Chocolate-Caramel-Sea Salt Cookies

These cookies were a hilarious experiment. I love aging my cookie dough by a few days just so that the exterior of the cookies get really crispy. For these cookies, I did that same technique, but because I also substituted the eggs with sourdough. From a baking standpoint, eggs provide protein to bind doughs and batters together, as well as a little loft from the additional moisture causing steam to form, giving anything that contains the eggs a little rise. In this case, by using sourdough starter, the glutens in sourdough work similarly to the proteins in eggs, and on top of the sourdough providing moisture like how an egg would, it also creates additional life from being a leavening agent. That and sourdough provides a tangy flavor that really brings the cocoa powder to life(black vinegar chocolate cake anyone?). So for all of those reasons, the real question is, why haven’t we been using sourdough starter instead of eggs in a cookie recipe? Well, besides the fact that sourdough starter takes a while to make and consumes a lot of flour, but even then, if you have any starter on hand, this is a pretty good recipe to use(you can sub with 2 eggs if you feel like sourdough cookies are for weirdos).

Beyond just the sourdough, I am using two kinds of Valrhona chocolates, being manjari 64%, a fruitier dark chocolate, and dulcey 32%, which is slowly caramelized white chocolate, also called blonde chocolate. I find that the two pair off of one another really well, since one is bitter and floral and the other is toasty and sweet! The usage of fleur de sel works with each chocolate individually, and especially well with them together, in this cookie. The sourdough, you would not really taste it too much in the finished product, however, the consistency it brings these cookies is pretty awesome – they are soft, almost melt-in-the-mouth tender, while the chocolate flavor from the sourdough and cacao chemically reacting to one another is especially pronounced. These cookies are perfect for a chocolate-fiend, and I highly recommend giving them a whirl, especially if you happen to still have any sourdough starter from 2020 lying around!

Makes 14 cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups chopped manjari 64%
2/3 cups chopped dulcey 32%
1/2 cup black cacao powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
fleur de sel
14 manjari feves
14 dulcey feves

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 10 minutes – the final result will be white in color and tripled the volume. Add into that the sourdough, baking powder and soda, salt, vanilla, chocolates, and cacao powder first, and fold together. Then add into that the flour. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 days to allow the sourdough to ferment the cocoa – this will intensify the cacao flavor while also giving the dough time to properly hydrate. Scoop into 14 balls and place on 2 sheet trays lined with parchment or silpats, spacing them at least 2 inches apart from one another. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, press in 1 manjari and 1 dulcey feve onto each cookie and sprinkle on fleur de sel to finish.

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