Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and SMOKED SEA SALT Cookies ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Jan

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Oh, what a pinch of salt can do for a dessert. A pinch of salt can enhance the flavor of chocolate, perk up a lemon curd and make a pie crust pop.

What about SMOKED SALT?! I recently acquired a shaker of smoked sea salt, and I think it has great potential in desserts, if used sparingly, mostly with chocolate or nuts (sorry lemon bars and lemon tarts, I do not think smoked sea salt is your friend). Imagine a light sprinkle of smoked sea salt atop an intense chocolate brownie, a milk chocolate pudding or a pecan pie. Woah.

This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is all about turning up the heat with smoke and spiciness.

“From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.”

I figured that most of the Recipe ReDuxers would be coming up with savory creations, so I decided to keep things sweet and smokey over here.

(See December’s Recipe ReDux post here)

Joy the Baker‘s recipe for Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies from her latest cookbook, Homemade Decadence, was perfect for my sweet and smokey ReDux challenge. And yes, the salt enhances the flavor of the chocolate and the nuts, and the smokiness adds a little something unique at the very end.

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Pistachio nuts add an unexpected hint of green to these cookies. Pistachios are a great snack food, too, since a large handful, about 40 or so nuts, is only about 150 calories.

A few general and “healthy” cookie tips:

  • Room temperature butter is KEY. Take the butter out in the morning, or even the night before and just let it hang out on the counter for a few hours. While you are at it, take the egg out along with the butter. Let’s keep it all room temp. Nothing will spoil, I promise.
  • I use “scant” amounts of sugar rather than exact measurements. If I am baking at home, I can get away with using slightly (just slightly) less sugar than the recipe calls for. I do not pack my brown sugar into the measuring cup either. Lopping too much off of the original sugar amount(s), however, could tinker with the texture of the final product…so don’t do it.
  • Add some healthy fat. I added a little ground flaxseed to these dark chocolate-pistachio-smoked sea salt cookies. I probably could have gotten away with adding slightly more, maybe a full tablespoon instead of 1 1/2 teaspoons. P.S. I store my ground flaxseed in the freezer to keep it fresh, and you should, too.
  • Swap at least half of the white/all-purpose flour for something heartier like white whole wheat, whole wheat or oat flour. I used white whole wheat flour for the full amount of flour called for in this recipe.
  • I prefer rustic, free-form cookie shapes over perfectly round shapes. To portion cookies on a cookie sheet, I like to use a small 1-inch diameter ice cream scoop/cookie drop. Scoop and plop. Do not form into a perfect circle or flatten the scoop too much. Just scoop and plop and stop futzing.

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Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and SMOKED SEA SALT Cookies ~*Recipe ReDux*~

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence, also from her blog

Makes about 24 – 30 cookies; NOTE: Scant means slightly less than

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Scant 1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour (I used white whole wheat flour)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt (Kosher salt or fine sea salt works)

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (or chunks)

1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

Smoked sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet (or 2 baking sheets, if you have 2) with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flaxseed, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture all at once to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until just incorporated. Beat in the chocolate chips and nuts.

4. Scoop the cookie dough about 2 tablespoons per cookie (I like to use a small ice cream scoop to portion the cookies), onto the prepared baking sheet(s), leaving about 2 inches in between each cookie . Sprinkle generously with smoked sea salt.

*If you have only 1 baking sheet: Bake 1 round of cookies and refrigerate the remaining dough while the first round bakes. Once out of the oven, let the first round of baked cookies cool a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Re-use the same parchment paper for the next batch. Scoop the remaining dough, sprinkle with smoked salt and bake. 

5. Bake until just golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan(s) for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTE: The cookies will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days. Or, scoop the cookies onto a plate or baking sheet, stick the plate or baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour, then take the scooped semi-frozen cookies and place them in an airtight tupperware or zipped bag and return to the freezer. Bake off cookies as desired, right from the freezer.

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8 Responses to “Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and SMOKED SEA SALT Cookies ~*Recipe ReDux*~”

  1. cassieskitchennyc January 22, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    I’ve made these from joy’s blog and they are Absolutely incredible!! I love the sweet/salty combination – I had to take them straight into work because I probably would have eaten the whole batch.

    • figsinmybelly January 22, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

      Nice! Yes, I forgot she posted about them on her blog, too. I will add that link in my post. I took some of the cookies to a friend’s house and froze some of the dough for later, too. It’s good to share the cookie love 🙂

  2. Rebecca January 23, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    I’m ooohhing and aaahing over these flavor combinations!

  3. Nutrition a la Natalie January 23, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

    These look so good! Had I seen them before class, I would have insisted that you bring me some haha.

    • figsinmybelly January 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      Ha, thanks, Natalie! I should bring you some smoked salt, I have tons. Good luck with the cheeeese.

  4. Almost Getting It Together January 25, 2015 at 7:16 am #

    Chocolate and pistachios are my favorite. Oh and sea salt with ANYTHING! I want a batch of these cookies right now!

    • figsinmybelly January 26, 2015 at 4:53 am #

      Such good combos all around. I hope you make them!

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