You might imagine that making a chocolate version of a favorite non-chocolate cookie (or cake, or whatever) is not only a splendid idea, but also simply a matter of adding cocoa powder or melted chocolate to dough or batter. If it were only that simple! That's why I keep my food processor on the counter. What?
Both cocoa and melted chocolate change the texture of whatever you add them. When cocoa is added to a batter or dough, we normally have to subtract some flour and add some sugar. That’s not too hard to figure out, though it may take a couple of trials. But, the texture that results from adding cocoa is not always as good as the original non-chocolate version.
Adding melted chocolate can be more disappointing still. Chocolate that’s melted and mixed into a dough or batter can make the crumb of a cookie or cake dense and hard. This is because the fat in the chocolate (cocoa butter) melts at a higher temperature than butter and sets up harder at room temperature than butter, so that a cookie that used to be tender (or a cake that used to be moist) can suddenly feel dry and almost stale in your mouth. Who wants that?
One great (and pretty easy) trick for adding chocolate without destroying the crumb of a tender cookie or the texture of a moist cake is to chop or pulverize chocolate into tiny bits—smaller than mini chocolate chips—and mix or fold those bits into the dough or batter. Mingling bits of chocolate in the dough, rather than melting and mixing it in, prevents the ingredients (especially the flour particles) from becoming completely coated with the cocoa butter in the chocolate. As a result, you get the better of two worlds—the great texture of the original cookie (or what have you) and lots of chocolate flavor from all of those tiny bits of chocolate.
The shortbread recipe that follows is a good example. For another example, try my chocolate tea cakes. Meanwhile, don’t think you’ve heard the end of the discussion, as I’m working on a chocolate chiffon cake makeover this very minute (coming soon!).
- 1 (11-12 ounce) bag (311-340 grams) dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (140 grams) gluten-free oat flour
- 1/3 cup (50 grams) white rice flour
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 3/8 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon water