Clotilde’s Very Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I’m glad I’m not the only one around here who experiences what I call “Only in France” moments.

Recently I met up with Clotilde, who writes the popular Chocolate & Zucchini blog, for a drink one afternoon. I ordered a glass of wine and she, a mineral water. Although there was a large, unopened bottle of Badoit sparkling water standing prominently behind the bar, ripe for the taking, the serveuse told us they didn’t have any bottled water.

Of course, neither one of us questioned that. But when she left to fetch our drinks, we both looked at each other, wrinkled up our perplexed faces, then shrugged it off. It’s nice to know the locals find things as curious around here as I do.

Speaking of curious French things, if you’re a regular reader of Chocolate & Zucchini, you’re privy to her charming stories about her life in Paris accompanied by recipes. And you unless you’ve been hiding like a bottle of Badoit behind the bar, you’ve likely heard of her new book: Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.

Scoop of Chocolate Cookie Dough

Turning the pages and reading about her life in Montmarte is like spending the day with une vraie Parisienne, which seem to be an endless quest of finding the best markets and sourcing ingredients then taking them home and making them into fabulous dinners to share with friends and her lucky neighbors.

Before I met Clotilde, I was certain she was some burly truck-driver from Wisconsin pulling a fast one over on us all.


But when we met face-to-face, she was even more charming if that’s possible, than she is on her site. And when she handed me a galley of her book (a rough, pre-publication examplaire of her efforts) and asked me to write a quote, I was delighted to do so. When I got home, I parked myself on the couch and read it cover-to-cover. It was wonderful.

For anyone who’s skeptical about the direction of French cuisine among the next generation (and I’m not naming any names), Clotilde’s recipes are a refreshing breath of sensible air. Her cooking is seasonal, market-fresh and many of her takes on the French classics have just a bit of a personal twist that ushers them deliciously into the next generation.

There’s lots of recipes that I want to try, and not just the desserts. Aside from the Honey Financiers and her famously-simple Yogurt Cake, as soon as the weather gets cooler, I’m firing up the oven to make her beer-enriched Flemish Carbonades and the Lamb and Prune Meatballs using the super-plump and moist pruneaux d’Agen.

I wanted to make her Very Chocolate Cookies for the very longest of times, except I had, like, fourteen batches of chocolate cookie dough in the freezer leftover from some recipe testing I was doing and I didn’t want to launch another batch without using up what I had first.

But even I can’t resist the charms of a young French woman. And soon the temptation became too great; her darned book on my coffee table was staring at me night and day, saying “When are you going to make those Triple Chocolate Cookies?”

And really, who could resist the image of the dark-as-nuit chocolate cookie teetering on the edge of a cold glass of milk?

So I got out the chocolate and started chopping away.

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Very Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 48 little cookies

From Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen By Clotilde Dusoulier

You know those folks that love to find mistakes in recipes? (And you know who you are…) When I saw this, I thought, “A-ha! She forgot the eggs!” But when I asked her about that, she said there aren’t any in the batter since this is a crumblier cookie than others out there. So for those raw cookie-dough freaks out there (and we know who we are…), if you’re concerned about eating uncooked eggs, this dough is a real treat. Just be sure not to eat it all before you bake off a couple of cookies.

And because there are some people out there that can’t help themselves from we can change recipes and expect them to come out the same (and we definitely know who we are…) I thought I’d make my cookies more American-sized than she does. But when larger, I found they’re a bit more chancy to pick up so I would follow Clotilde’s instructions and make them smaller. If you want larger cookies, make each one from 1 tablespoon of dough and bake for about 20 minutes.

For the cookies, I used Green & Black’s 70% organic chocolate and Vahlrona cocoa powder. If you don’t have cocoa nibs, you can leave them out but I can’t emphasize how really good they are in these cookies. Since I was serving these after a Mexi-Fest, I opted to dust the tops with a soupçon of sel cannelle, a very strong cinnamon salt I like. But you could use any good sea salt, like grains of fleur de sel

  • ½ cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) whole-wheat flour*
  • ¼ cup (25 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped in chip-sized chunks
  • ¼ cup (30 g) cocoa nibs
  • ½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon (125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) (packed) light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla and/or chocolate extract**
  • optional: cinnamon salt or fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

1. In a small bowl, sift both flours, cocoa powder and baking soda together.

2. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave), melt half of the chocolate (2½ oz, 70g), then let cool to room temperature. Mix the other half of the chocolate chunks a bowl with the cocoa nibs.

