Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal owns Chicago’s highly popular HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar. Her book, “Cookie Love,” is composed like “the ultimate cookie plate: the recipes are sometimes whimsical ... sometimes nostalgic ... And sometimes plain-old good.”
I would add that the recipes are often unusual and occasionally complex. In fact, the following recipe is probably the book’s least complicated. However, they are almost all compelling.
Envision your traditional thumbprint cookie reimagined as chocolate filled with hot fudge; your biscotti turned savory with oats, dates, and seeds; your rugelach crisped by butter brickle — and you will understand the reason for buying it. Published by Ten Speed Press. $24.99.
Reach Marion Sullivan at email@example.com.
Adapted from “Cookie Love” by Mindy Segal
Makes 36 cookies
This might date me, but when I was a kid, you could always find Chunky bars alongside all the other popular candy bars. True to the name, it was a chunky chocolate bar filled with raisins and peanuts. This dough is remarkably easy to work with and so rich that you’d think it was full of butter and flour. But, it’s flourless and dairy free. — Mindy Segal
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Spanish red-skinned peanuts
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate discs (preferably 64 percent cacao)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg whites, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until a smooth, shiny batter forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in the raisins, peanuts, and chocolate discs.
Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with plastic wrap, leaving a 4-inch overhang on all sides. Transfer the dough to the pan and pat down into the pan to make it even. Cover the dough with the overhanging plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a couple of nonstick pans ready or line a couple of 13-by-18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and place on a work surface. Using a 1-inch square cookie cutter, punch out squares. Smoosh the scraps together and cut out more cookies. Or, cut the dough crosswise into 6 even strips and cut each strip into 6 pieces. Evenly space 12 to 14 cookies on each prepared pan.
Bake one pan at a time for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the tops are barely set, another 3 to 5 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
(Reprinted with permission from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal, copyright 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.)