Toffee Cookies with Dark Chocolate Glaze

Here I am with another roll-out cookie. Why do I keep doing this to myself? This is my least favorite part of baking – cookies, crackers, pie crusts – rolling things out – even if I do have a great rolling pin – which I do. French rolling pin – made in America. Yep. D&D-9181

You get the idea. Ugh. But this just seems like such a good idea that I could not help myself.

I also plan to do this in my two day method to see if it works – make dough day one, and bake and chocolate on day two. We’ll see, as always.

Baked the cookies one day and did the chocolate bit the next day and then had way too much fun with the toppings – walnuts, Maldon salt, red sprinkles, and a little cayenne. And then did pretty much an evil thing. Mixed up all the cookies in the same container. Take a risk and see what you get. Let’s just say I put the cayenne on the smallest cookies. I think I really like bittersweet chocolate with cayenne. But pretty sure not all my friends will. Like I’ve said before my “test kitchen tasters.”

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16 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a 2-inch round cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies.

Source: The Kitchn adapted from Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson. I think you could sub out other nuts. I did – used walnuts but pecans were called for in the original recipe. Pistachios might be excellent as well, especially with the color contrast on the dark chocolate. Love me some pistachios, but I am keeping this bag for baking not for just munching on. Maybe. We shall see.

*Well, 10 minutes in the fridge was no where near enough. I did, sort of, leave the butter out for a couple of many days. So I left the dough in the fridge overnight and it worked out just fine. Not as an easy dough as the chocolate sugar cookie dough from the other day, but not too difficult.

Brownie Roll Out Cookies

I try to make chocolate things for the other people in my life because they just are not for me. Chocolate  – meh-ish to me. This seemed like an interesting idea though. Kind of, basically, a chocolate sugar cookie and then you can mess about with the toppings. Toppings that are mostly sugar and I do love the crunch of that.

D&D_2593I remember when I first started making my favorite sugar cookies,  I would just put plain old white sugar on them. They were beautiful and I just loved the crunch. The Boy did too. So simple – nothing extra to buy and just lovely. I see these cookies in the same light. I’ve said it so many many times, simple is often just the best.

I really like to get input on what I do and the Boy is always an interesting source. See his ideas below.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
16 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 unsweetened cocoa
Sanding sugars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time then add vanilla and cocoa. Add flour a little at a time and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on baking sheet, top with any kind of crunchy sugar (this time raw sugar and pretty white sanding sugar), and bake for 8 to 11 minutes until edges are firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Source: smittenkitchen.com/2008/04/brownie-roll-out-cookies/

Dough 31 December 2017

Bake 4 January 2018 @ midnight – lovely. Ugh – it is just what I do. I cannot help myself.

Bake 5 minutes, turn, and bake for 3 more.

New idea for toppings – mostly from my chief taste-tester – the Boy – raw sugar/Maldon and cayenne. Or brickle bits maybe w/some cayenne as well.

Really easy dough to roll out which make it a favorite for me because I pretty much hate rolling out dough for cookies or crackers – kind of  totally annoying.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

I’ve been meaning to do this for donkey’s years, but finally got around to a first round this week. Trying to get some practice in before Christmas, because I was thinking I might make some for little Christmas treats for friends and what not. Not a big deal, but a handmade treat that I think most people would like. I am, as mentioned ad nauseum, not a chocolate person, but give me a pretzel with a simple chocolate coating, especially if semi-sweet or white chocolate and I am so all there. Need to work on the decorating, but that will come and I also see how you could make this work for lots of different holidays by changing colors.

D&D_2402I suppose you could do the same with other kinds of pretzels, but this seems to make the most sense for now, at least until someone convinces me otherwise. Chocolate pretzels in a pint glass – something about that makes lots of sense – to me anyway.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
16 pretzel rods
And lots of different kinds of toppings

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or silpat.

Heat chips and vegetable shortening in small, dry, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium high power for 1 minute; Stir. The chips may retain some of their original shape but just keep stirring. Microwave at additional 10 – to 15 -second intervals, stirring just until chips are melted.

