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    Chewy Chocolate Drop Cookies

    ‘Tis the season for candy cane drink stirrers, gingerbread houses dripping with frosting and cookies dedicated to sugar. It’s a sugar-coated few weeks, during which I find relief in dark chocolate treats. These bite sized Chewy Chocolate Drop Cookies are one of my favorites. The crisp exterior hides a fudge-like inside and bold flavor, with lingering notes of red fruit and wine.

    Ingredients
    2 bars plus 3 squares (~8 ounces) EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa Bar
    4 ounces unsalted butter
    ⅔ cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1⅔ cups flour
    ½ cup confectioners sugar

    Directions
    Place the chocolate squares and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook for three 30 second intervals, stirring thoroughly after each session until the chocolate is almost melted. Whisk until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture is smooth; Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

    In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and espresso powder. With the machine running on low, drizzle in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.

    In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and stir on low until the batter just comes together and no flour is visible.

    Chill the dough for 1 hour or until dough is firm. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and set two racks in the upper and lower middle positions.

    Portion the dough with a 2 teaspoon-sized cookie scoop or spoon then roll each one into a sphere. Transfer the dough balls to a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1½ inches between them. Continue portioning until all dough is used.

    Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, switching the position of the pans (top to bottom, and front to back) halfway through the baking time. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on the sheet pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Sprinkle the cooled cookies with confectioners sugar, if desired.

    This recipe makes about 40 Cookies.

    Kerry Stantonhttp://chefkerrystanton.com
    Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald.“I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”

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