3. Beat the butter with a standing electric mixer, or by hand, just until smooth. Beat in the sugar, salt and vanilla or chocolate extract.

4. By hand, stir in the melted chocolate, then the flour-cocoa mixture. Then finally the chocolate chunks and nibs.

5. Scoop the dough into rounded teaspoons and place evenly-spaced on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon salt or fleur de sel, if desired, then bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies take on a slightly dry sheen to the top. They may feel soft, but don’t worry; they’re firm up just fine when cool.

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*I asked Clotilde why she chose to use some whole-wheat flour in this recipe. Though she was busy polishing her Birkenstocks, she hitched up her draw-string pants and told me simply that she liked the flavor. Since I had some leftover from my No-Knead bread fiascos, I put it to use. I would imagine you could use 100% all-purpose flour.

** Chocolate extract is an interesting product which I was introduced to after I’d written my first book. I got a letter from Ben Katzenstein who attended the college as I did although we never met, and he mentioned his family had a company that made extracts, Star Kay White. So he offered to send me some samples. I fell in love with their chocolate extract, which is made by steeping cocoa beans in alcohol—it adds another chocolate-flavored dimension to baked goods and ice creams and I find myself adding half-capful or so to most chocolate things I make.

36 comments

  • This recipe reminds me of the best chocolate cookie ever, the Korova cookie, one of Pierre Hermé’s best recipe for the only reason that I absolutely adore chocolate with fleur de sel…The cocoa nibs seem like a great addition though … (seems like those nibs are popping everywhere lately David!!!!)

  • So now, after finally just buying your book, you have make a good case for why I need to buy Clotilde’s book too. Those recipes sound incredible and those cookies look divine.

  • Yesterday read your piece on egg whites and had to try the chocolate and coconut macarons. They were just a bit of heaven and oooh I ate too many. Interesting…my corner market only had Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chips…a brand I usually stay away from, preferring Scharffenberger for baking. But the Ghirardelli chips tasted great with the coconut and…oh I ate too many. Thanks

  • I have all the required ingredients at home! Isn’t that a sign that I have to make them today? Thanks for posting this recipe.And I enjoy reading your blog! :)

  • Mandy: I made them last night, and today I only have 3 left. So let me know when they come out of the oven—I’ll be right over.

    izzy’s mama: Good thing you got my book when you did. I’ve implanted a secret microchip in each copy and as of next month, only book owners will be have access the super top-secret, well-hidden categories of this blog that contain my deepest-held thoughts which are unavailable to anyone else. Prepare to be shocked, excited, perplexed, anxious and maybe even a bit titillated.

    Clotilde’s book I’m not sure has one, but it’s a great read and the recipes, like these cookies, are really enticing.

  • “You know those folks who love to find mistakes in recipes?” Well, I don’t think I’m one of them, but I did find myself wondering what oven temperature to use for this (delicious-looking) cookie recipe…

  • George: It was in there, but you perhaps didn’t have the top-secret microchip embedded that allowed access to the oven temperature.

    As a courtesy, I added it so it’s now visible to all.
    ; )

  • hi david–can you tell me where to find cocoa nibs in paris? and can you mix cinnamon and sea salt to make your special cinnamon salt? (where do you get that btw?) thanks in advance…

  • Clotilde seems so nice, like someone who just “gets it”…
    I will try this recipe for the wee toddlers I have running about my legs at home. Nothing like chocolate to get them going even more!
    Thanks!

  • Reading your blog about Clotilde’s cookies made be have another piece of her Chocolate & Zucchini Cake which I made last night. I love her book and agree that her recipes are best if followed exactly.

    First time I made the cake, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, because that is what I had on hand. Cake is definitely better with bittersweet chocolate. I’ve also made the Mustard Chicken Stew which was wonderful, except I didn’t quite get what to do with the garlic paste. All and all, a beautiful book.

    btw, Your blog is wonderful!

  • David, you are RIGHT ON. First you’ve been providing regular articles & recipes on gelato & ice cream this season at the height of my interest in eating & making them. For my birthday I received The Perfect Scoop along with the ICE 50BCC. I’m churning! THEN, as I’m tiring of scrambled egg whites with shredded cheddar, you come along with ways-with-egg-whites. And NOW, some GREAT chocolate cookies from a fellow food artist. I just made them – they spread gracefully, are moist/crisp without being chewy or crunchy. Very pleasant texture. And I love how they have some whole wheat in them. Thanks for presenting great food for thought – your own & those of others. I look forward to your entries every day.