Dip pretzel rods as far as you can into melted chips, using a spoon to help coat each pretzel rod. Sprinkle with toppings. Place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until set. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Best when eaten within a few days.

These are so stupidly amazing. I cannot make them again, because if I do, I think I might eat them all. In this case, I only ate the little stubby pretzels that I dipped in just the chocolate and that made me happy. But that should be as far as it goes. I bought the strange white sprinkles for these, especially. That is, again, just so sad. Or maybe just so very cool. Not sure.

Yep, but you know I am going to come up with even a better way to make them and that will just be a bad thing for me.

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National Chocolate Day

As mentioned many times previously, I am not a huge chocolate person – I’m a lemon girl when you get right down to it, with a little caramel tossed in for good measure. And some butterscotch.

But since today is National Chocolate Day, I would be remiss if I did not mention my favorite chocolates of all time. Unfortunately, I only get to go there twice a year. Once when I have to go to Tallahassee for work in March and once when I have to go through Tallahassee on my way to Orlando for work in the fall.

Last year, I just assumed I could go by and pick up what I wanted on my way out of town. HUGE mistake. Should have known by about 2:00pm on Friday that all the pain au chocolate would be gone – duh. So this time in the last week of September, I made a call from Orlando to explain that I would be driving through Tallahassee on Friday and while what I wanted was not a special request, I did want them to sit aside a few things for me to pick up around 3:00pm.

The staff person was so pleasant (yes, I know, I should have gotten her name) and I explained. “I am coming through Tallahassee tomorrow around 3:00pm, I would like to have 4 pain au chocolate and 2 croissants and then I will pick a pastry or two and some chocolate.” Her answer was, “we will set them aside for you in the morning.” Well, that’s cool. I did ask about the Noisette – to quote the menu, “A whole caramelized hazelnut covered in gianduja, encased in dark chocolate.” But that is a holiday thing – which has me thinking to go to Tallahassee in December just to get them. They were always my favorite, even when I was a poor grad student and it was a huge splurge. Is it worth the 2 1/2 hour drive? Um, I am thinking yes. I’ll just have to add all the other places I like to go in Tallahassee – it’s a long list – but that is another post entirely. Might be a cool weekend, as long as there is no football going on. 

Okay, let’s just get down to it – my go to, only, chocolate shop is Au Peche Mignon. I have written about it before, but it opened the year I moved to Tallahassee. It’s still in the same building, but they have expanded and have more seating now. I wish, so wish, we had something like that here in Pensacola. Maybe that should be what I do with my retirement account – not likely, since that would involve getting up kind of early.

My chocolate selection for this fall:

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Au Peche Mignon – a little sin …

The best name for a French pastry shop I have ever heard. This is the one thing that makes going to Tallahassee, or through Tallahassee on the way to Orlando for work, or through Tallahassee on the way to Jacksonville tolerable. Thankfully we do not have to make the long (boring) drive to Jax on I-10 anymore. Just Pine trees – sigh.

This shop opened up the year we moved to Tallahassee and I am not entirely sure how I found it, might be because it near a great sushi restaurant – Kitcho, but Au Peche Mignon quickly became a favorite of mine. I could not afford it as a student very often, but it was a total splurge for me. Even one pain au chocolate was worth it – what a total pleasure.

D&D_2126This time I am ordering ahead of time to make sure I get the things that I want. As mentioned many (many) times, I am not a huge fan of chocolates, but Au Peche Mignon makes a bit of a liar of me – it is always the Noisette – a whole caramelized hazelnut (I want to know how to do that) covered in gianduja (which is odd because I do not like nutella), encased in dark chocolate. This is just the most amazing chocolate for someone who really does not care for chocolate in the grand scheme of things. I would like to just intern there and learn how to do things – that would make me really happy. Unfortunately these chocolates are a Christmas treat that I will not get in September. Sigh.

