Chocolate Worship: Jacques Torres’s Mudslide Cookies

“Well I don’t want no Anna Zabba

Don’t want no Almond Joy

There ain’t nothing better

Suitable for this boy

Well it’s the only thing

That can pick me up

Better than a cup of gold

See only a chocolate Jesus

Can satisfy my soul.”

– Tom Waits, “Chocolate Jesus”


Chocolate lovers are strange people. Sensualists, they tremble with excitement at the mere mention of rich, oozing, glistening chocolate. Are you trembling now? Perverts, all of you! Out with ye!

I am not a chocolate lover. Like smoking, heavy drinking, and public sex, chocolate is too sinful for my conservative tastes. Give me something bright and lemony, something fruity, and I’m content. Chocolate, in my humble opinion, is boring. Even the best chocolate–if I dare say it–tastes too similar to the worst chocolate. Chocolate is chocolate. Leave me out of it.

But I am surrounded by chocolate lovers. The world is populated by chocolate lovers. How can we be chocolate lovers if we can’t eat M&Ms? That made no sense but it’s fun to sing.

Two chocolate lovers deserve chocolate this week: one is a teacher and the other is Lauren, my old roommate. Lauren’s coming on Wednesday. My teacher’s birthday was last week and it’s been disclosed that she loves chocolate. I have her class tomorrow. The impetus was too great: I made Jacque’s Chocolate Mudslides. (Click those words for the link to the recipe.)

Have you had these? Have you made these? Are you aware of these?

Even for a chocolate-hater like me, these are pretty special. When I tell you how much chocolate goes into them, you won’t believe me. Are you ready? 38 oz!

This amounted to 10–count them, 10!–bars of chocolate. The lady at the register eyed me suspiciously. “No,” I assured her, “I’m not a chocoalte sensualist—chocolate doesn’t give me orgasms.” She called the manager and I was asked to leave.

Let’s get on with the recipe. We melt 6 oz of unsweetened chocolate and 16 oz of bittersweet chocolate of a double-boiler: (for those unfamiliar, fill a pot with water, bring it to a simmer, and put a bowl over it–that’s a double boiler)


Next, it’s your standard butter and sugar beat until its light and fluffy maneuver. Only, I needed a mathematician to figure out to extract 3/8ths a cup of butter from 1/2 a cup of butter (1 stick.) See, the recipe only calls for 3/8ths a cup. A stick of butter is 1/2 a cup. I did the following math:

1/2 cup = 4/8 cup. Thus, 4/8 cup – 3/8 cup = 1/8 cup. So I needed to remove 1/8 a cup. Dividing 1/8 by 4 to get back to 1/2 a cup I determined that I needed to remove 1/4 of the 1/2 a cup. I cut off two Tbs. Where’s your abacus when you need it?

(Meanwhile, there was so little butter involved and so much sugar, that when I turned the mixer on sugar went spraying everywhere—and now it’s all over my feet. I should wash my feet, shouldn’t I.)

After that, you add 5 eggs and 1/2 a cup of flour. That’s it! 1/2 a cup! The least amount of flour you will ever use to yield 20 cookies. After that it’s baking powder, salt, and then the melted chocolate. Then you stir in the chopped remaining chocoalte and walnuts. Pour on to a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.

Five minutes later (I was impatient), I took the sheet out and put parchment over the chilled chocolate and flipped it upside down. This is what I saw:


Here I was asked to divide this into 20 squares and to roll each square into a ball. This was a gooey, sticky, unpleasant (by my standards) task that took some time. I placed these chocolate balls on parchment lined cookie sheets and then flattened them a little:


Actually, as you can see by this picture, this one was a Silpat lined cookie sheet—the other had parchment paper. And I should tell you here—the Silpat sheet cookies came out far better than the parchment paper cookies. Ok, maybe not far better, but the parchment paper cookies had burnt bottoms.

They went in a 400 degree oven for 15 – 25 minutes. I say 15 – 25 because that’s what Jacques says and I found it a bit disconcerting. How do you know when they’re done? He says they should be crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Ummm, Jacques, how can you tell that looking in your oven window?

But I took them out after 17 minutes and I think that was a good choice. The cookies cooled for a while, and I took a bite:


Mmm, see that melted chocolate in the middle, oozing out and perfuming the air with its primal chocolatey scent. I felt my body quiver with satisfaction, my hair flying back in the wind, my pelvis thrusting like…


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