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The First Chocolate Cookie


4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, broken up or coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups (about 4 1/2 oz.) blanched or unblanched sliced almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
7-8 oz. almond paste, cut into chunks
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus a little more for topping
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 3/4 cup (3 oz.) very finely chopped blanched slivered almonds or chocolate jimmies, or some powdered sugar, for topping (optional)


In a small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate on 100 percent power for 1 minute. Stir well. Continue microwaving on 50 percent power, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stop microwaving before the chocolate completely melts and let the residual heat finish the job.(Alternatively, in a small, heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently; be very careful not to burn. Immediately remove from the heat.)
In a food processor, process the almonds and sugar until the almonds are very finely ground, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the almond paste, powdered sugar, and chocolate and process for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the almond paste, powdered sugar, and chocolate and process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping and scraping down the bowl as necessary, until very well blended; the mixtue will be crumbly. Add the egg whites and vanilla and process in on/off pulses just until the mixture stiffens and the processor motor labors; immediately stop the processor. If the mixture is not thoroughly blended, turn out the dough into a medium bowl and vigorously stir until well blended. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours, or until the dough firms up.

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Shape portions of the dough into scant 1 1/4-inch balls with lightly greased hands. Roll the balls in the chopped almonds or chocolate jimmies, if using, until thoroughly coated. Place on the baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the ovenfor 10 to 14 minutes, or until barely firm when pressed in the centers. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Slide the cookies, still attached to the parchment or foil, onto a wire rack. Let stand until completely cooled. Carefully peel the cookies from the parchment or foil. If the macaroons have not been decorated with almonds or jimmies, sift a little powdered sugar over them.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze up to 1 month.

From: The All American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett


Prior to the mid-1800's, chocolate cookies were largely unknown in this country. The first chocolate cookie I've found is a sketchy receipt for rich, candy-like, chocolate-almond macaroons in an 1832 cookbook, The Cook's Own Book, by "A Bsoton Housekeeper" named Mrs. N.K.M. Lee. It would be nice to credit Mrs. Lee with a great American cookie breakthrough, but I can't: she copied her recipe word for word from the Cook's Dictionary and Housekeeper's Directory, written by a British aughor of the same period, Richard Dolby. Nevertheless, Mrs. Lee's introduction of a chocolate cookie to the American public was the first step in a long "chocolafication" process that has ultimately resulted in a complete cookie paradigm shift. In two hundred years, we have gone from no chocolate cookies to nearly all our favorite cookies containing chocolate.