Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Double Chocolate Cookies

First, a confession. I don't drink coffee. Not because I don't like caffeine (see: cat named Oolong), but because I just don't like the taste. So a good portion of this book is really not for me. Ironically, at least based on the questions at the recent Omnivore Books event and signing, it is the part of the book that may appeal most to the general public.

That said, I also have to say that I am not an objective reader. K and I tested some of the recipes, along with some for the forthcoming Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art, featuring recipes that Caitlin Freeman has paired with art on exhibit at SFMOMA.  

I first met Caitlin when K was young enough that she traveled most everywhere in a Baby Bjorn. I would venture out each Saturday and celebrate a week of newborn craziness, with a cake from the Miette stand at the Berkeley Farmers Market. If available, usually a buckle. Later, when Miette moved into the Ferry Building, K and I would be their first customers almost every Saturday. I was regularly amazed that during the craze just before opening, Caitlin would often stop to take a look at K's latest sticker book or to hand her a treat before the official opening. I was also amused to see how many tourists would stop and photograph a very frosting covered K, as at that age she far preferred the frosting to the cupcake.  As you might have seen here before, K's first five birthday cakes were from Miette, and if you have not looked, you should, because they are amazing. Especially, I think, Purry.

So, not objective. But that said, this is a book that I will bake from repeatedly. From my beloved buckle, to the irresistible Liege Waffles and Ginger-Molasses Cookies and far more, these are recipes that already have become part of our regular rotation, as the advantage of signing up to help test was early access.

When I asked K what recipe she wanted to make "for the blog," she surprised me. I expected the graham crackers that are a part of the S'mores recipe. But, instead, she opted for the Double Chocolate Cookies. 

From K: "I chose them because we made them once and they were extremely delicious and I wanted to make them again. I did mostly what it said in the book, while listening to music from Wicked. 
I did not sift. Instead of coarsely chopped chocolate, I used the Tcho chocolate discs that we got after my Sprouts Camp visit. I also used the vanilla salt that Mama had. I don't know why she has it, but I also like it on baked potatoes. I did not space the cookies well and they ended up as kind of a big chunk of cookies, but Mama helped me with that. 
They were really good and they really live up to the ones at the store. Caitlin is really nice and I am glad that I like her recipes and that I got to try them early."

Double-Chocolate Cookies
(I've slightly edited the recipe to reflect some of K's changes.)

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Maldon salt (K used vanilla salt)
1 egg at room temperature (K's was more refrigerator cold)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3.5 oz  dark chocolate 62%-70% cacao, coarsely chopped (K used Tcho discs, unchopped)

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into a medium bowl. (As always, K did not sift and simply whisked them together.)

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on medium speed until the mixture gets lighter in color and the texture become fluffier, 5 to 6 minutes. (I doubt K waited that long.)

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until well blended. (K states that she used much vigor.)

With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture very slowly (K fesses up to not very slowly), in a steady stream and mix until well incorporated and very smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds.

Scrape down sides of bowl, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate. Mix on low speed until the color is a uniform brown and no streaks of white remain.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a rough disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. (K waited until 8 the next morning. Barely.)

Preheat your oven to 350. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Roll 1/4 cup portions of the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. (K failed at this.)

Bake 11-12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch and the surface is no longer glossy, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. 
Let the cookies cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.

The recipe suggests that they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. In our house, we had trouble waiting for them to cool enough so that K could have one without burning her mouth. 

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