I feel like there are essentially two kinds of Valentine's Day desserts. There are the super romantic desserts, usually with a little bit of retro charm, which you enjoy with your sweetheart at the end of a candlelit meal—you know, molten chocolate cake, chocolate covered strawberries, sacher torte, and the like. And then there are those more platonic Valentine's Day desserts that you bring to work and deliver to friends. You know, the kind of things you'd bring to school as a kid, when you'd deliver Valentine's cards and sweets to everyone, no exceptions—chocolate buttercream brownies with pink and white sprinkles, linzer cookies with their signature jam-drop heart silhouette, and of course chocolate chip cookies.
Everyone in your life deserves one of these chocolate féve and pine nut cookies (adapted from David Leite's brilliant recipe), but that doesn't take away from their specialness. Their combined weight of premium chocolate and pine nuts exceeds one pound, they bake up into dessert-plate-sized cookies, and they sparkle with gorgeous flaky sea salt. Moreover, the dough rests overnight, which results in the most perfectly chewy-crunchy texture (I suspect this is the reason that store-bought cookie dough is always surprisingly delicious). So while you can certainly hand these out around the office next week, they're also worthy of a romantic dinner with your special someone.
chocolate féve and pine nut cookies
480 grams all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
284 grams cool room temperature butter (2 1/2 sticks)
284 grams brown sugar
227 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
300 grams chocolate féves (or substitute chocolate chips)
200 grams pine nuts
flaky sea salt for sprinkling (or substitute kosher salt)
Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder, and set aside for later.
Set your stand mixer up with a paddle attachment (or feel free to use a hand mixer, or simply a sturdy whisk), and beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and salt together until they're light and fluffy (this will take about 3 to 5 minutes).
Add one of the eggs to the creamed butter/sugar mixture and beat together until it's completely incorporated. Scrape up the bottom and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the other egg and the vanilla. Beat together until it's completely incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and stir together at a low speed, just until it's almost completely combined. Stir in the chocolate féves and pine nuts by hand until they're somewhat evenly distributed.
Roll the dough into 90 gram balls. If there are any féves sticking out, push them back in.* Chill the dough balls in the refrigerator overnight, for at least 12 hours (up to 3 days).**
The next day, preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place 6 cookies on a parchment-lined sheet pan, and be sure to leave enough room between them so they can spread (and possibly shift around). Sprinkle them with flaky sea salt.***
Bake for about 20 minutes; take them out of the oven once they've flattened out and turned a nice golden brown color. They should be gooey on the inside and crispy around the edges.
Slide them, parchment and all, off the sheet pan, and let them cool this way. Bake the remaining dough balls, and freeze however many you don't plan to bake.
* I don't bother fiddling with them to make sure they look pretty, because I like the eclectic look when they all turn out different (and I love when they end up with hidden, gooey chocolate pockets), but if you want them to get lots of pretty, visible pools of chocolate, take Leite's advice and make sure some of the féves are flat and facing up instead of on their sides or tucked in.
** I guess you can skip the resting step, but trust me—you will not regret waiting. You could also wait until the next day to roll the dough into balls, especially if the dough got a little too warm and difficult to work with.
*** If you want to get a slightly more even distribution of salt, feel free to sprinkle them about halfway through baking, just as they've started to flatten out.