  • David,
    What works best…freezing unused dough or baking the cookies and freezing uneaten cookies?
    I’ve done both, but wonder what an expert thinks…

  • What is with that?! I LOVE the Badoit, (though I seem to prefer San Peligrino and love how cheap it is here in France) so what’s up with this woman claiming to no longer have any?

    Were they saving it for some sort of after-hours employee gathering?! I am so annoyed by French shop owners/workers sometimes. It’s as if they really enjoy having a sucky economy. :ol

  • Mlle Smith: It’s just one of those quirky things, where the first word is “Non”, then you have to talk them into it.

    But sometimes you just don’t question it (like when my bank told me “we don’t have any change“) and save yourself the frustration and just get a good laugh from it. It was amusing and it’s nice to know that French folks find these things as odd as we do.

    Lesley: I would freeze the uncooked dough. Aside from them tasting better freshly-baked, the cookies are too delicate to last in the freezer. But once you taste one, I doubt they’d make it into the freezer to begin with.

    haapi: You can get cocoa nibs at G. Detou. They sell them by the kilo, but they’re only about 12€, which is a deal. And they last for quite a while (or you can split a bag with someone.)

    For the salt, you can click on the link to see where in France I get mine.

  • “Before I met Clotilde, I was certain she was some burly truck-driver from Wisconsin pulling a fast one over on us all.”

    Why hate on Wisconsin? We have offered so much to the culinary world – fine dairy products (who can resist squeaky cheese curds?), good beers (Leinie’s, anyone?), delicious Door County cherries and so much more! We love everyone (well, except people from Illinois) – so show us some love right back!

    Christy, a Wisconsin girl living in Florida

  • I have a friend who recently became allergic to chocolate and seeing this post makes me really, really sad for her. These cookies look amazing! That gooey part is staring me in the face…

  • I just made these, and let me say…wow!! First of all, a glass of milk is in order during and after preparation…for the dough (so good!) and then for the cookies.
    I had no cocoa nibs, but I got creative and put in 1/4 cup of crumbled Montelimar nougat. They turned out pretty great!

  • Christy: Who’s got anything against Wisconsin? And who’s got anything against big, burly truck drivers?

  • Thank you for the comment about the Valrhona cocoa powder. Recipe calls for Dutch process cocoa powder, which is not available in local stores. I have Valrhona in my pantry, and assumed it was not suitable since it was not “Dutch process.”

    So thank you for that little tidbit — I’m off to make the cookies now!

    Love love your blog!

  • Hi Elaine: All European cocoa powders are Dutched—although there may be some that aren’t, I’ve never seen them. The notation is mostly for those in the US, where Dutched and ‘Natural’ cocoa powder are available and in some recipes they’re not interchangable.

    In the US, “Dutched’ brands include Droste, Valrhona and even Hershey’s, which makes a Dutch-process chocolate (that’s similar to the black-ish stuff they use for Oreos), and others are available. And natural cocoa powders, brands like ScharffenBerger, regular Hershey’s and Nestlé’s are the most commonly available.

    When in doubt, look at the ingredients. Often a Dutching agent like potassium bromate or carbonate will be listed in the ingredients. I think in the US they have to list it, although elsewhere, I don’t think it’s required. Sometimes it’s also labeled ‘alkalized’ cocoa instead of Dutched.

    Glad you’re enjoying the blog and hope you like the cookies as much as I do. Or did!

  • I just noticed for the flours that the weight conversions are different for the whole wheat and regular flour, but the volumes are the same. If I substitute all regular flour, should I use the weight of 70 grams? The recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it.

  • Janet: It’s because whole wheat flour is coarser so that was the metric equivalent I got when I measured adn weighed it out. If using all-purpose, I would go with the 70g.

  • Didn’t have chocolate or vanilla extract so I substituted espresso. They turned out delish and made fantastic icecream sandwiches!

  • I just put these in the oven! I had to leave out all the “extras” (whole wheat flower, nibs, chocolate liqueur) because I didn’t have them, and these were a spur of the moment thing. The batter tasted awesome though (I used Lindt 85% extra dark chocolate). Can’t wait to taste them when their done.

    I’ll have to try out some ice cream in the middle like JoJo suggested!

  • Hi David! Comme ca va?

    I’m about to make these cookies and was just wondering…what would happen if I DID add eggs? I do prefer a chewy cookie. Does adding eggs make them chewy? Would it throw off the recipe?

    Thanks!

