I’ve adapted this recipe, originally called Chocolate Fudge-Candy Cookies, from Maida Heatter’s Cookies. Instructions are pretty much verbatim. The recipe was already one of the easiest and richest I’ve used, but I decided it needed an optional chocolate glaze, too. You know, for the kids.
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter (unsalted if you want to get fancy)
1 14-oz can unsweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or some kind of hard liquor)
1 cup sifted flour
8 oz (2 ¼ cups) pecans, toasted (see note), broken or cut into large pieces (optional, really)
yield: 55 “rather small cookies”
If you have more than one cookie sheet, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds. If you have only one, put the top rack in the middle. Preheat to 350?F. Line cookie sheets (or equivalent) with foil shiny side up, trying not to crease it.
Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a large double boiler or Bain-marie over warm water on moderate heat. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Avoid getting water in the chocolate.
Remove from the heat and wipe the hot condensation from the bottom of pan or bowl with a towel. Stir in the condensed mild and vanilla, then the flour, and lastly the pecans.
Use a rounded teaspoonful of the mixture for each cookie; pick it up with one spoon and push it off with another. Place the cookies 1-2 inches apart on the foil.
Bake two sheets at a time (if you have them), reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking. Bake for exactly 7 minutes. The cookies will still feel soft; they will become firmer as they cool.
If you bake only one sheet at a time, reverse it front to back once during baking.
Before baking, the dough will look varnished; after baking it will have changed to the dull look of fudge candy.
If you have used a cookie sheet with only one raised rim, as you remove it from the oven, slide the foil off to cool completely. Then slide the hot cookie sheet under another piece of foil with unbaked cookies on it. If the sheet has raised rims all around, let the foil stand on the sheet until the cookies are completely cool. (Or take your chances at being burned and pull the foil off anyway.) When they have cooled, use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks and let stand until the bottoms become dry. (If you don’t have cooling racks, the slatted top of a clean broiler pan turned upside-down works in a pinch.)
Glaze if desired.
Store with wax paper or plastic wrap between the layers.
Note: To toast pecans, place them on a shallow pan in the middle of a preheated 350? oven for 12 – 15 minutes, stirring them occasionally, until they are very hot but not until they become darker in color. They are usually done when they start to smell good. For a quick cool-down, pour them into a bowl and put them in the freezer for 2 or 3 minutes. Chop when cool enough to handle.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze to Lick off Your Fingers Post-Cookie
This is a pretty large batch. Extra may be eaten with a spoon, spread on peanut butter sandwiches, rolled into truffles, and/or smeared on croissants or good French bread.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
Bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate all at once. Shake the pan to make sure all the chocolate is submerged in the hot liquid. Let stand 5 minutes, then whisk smooth. Leave to cool until ready to use.
To glaze cookies: After the cookies have cooled and while they are still on their cooling racks (or sheets), place foil under the racks and pour spoonfuls of ganache on each cookie. Smooth it out with the back of the spoon to coax the glaze to the edges. Some may pour off onto the foil. It may be licked off later. If the ganache has cooled too much to pour, warm it over hot water for a few minutes while stirring. Leave the cookies until the chocolate is set.
Obsessive-Compulsive Variation: Press a toasted pecan half into the still wet glaze on top of each cookie.