Turn Leftover Easter Candy Into These Ultra-Chocolaty Cookies

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[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Every spring, despite the fact that I am a grown woman, my parents drop an Easter basket on my doorstep, ring the bell, and drive away (presumably giggling all the way home). They then, of course, deny all involvement and blame the Easter Bunny—who has, in recent years, taken to gifting Champagne.

Now, the Cadbury Mini Eggs I'll eat like straight-up breakfast cereal, but the rest won't hold my attention after the obligatory nibble; it's all just too dang sweet. But the gesture is sweeter still, so I can't bear to throw that basket of chocolate away.

My solution is to make up the most ridiculously dark, bitter, and generously salted cookie dough imaginable. Something so intense that the ear of a white chocolate bunny will actually taste like a reprieve. So, whether the Easter Bunny visits your house or you just nabbed a good deal on some seasonal Reese's cups at the store, grab a knife and start chopping.

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The dough itself starts out like any drop cookie: white and brown sugars creamed together with butter, seasoned heavily with both salt and vanilla. And, instead of flour with a spoonful or two of cocoa powder, I go for equal parts by weight. It's an objectively ridiculous amount of cocoa; the dough winds up so dark, you can virtually see its event horizon as light bends around it. But all that bitterness goes a long way toward taming the sweetness of mass-produced candy, while also giving the cookies a chocolate flavor so powerful, it makes up for the fact that very few Easter chocolates actually taste like chocolate.

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For that reason, it's crucial to use a top-notch cocoa powder that can deliver that sort of flavor and depth; I'm a big fan of Cacao Barry Extra Brute, which is among the darkest around.

Once the candy's mixed in, divide the thick dough into portions of about one and a half ounces each, and drop them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. The cookies won't spread in the oven, due to the cocoa's high starch content, so don't roll the dough into a smooth ball or flatten it into a disk, or that'll be the shape you're stuck with. Instead, keep the portions rough and chunky, and use your fingertips to smush them into a cookie-like thickness and shape. For a finishing touch, top each with a chunk or two of broken candy.

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Since browning won't be visible in these super-dark cookies, bake until they're firm around the edges, though puffy and soft in the middle—about 15 minutes at 350°F (177°C).

With equal parts cocoa powder and flour, plus all that butter and sugar, there's not a lot of gluten development going on in the dough. That means the cookies will be insanely fragile and crumbly while warm, so be patient and let them cool to room temperature directly on the baking sheet before digging in. Once cool, the chocolate itself will bind the tender cookies.

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These chocolate Easter cookies will keep a few days at room temperature in an airtight container, but because they're so intense, it's something of a challenge to eat 'em up fast. If you don't have an Easter Bunny to share with (perhaps these cookies are the real reason my parents keep bringing me candy year after year), portion the cookie dough between a few heavy-duty zip-top bags, and freeze them to keep around for whenever a craving strikes.

For this batch, I used a mix of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and Butterfinger "NestEggs," plus both white and milk chocolate Easter Bunnies, but almost any chocolate-friendly Easter candy will do. Think Cadbury Mini Eggs, Snickers Eggs, Whoppers Robin Eggs, or any sort of M&Ms. However you mix and match the candy, its collective sweetness will be smothered in Dutched cocoa, tempered with salt, softened with vanilla, and baked into one incredible cookie that's just begging for a glass of milk.