Musket Room knows the importance of a good holiday cookie. The Michelin-starred restaurant has teamed with James Beard award-winning pastry chef Melissa Weller, formerly the head baker at Per Se, Roberta’s and Bouchon, for a one-day cookie pop-up on Dec. 13. Weller worked in collaboration with Musket Room executive chef Mary Attea to create a box of Japanese-inspired desserts, incorporating ingredients like yuzu, matcha, shiso plum jam and pocky. The box will be available to preorder via Resy and pick up from “MR All-Day,” the restaurant’s outdoor stand operating out of a vintage Harvester truck parked at 265 Elizabeth St. in SoHo. Musket Room’s own pastry chef Camari Mick is also offering her own spin on a holiday treat box, which includes challah, eggs and traditional holiday cookies.
Drawing on her many years of working in the New York restaurant world — Weller also founded Sadelle’s, and was a partner at High Street on Hudson — the baker penned her first cookbook, “A Good Bake.” Below, a cookie recipe excerpt from the book, released in November.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Makes 16 to 18 (2-inch) cookies
These are everything I want in a chocolate sugar cookie: they’re really chocolaty, not too sweet, ever-so-slightly salty, and a bit chewy. And they have that beautiful crackle on top that, for me, is the sign of a perfect rise-and-fall cookie. A rise-and-fall cookie refers to one that rises in the oven and then falls when you take it out. The rise-and-fall process is a result of the baking soda reacting with the cocoa powder and brown sugar before the cookie is set. When the cookies are removed from the oven, they fall, giving them that crackle top. How quickly the cookie rises before it sets up is the key to achieving that finish. For these cookies, to ensure they rise quickly, I don’t refrigerate the dough before baking, which causes the cookies to rise more quickly than if the dough were cold. I use Valrhona cocoa powder to make these, which in my opinion is the best there is, but if you can’t find Valrhona, the cookies will be delicious with whatever cocoa powder you use. And I make them with dark brown sugar in place of the more typical granulated sugar, which gives a depth of flavor to an otherwise straightforward cookie.
All-purpose flour — 2 cups (240 grams)
Cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona) — 1⁄2 cup (43 grams)
Baking soda — 1 teaspoon (5 grams)
Fine sea salt — 1⁄2 teaspoon (3 grams)
Unsalted butter, cubed and softened — 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) (226 grams)
Dark brown sugar — 1 1⁄2 cups (lightly packed) (300 grams)
Large egg — 1 egg (50 grams)
Pure vanilla extract — 1 teaspoon (5 grams)
Granulated sugar — 1⁄2 cup for rolling (100 grams)
Arrange the oven racks so one is in the center position. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the dough
Put the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients. Set aside.
Put the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Turn off the mixer, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until the egg is thoroughly incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once during that time. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until no flour is visible, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once during the process.
Form and bake the cookies
Pour the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Scoop a 2-tablespoon (50-gram) portion of dough and roll it between the palms of your hands into a ball. Roll the ball in the bowl with the sugar to coat it all over. Place the ball on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue scooping and rolling the dough, leaving about 2 inches between each ball.
When you have filled one baking sheet, place it on the center rack of the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up and have cracked as they’ve fallen back down, rotating the baking sheet from front to back midway through the baking time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool to room temperature for about 2 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cookies are baking, roll 6 more balls and place them on the second baking sheet. While the first batch is cooling, put the second batch of cookies in the oven and bake them as you did the first batch. Repeat with the third batch of cookies.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or freeze for up to three months.
Excerpted from “A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home” by Melissa Weller with Carolynn Carreño. Copyright © 2020 by Melissa Weller. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
More From the Eye: