pastry shop almond chocolate chip cookies

Photo by Yunhee Kim 

It’s never good to lie to your children. But, when you have an 11-pound box of chocolate pistoles and a three-year-old in the same room, you better be prepared to fudge the truth a little. When Greta asked me what the not-so-inconspicuous (okay, enormous) glass jar on the counter was filled with, I said buttons. Which wasn’t entirely false.

Pistoles are the chocolate disks that pastry chefs rely on as a quick melting chocolate. They really do look like buttons, and at the time of my tiny untruth, I might have actually believed that pistoles meant button in French (Google has since set me straight: button is bouton). 

Pistoles' uniform size and shape help them to melt consistently, eliminating the need for chopping chocolate from bars and blocks. I got hooked on them during my restaurant days; they sustained me on the afternoons when I couldn’t stomach, say, tripe stew another day for staff lunch. Once I discovered you could buy them online and keep them at home, too, I never looked back. I do sometimes use them as melting chocolate, but I think they’re best employed as the ultimate chocolate chip.

I’ve said many times before there are a lot of bad cookies out there. There’s no reason for it. Cookies are easy. Cookies are your moment to shine, no matter how unaccomplished you deem yourself to be at baking. They're your opportunity to play like a pastry chef and make something really worthy of the beautiful glass cases that lure us through pastry shop windows. That is the inspiration behind this, my latest chocolate chip cookie endeavor (here’s my former one): a chunky, chubby chocolate-laced mouthful.

So about that little fib: András, a more righteous soul than I, caught me in the lie, confessed the truth to Greta, and she’s been asking for “one chocolate button” in her lunchbox ever since. But here’s the good news: one chocolate pistoles is pretty harmless—a perfect little treat, a treasure, a token easily given without much backlash.  And, even better news: when they’re right there on the counter every day (all 11 pounds of them), they do kind of loose their tempting charm. Except, of course, in these cookies, when they are oozy and mysterious. They are the kind of thing that cause you to pause and say “what is that chocolate chip?” That’s your cue to explain, it’s not a chip at all, but a button—a lush, decadent little buton chocolat.

Pst. Here’s where I buy mine.


¹⁄₃ cup/45 g skin-on almonds (see Cook’s Note, below)
2¼ cups/280 g whole-wheat white flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup/155 g firmly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup/155 g unbleached raw sugar
4 egg yolks, at room temperature, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
9 oz/255 g high-quality bittersweet chocolate pistoles, chopped bittersweet chocolate, or large chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor, stopping when the almonds are still coarse, with some powdery bits.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat together the butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, two at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until it just comes together, scraping down the bowl as needed to make sure the butter is evenly incorporated. Give the dough a final mix with a mixer or by hand.

Divide the dough in half in the bowl (like splitting the Red Sea). Pour in half of the chocolate and half of the ground almonds and give the dough a few strokes with a wooden spoon to marble and streak the almonds and chocolate in. Add the remaining chocolate and all but 2 to 3 tbsp of the ground almonds. Fold in loosely, but don’t mix in completely, so that visible streaks of ground almonds remain throughout the dough.

Scoop a heaping 1 tbsp of dough and place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 3 in/7.5 cm between cookies, until both baking sheets are full. Brush each cookie with beaten egg, then sprinkle with ground almonds. Bake until the cookies are set and golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, about 10 minutes, switching the baking sheets between the top and bottom racks halfway through cooking.

Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies with a thin spatula to a wire rack to cool, or just slide the parchment paper with the cookies directly onto the wire rack. Let the baking sheets cool completely before using to bake the remaining dough, lining with more parchment paper if needed. Serve while the oozing chocolate layers are still warm. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
COOK’S NOTE. You can buy almond meal or almond flour in specialty stores, but to add tex­ture to this cookie, I like to make my own chunkier version from ground skin-on almonds.

photo by Yunhee Kim


With Style and Grace said...

Oh yeah. I need to make a gluten-free version asap!

Sarah Copeland said...

Lisa, I would love to hear what tweaks you would make to make it GF! More almond flour? And what other flours? So exciting, keep me posted!

Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

These cookies look perfect! So chewy and delicious!

momskitchenhandbook said...

I think I need to order 11 pounds of pistoles immediately. Making these soon.

Kasey said...

Three for me, please! xx

Kate Ramos said...

Yum, yum, yum, these look awesome!

Sarah Copeland said...

Thank you all! Hope st.nick brings a big box of pistoles your way next week! ;)

laura said...

Beautiful! There is nothing quite as homey as a good chocolate chip cookie!

Pastries and Coffee said...

Can't wait to be at home to prepare this for our midnight snack.

Peet S Coffee

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Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.