly I would not be laughing, but really, hydrogen peroxide with a turkey baster? Is kind of amusing. Apparently, the fizziness in their stomachs will make them vomit. And I swear this is actually recommended by veterinarians. Specifically, by my sister, who is a veterinarian and told me about this nifty little trick.

    Disclaimer: Please, people, don’t make your dog deep-throat a turkey baster full of hydrogen peroxide just because I mentioned it here. Call your own veterinarian. Thank you and good night.

  5. Hydrogen peroxide works every time for my goldens, and if you can set aside your worry about whatever it was they swallowed that made you have to use it, it is a hilarious thing to watch. However, a)check w/your vet, and b)I’ve got a friend with a Weimaraner whose love for chocolate is matched by his ability to never, ever vomit, no matter what (mustard, salt, HO) you pour down her throat.

    I would fight her for these cookies.

  6. I just had to go eat a giant spoonful of nutella to satisfy the instant craving your cookies sparked in me. They sound fantastic.

  7. kay, sure, or with no nuts at all. or with chocolate chips/chunks, like the original recipe recommended.

    toylady, the literally blog literally cracks me up and makes me angry all at once.

    katie, make dough, bake a few cookies, freeze remaining dough. do not keep remaining dough in fridge, because then you’ll just eat it raw, although that could just be me.

    claudia, you literally LOVE me.

    sarah, better for the baby tushies, better for the landfills.

    trillian, but so, so much less butter. only half a stick for 15 big/30 small cookies.

    kristin, wow, i have never heard that. it is hilarious. does it work on people? because every time i’ve ever gotten sick to my stomach or mild food poisoning, my body absolutely refuses to vomit.

    anne, my dogs have no problems puking. they’ll eat grass to make themselves puke if they don’t feel good. i’ll talk to my vet about it, but i bet it would totally work.

    toontz, i was walking them the other day when a feral cat lept into the middle of the sidewalk and started staring them down. NIGHTMARE. i would not have been surprised if their brains had literally exploded.

    chessa, having just eaten one, i have to tell you – they are even better the next day. with a big glass of cold milk. drool.

  8. You’re such a bitch, but I love you anyway (most of the time). The cookies look divine. It never ceases to amaze me how much room pets can take up on a couch or a bed.


  9. Sarah, we use cloth diapers for our 16 month old girl. It is SO MUCH EASIER than many people think – there are no pins or weird stuff like that. It’s basically a waterproof outer wrap that has velcro and an inner cotton diaper. We don’t even have a diaper service – we wash them ourselves at home. We just chuck them in the washing machine on the sanitary setting and that’s that.

    Our daughter almost never has diaper rash (maybe a little bit of redness once every 3-4 weeks?) and when she does, it clears up within a few hours after we put the Burt’s Bees diaper cream on it. I think the cloth diapers are so much better for her skin and health – no dioxins, etc – and because we have a front-loading and efficient washing machine, it’s a lot better for the environment. Plus it’s a lot cheaper. I think that in the past 12 months, we’ve spent perhaps $100 on diapering supplies.

  10. I am so happy to know that I am not the only one who sits around on girl night, watches Bravo marathons of what ever show they are hocking that month, and makes something chocolate. Although, I do have another girl with me. Gloria, the land manatee.
    Girl nights are every Monday for me because G has band practice. As if you care, but what the hell, I feel like sharing.
    I’m totally making these cookies.

  11. So, that’s how you watch Tyra, alternating her with Dirty Jobs. It’s like when you can’t turn away from some gruesome wreck.

  12. “getting (one’s) dander up” is woefully underused. I vote for a return to using it in everyday conversation. Along with “fellow”.

  13. Regarding the cloth diapers – I used cloth diapers for my Surly Boy, and every time I used a disposable diaper on him, his poor, tender little baby butt-cheeks got all red and rash-y. Literally, every single time.

    The extra load of laundry was well worth it.

    Besides, he potty trained earlier in cloth. (He’s 20 now and, to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t yet had an accident.)

  14. Yes why is it desirable to have silver hair when your favourite skin colour is tic tac orange!!!! Mr Jay is an oompa loompa at heart. Which makes me question his right to gived fashion advice to young girls.

    And yummy cookies by the way!!

  15. Ha, sounds very much like girls’ night at my house, which is me and my dog watching “Millionaire Matchmaker” together. I totally want to try those cookies.

  16. Wow, those cookies look amazing. I hate baking, but I may just have to bake some of these up, especially since I can freeze the dough and just bake a couple at a time when I’m in NEED of a chocolate-hazelnutty fix.

  17. terri, the cookies are divine. also, i am not a bitch.

    emily, i almost want to have a baby, just for the cloth diapers. it’s a sickness i have, this evangelism for the cloth diapers.

    sherpas, i ALSO have girl nights on monday because that’s when brian has band practice. but it’s usually not about cookies because i’m writing about whatever cheap crap i cooked for dinner. like tonight.

    also: land manatee = hilarious. is that anything like the land shark?

    pam, no, you don’t alternate. you watch tyra until you can’t take it anymore, and then you jump ship for mike.

    allison, i concur. also under used: to have something “stuck in [one’s] craw.”

    trishy, intrigued….frightened. not sure which will win out.

    jhlpices, mike rowe even without chocolate = happiness. did you know he’s a trained opera singer?

    toylady, yet. maybe he just hasn’t gotten drunk enough.

    karen, the dogs are very loveable. except when you want to kill them. but i guess that’s part of the beauty of dogs.

    kj, my thoughts exactly. in the episodes i saw, it was the first season, he wasn’t orange, and his hair was brown. and i thought, “why, mr. jay? why?”

    margot, i shouldn’t throw stones in my glass house, but that show horrifies me.

    christie, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted my schwetty balls. and if that doesn’t translate over the pond, you’ve gotta go hulu that shit.

    sara, they’re super easy. i will say, the “only baking a few” requires a LOT of self control. more than i have.

  18. I don’t think they look like dog shit. I think they look like heaven. LITERALLY. Oh wait, I don’t really believe in heaven. And I don’t think it would look like a pile of raw cookie dough. But yeah, these look unbelievable– I love fudgy cookies.

  19. Michelle! I’m beating myself over the head now for not keeping up with your blog since Robyn brought me along to last summer’s Smoke-A-Thon – how’d I see fit to deprive myself so? You rock my Internet-world, and your shit really does look damn tasty.

  20. kirby, uncooked, they kinda do. even cooked, they look a little poop-esque. but they taste SO GOOD.

    lee anne, are you in town this memorial day? cuz we’re smokin’ it up again. also, i’ll accept hair-shirt penitence rather than beating yourself over the head.

  21. Self-flagellation is so much more badass than wearing itchy hairshirts. It’s like tattoos instead of flannel – you know that hipster means business. Anyway, holy CRAP! I’m moving to DC in May so I might actually be able to make it; now you’ve got me all excited. I’ll see if I can catch a ride over with Robyn again.

  22. yes, the hydrogen peroxide totally works, just a tiny amount. but then it’s sad bc they balefully glare like “just what did you just give me?!?” and then heave up whatever badness they ingested.

  23. Pingback: Dark Chocolate-Espresso-Hazelnut (or Not) Chewies: A New Reason for Living | Kitchen Fridge Review Site

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