    PS: made your German Chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday. Outstanding! However, I didn’t realize you needed to refrigerate the chocolate ganache frosting and was struggling with it running down the sides of the cake. (This minor detail was oddly absent from the recipe…or was it? Guess I need that top-secret microchip.) Anyway, figured it out and it is absolutely my favorite chocolate frosting. EVER.

  • Itching to try this, it looks very similar to the Pierre Hermé chocolate sablés recipe reproduced on Foodbeam: Sablés au chocolat et à la fleur de sel.

    Wish I could figure out the science behind what difference melting half the chocolate makes to the end product. I’m guessing goo-ier? Or the addition of white sugar to the sablés, I think I read somewhere white sugar gives more crispness/dryness? And I don’t know what a ‘sandy’ texture is at all! Not sure it sounds as appetising as crisp-crumbly-gooey.

    I guess you could take Clotilde’s dough and wrap it in plastic, then fridge or freeze it so you get thicker, cleaner little discs? I think I’ll give that a try. Will also try adding some crushed honeycomb and a few white chocolate chips for my inner 4 year old. :)

  • Well, I don’t know if it’s the altitude (Denver) or I did something else wrong, but these just did not turn out for me. The taste is OK but the texture is like sand. I tried underbaking them and that didn’t make any difference. The dough sure is good, though, and I’m happy to know about cocoa nibs now. So thanks for that!

  • I think I’m having some troubles with the recipe. I followed it pretty much (but used all plain flour instead of 1/2 whole wheat), but the dough felt very dry and when the cookies didn’t spread like the pictures above. Do you have any suggestions? Should I reduce the amount of flour?

  • Hi Kitt: Since it’s not my recipe, you should probably head over to Clotilde’s site. She has forums set up for folks to ask questions about recipes there and that’s the best place to find out what’s up.

  • so i went into my kitchen after reading this recipe. for s.o. living in germany and not having brown sugar in the “english-way” available i decided to try german-brown-sugar which is normally cane sugar. that gave -combined with the seasalt- the cookies a muchsaltier taste (i didn´t sprinkle them) as i had expected – very nice! after finally heading to the english shop in town and being able to get hold of the last bag of light brown sugar i again did the baking (though all the others were gone…) and i have to admit, the taste is VERY different, in a good way.
    after my shoppingtrip, i had someting going through my mind and so now here comes the question: though i perfectly know the difference between brown sugar and “brown”(cane)sugar, i don´t get the difference between light and dark brown sugar. is it only the colour (also for the dough and the product) or is there also a taste-difference?! as someone who has to pay LOADS of money for a bag of the original brown sugar, i really would appreciate it, if you could explain the difference to me, so that i´ll be able to tell my husband, why the space in the kitchen again had to shrink ;)
    thank you in advance, also for the great recipes all over your side :)

  • I realized a few hours ago that I needed to make something to share with friends tomorrow, so I was scrounging around for a recipe for which I already had all the necessary ingredients when I remembered that you have a goldmine of a blog. Now my apartment smells like heaven, and these cookies taste even better. All I need to do now is find some cocoa nibs for the next batch. . .

    Thanks for sharing Clotilde’s recipe, and thank you for sharing so many wonderful recipes of your own!

  • Thanks for this recipe! My college apartment smells like chocolate, and my roommates and I are floating on a cocoa high.

  • Seems like it would be even better to bloom the cocoa in some boiling water to enhance the chocolate flavor.

  • Hi David, love your blog and all the humour. I just have a burning curiosity to find out something from you: with all the sweet treats you have baking and lying around in the house, how do you prevent ants from invading your kitchen? Similarly to the professional restaurant kitchen – how?? I’m a clean freak and wipe down/disinfect my kitchen surfaces and ants are still marching ard!

  • They came out looking like the photo but they tasted quite sugary with a grainy texture ?

  • i just made a batch of Pierre Herme’s Perfect Tart Dough, and it was a real devil to work with because it had so much butter and i am located in Singapore (high humidity, tropical temperature), the dough starts to shine in.. … 3-5 minutes? after being taken out of the fridge/freezer. despite the amazing light crumbly texture that the tarts had (guests felt that it was a tad bland.. though i felt that the neutral dough meant that the filling can shine), i doubt i will be doing them as tarts soon. so i was thinking, is there any way that i can transform the remaining dough into a chocolate chip cookie or chocolate chip swirl cookie? (preferably using the caramalized white chocolate. it spent about 1hr 20minutes in the oven, and the taste is AMAZING. i bought a chocolate bar mold and gave a bar to a friend who is an avid baker. )