Originally created 03/08/06

A chocolate chip cookie has its winning moment

NAPA, Calif. - Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts pays attention to many aspects of gracious living and dining, not least the chocolate chip cookie.

Copia's "Best Darn Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest" attracted more than 160 recipes, from as far away as Italy. A recent final tasting produced the first-place winner: the Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie, created by Chaim Potter of Napa.

The judges' comment: "These delicious cookies almost melt in your mouth. The flavor and scent are reminiscent of warm Mexican hot chocolate. And the rich chocolate stays gooey long after they cool - if they last that long. They seem to disappear as fast as you can pull them out of the oven."

Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

¼ pound coarsely chopped good-quality dark chocolate

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and black pepper. Set aside.

In a small heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter. Let cool slightly. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the melted chocolate mixture with the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Line a 17-by-12-inch cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1½-inch ice-cream scoop, drop scoops of the cookie dough onto the parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until they look flat and the surfaces crack (cookies should still be soft in texture). Let the cookies cool on the parchment on wire cooling racks. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes about 3 dozen.

(Recipe created by Chaim Potter, of Napa, Calif.)

Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts is a nonprofit cultural center and museum.

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