So here is the rest of the order for our way home from Orlando through Tallahassee.*

2 Croissants
4 Pain au chocolates
8 pieces of chocolate – it is so worth the $15.00
1 key lime tart – my first time with this.

I am going to spend way too much money, but I only do it twice a year at best. You have to eat the pastries fast, but the chocolates can last in the fridge for quite some time. Yep, spent $40, but it made me stupidly happy.

*Hopkins’ Eatery is another Tallahassee favorite – some of the best sandwiches ever – see: The Spin.

Chocolate Guinness Cake – Nigella

I cannot help myself, but I really like Nigella. I know people get weird about the “domestic goddess” thing, but she has always seemed like my kind of cook – do not take it too seriously and have a good time, and that is what I really try to do.

I have her cookbooks “How to Eat,” and “How to be a domestic goddess.” Oh, and “Nigella Summer.” I would love to have such a cool name. When you have a name that many people have – my name, it is kind of annoying. Thankfully my mom was ahead of the curve. There were no other Jennifers in my classes, but lord help you if you were a few years younger than me, there were Jennifers aplenty. Sometimes it helps to be in the forefront of a popular name. And then it is still kind of a thing that I would like a unique name. I guess that is why Jj works for me.

D&D_1945I am always looking for the ultimate version of a Guinness cake, so let’s see how this one stacks up to the other I made last year. I know it is not strictly the Guinness time of year (March), but I don’t really care. It’s what I want to make so it is what shall be made.

Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place on wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Break up any lumps in confectioners’ sugar – I sift. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on platter. Ice top of cake only to resemble a pint of Guinness. Because that is just really cool.

Pi Day

This is a repeat of a pie that I love to make, but do not make often enough. Lots of people think that National Pie Day (January 23rd)** is Pie Day, but for me  – this is Pi Day. Yep. I am that nerd. 3.14D&D_9457

This is also Albert Einstein’s birthday if you can imagine that. Not that he really had much to do with Pi, but …. science nerdism.

i8Σπ – I am ate (me) some pie. It is a total nerd joke, but there it is.

I was young in one of my first jobs. This proper job, because I was not going to go to college (how things change), was at a regional office of a fast food restaurant. One of our things was birthday celebrations for those of us in the office. And celebrations equaled pies from Village Inn. While I’m not a huge chocolate fan, and it was not my pie to order (read: lemon), French Silk was a favorite of just about everyone. My friend Marie gave me her recipe at the time and I made and enjoyed it, and while I cannot find it now, this one is not to far off the mark, and also better than I remember. It’s not too sweet, light, but slightly rich too. Small pieces are in order.

I was surprised to find that the name French Silk Pie didn’t translate to everyone. By definition, French Silk is a mousse-like chocolate pie. Am I being, as I’m often accused, a food snob again? Probably. And yes, raw eggs are used – get over it.

French Silk Pie
1 9″ pie crust, baked and cooled *
4 ozs bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks, unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
Additional whipping cream, for topping – which I never seem to make.

Heat the chocolate in a microwave on medium power until melted. Whisk in vanilla and espresso powder, if using, and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Add 2 eggs and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the remaining egg and beat for another 3 minutes until the mixture is silly and smooth.

Fold the chilled whipped cream into chocolate filling until no visible white streaks remain. Pour filling into prepared pie crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Decorate with freshly whipped cream – again – never seem to do. Sigh.

Source: The Kitchn

Notes: I used my graham cracker crust* from the Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake, my go to cheesecake recipe that never fails to impress. Here are the details:

5 ozs graham crackers (1 sleeve)
5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse crackers, sugar, and salt to mix together. Add melted butter, and pulse to incorporate. Press into pie plate and refrigerate until needed.

** I shall disabuse you of this idea, because honestly it just too easy. And you may say this is too easy too – repeating something you’ve done before, but I think this the funny bit – to be honest. And I have to go out of town this week, so there is no one to make pie for at this point. And that makes me slightly sad. But this pie really is worth a repeat.