When you visit our store and bakery in Norwich, Vermont, one of the more irresistible offerings in the bakery’s case are large, shiny, crackly-topped delights called Flourless Fudge Cookies. There’s no greater testament to the magical alchemy of cocoa, egg whites, and sugar than these dark, delicious circles of goodness.
At the bakery, and across the river at Dartmouth College in their Baker-Berry Café, we sell between 35 and 45 of these delicious, palm-sized cookies every day. Which means that when King Arthur baker Maggie J. Perry makes cookies at the bakery, she’s working at a slightly different scale than you or I do at home. The steps, however, are the same. Let’s go behind the big bakery window and see how the pros go about it.
Confectioners’ sugar and Bensdorp cocoa are put through a screen to take out lumps. I use a whisk; Maggie uses some muscle.
Egg whites and vanilla are next. Maggie has her mise en place all ready, and is moving to the mixer to put everything together.
The bakery’s batch is mixed in a 60-quart mixer (the bowl holds 15 gallons, if that helps you visualize), and makes more than 40 pounds of dough, which will keep in the walk-in refrigerator for almost a week.
My mixer is a little more basic.
Time to scoop. Maggie is using a muffin scoop, which makes a cookie that’s about 4″ across, a size that makes a statement in the bakery case.
Our home recipe calls for smaller options: a teaspoon scoop for smaller cookies, and a tablespoon scoop for 3″ diameter ones. Maggie gives each cookie plenty of space on this full sheet pan (18″ wide, 24″ long).
The bakery uses a large convection oven, and the fan will set the outside of the cookies pretty quickly, before they spread very much.
It did. The smooshed cookies (center above) were more round, and not as tall, obviously. All perfectly delicious, just a little different.Now THAT’S an oven! Imagine having your entire linen closet at home heated to 350°F. Most of us don’t have to think of heat-resistant soles for our shoes when we bake, but when you have an oven like this, it’s a real concern!
A few short minutes in the oven; about 10 minutes to cool before you take them off the pan, and here they are, in all their lusciousness.
If you can’t get to Vermont – hopefully you can get into your kitchen. Have you been to our store? Do you have a favorite cookie from our bakery?