These are the kinds of mountains I am happy to climb.   Immediately upon returning home from Ecuador two of my best friends had birthdays so I had to get to baking pretty quick.  I made these for Stephanie–chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks and walnuts.  Yum.  These were soft and chewy and the chunks stayed melty because it’s so humid and warm here and the walnuts were nice and crunchy.  My only complaint was that the flavor was somehow a little…flat.  dull.  I know, it just lacked pop–maybe it needed more coffee, more vanilla, more chocolate?  Of course, I’m the only one who thought this (as far as I know) and Chris and I definitely had absolutely no trouble polishing off the extras…neither did my coworkers or Stephanie’s, whom she said inhaled them in about five minutes and then were dying to know where the heck they came from!  I’ll play around with them a bit next time I make them, though that won’t be for a while since I still have 26 recipes from this book to make before I’ve made them all, which is my goal.

Chunky Chocolate Mountains

adapted from Big Fat Cookies

3 ounces unsweetened or baking chocolate, chopped

2 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp water

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

3 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350, with a rack in the middle.

Put the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth.  Set aside.

Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, vegetable shortening, sugar, and brown sugar until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute.  Mix in the melted chocolate.  Add the eggs, vanilla and dissolved coffee and mix until smoothly blended, about 1 minute.  Add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.  Mix in the nuts and chocolate chunks.

Using a small to medium ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of dough and place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake one sheet at a time for 10 minutes.  The outside will turn dull and the interiors of the cookies will still be quite soft.

Cool the cookies for 15 minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely–it will take at least 4 hours for the chocolate to firm up (or, never, if it’s July in Boston).  They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days (and will be better microwaved for a few seconds the longer they hang around).