Posted by: Brian on |
Try to say this post title five times, swiftly. Heck, just one swiftly. But Santa is packing up the sleigh and deservedly should be given treats on his journey. These cookies would be your best contribution to his busy night.
In 1978 I bought a copy of Chocolate Cookery by Mable Hoffman, published by HPBooks. It was, is, a big oversized cookbook. I was so naïve I did not know that “Cookery” meant this was a British spin the world’s favorite food.
I still have my copy. I don’t know where it is. But I do know the key recipe: Chocolate Crinkles. To find the recipe for this season, I googled and found many recipes. The one below, from King Arthur Flour, is very close to the original. It uses butter, not oil [God only knows why people bake with oil]. And, very importantly, this calls for refrigerating the cookie dough for hours, if not overnight.
These little buds of flavor are soft, tender, succulent and a necessity for life.
I, of course, was prepared to make them end-to-end but when it came to scooping out the dough, rolling in powdered sugar, and getting a perfect shape, Suzen had a comment: “I’ll do it.”
It seems that she thinks that I am sloppy in the kitchen. It’s almost Christmas. I let her have her way. I let her get her hands sticky with dough. Let her lick her fingers. Let her lick the powdered sugar that clung to the dough on those fingers. Let her do it all.
It’s better to give than receive. Although, at this jealous moment, I do have some other considerations. This is a perfect cookie to make with your kids. It teaches them patience: you have to refrigerate that dough. It teaches them dexterity: they have to roll the balls of dough [or shake them] in powdered sugar. It teaches them sanitary skills: they have to lick their fingers.
As a former teacher, Suzen agrees.
Kris Kringles Christmas Chocolate Crinkles
Yield: about 4-5+ dozen depending on big you make them [smaller is better]
- 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- confectioners’ sugar* (for coating)
For the dough, place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, and heat or microwave till the butter melts. Remove it from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and espresso powder. Stir in the chocolate mixture, baking powder and salt, then the flour. Chill the dough for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight; it’ll firm up considerably.
To shape the cookies, put about a cup of confectioners’ sugar into a shallow bowl. Using a teaspoon-sized cookie scoop, a spoon, or your fingers, scoop out heaping “teaspoon-sized” portions of the dough; they should be roughly 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Drop the dough balls into the confectioners’ sugar as you go. Once about five or six are in the bowl, shake and toss the bowl to coat the balls with the sugar. (If you try to do this with too many balls at a time, they’ll just stick together.)
To bake the cookies, place the coated dough balls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake the cookies in a preheated 325°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, switching the position of the pans (top to bottom, and front to back) midway through the baking time. As the cookies bake, they’ll flatten out and acquire their distinctive “streaked” appearance. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Photo Information: Canon T2i, 60mm Macro lens, F/2.6 at 1/20th second and ISO 2000Source: King Arthur Flour and Mable Hoffman
Posted by: Brian on |
Biscotti come in various forms. Some are so hard you could use them to pave a freeway. And some are just perfect.
These are delightfully perfect. And, they have a double life. This recipe calls for all-purpose flour. If you have family or friends with Celiac disease, then you can substitute gluten-free flour here and obtain a wonderful, and just ever so slightly different, treat. The figs will look a bit like chocolate chips, but they aren’t and when you bite into them you get that wonderful fruit flavor. Of course, there’s nothing to keep you from adding in some chips just for fun.
Suzen works with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, offering monthly events where Celiac patients and families come to learn to cook together. The wonderful thing we have learned is that a Celiac-friendly meal can be absolutely wonderful. From appetizers through dessert. At this week’s event, everyone left with biscotti on their palette and the recipe in their hands.
Buttery Hazelnut-Fig Biscotti
Yield: 6 dozen biscotti
- 2 ½ cups hazelnuts [10 ounces]
- 14 ounces dried Calimyrna figs
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/3 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 12 to 14 minutes, until the skins blister. Let cool, then transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and rub off as much of the skins as possible. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, cover the figs with water and microwave at high power for 1 minute, just until the figs are plump. Drain well. Trim off the stem ends and slice the figs ⅛ inch thick.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat at low speed until combined. Add the nuts and figs and beat until combined.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a work surface and roll into six 10-by-1 ½-inch logs. Arrange the logs on the baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and firm. Let the logs cool for 15 minutes.
On a work surface, using a serrated knife, slice the logs on the diagonal ⅔ inch thick. Arrange the biscotti cut sides up on the baking sheets and bake for about 18 minutes, until lightly browned. Let the biscotti cool, then serve or store.
Source: Vergennes, VT: A Bakery’s Perfect Tarts and Desserts described in foodandwine.com
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM lens shot at F/5.0, 1/60th second, ISO 2000
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