Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Life seriously sucks. It blows. My last two months have been a real hell hole. I haven’t cried 7 days straight for a long time. I haven’t even had much of an appetite the past few days—an alarming sign that something is out of whack.
I call my Montreal friends, just the comfort of hearing their voices calms me. Having someone to listen to you is a swell thing.
Another thing that makes me feel warm and fuzzy and temporary forget my troubles is exercising my biceps and brain power in producing something delicious. The scent of butter melded with warm chocolate absorbs your misery and turns it into something desirable.
Chocolate crinkle cookies. Triple C for triple tasty.
I toted these cookies to work and shared with my coworkers. “OOhhhs and AHHsss!” filled the air and followed by: “are these Tim-bits?” (those ubiquitous donut orbs from Tim Horton’s) Without intending to be too much of a show-off, I strongly believe these are superior. They exclude any hydrogenated oils and whatever unidentified ingredients are used in Tim-bits.
What catches everyone’s eye and triggers the high pitched gushing is their appearance: snowy white balls with irregular cracks. Teeth give way to a soft, crumbly cookie*. Icing sugar melts coyly on the tongue. Filbert nuts and cocoa mingle like lovers and balance out the sweetness.
And to add to the bestest of best list, they’re immensely fun to make. Combine dry ingredients, melt chocolate, add wet ingredients into gleaming chocolate pool, mix into flours. Then leave the dough in the fridge at least 2 hours or overnight. When firm, roll into golf balls, and immerse into sifted powdered sugar and bake. Let the oven work its magic. The heat causes the dough to spread slightly, showing off white snowcaps with dark crevices running in all directions.
Enjoy and bake away! Cookies are the answer to (most) of your worries (I feel better already just thinking of them!).
Just make sure you have all the ingredients on hand. Do not pull a Jane and halfway through making the treats, realize you barely have enough all-purpose flour left. Unless you excel in improvisation, defy all my advice and strike the baking gods with your excellent whisking skills. I used whole wheat flour instead and had to be careful not to overmix the batter. Unlike all-purpose flour, it has more gluten and can lead to a tougher cookie.
*I prefer a crunchier cookie, but I’ll leave the recipe experimenting for another time.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
These cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.
Makes about 7 dozen cookies
2/3 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan in oven until skins split and nuts are pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven (turn oven off), then wrap hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove any loose skins. Cool nuts completely. Pulse nuts with granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beating to incorporate. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in nut mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Form and bake cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Halve dough and chill 1 half, wrapped in plastic wrap. Roll remaining half into 1-inch balls, placing them on a sheet of wax paper as rolled. Roll balls, 3 or 4 at a time, in confectioners sugar to coat generously and arrange 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.
Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges feel dry (but centers are still slightly soft), 12 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies (still on parchment) to racks to cool completely.
While first batch is baking, roll remaining dough into balls. Line cooled cookie sheets with fresh parchment, then coat balls with confectioners sugar and bake in same manner. Recipe here!