French Fridays with Dorie – Orange Almond Tuiles

IMG_4565So I’ve been thinking of these cookies as “tulles” (like the fabric) which I 100% know is wrong since my first inclination when trying to pronounce something in French is always severely incorrect. I think one of the other Doristas said it really sounds almost exactly like “twee” but I can’t quite remember. My French guesses are akin to my navigation skills – just always really, really, really shockingly wrong. Never, ever ask me which way to turn in a snap-decision situation because I will never be right. Or ask me, but then do the opposite of what I say. That’s proven to be effective in the past. But you guys, these cookies….they created quite a stir in the FFWD arena. Seems like about a quarter of us got them to work and the rest were stuck with major or minor screw-ups. For the most part mine turned out okay – one batch I think I baked a minute too long and another could have used another minute – but I benefitted from reading about everyone else’s bad experiences before tackling this one.

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Dorie says not to use parchment but I went with the other rebels and played it safe which worked out just fine for me. The cookies released with no issue and I didn’t have to wash my sheet pans. Winning! I also went a little rogue because I didn’t blanch my almonds. I was going to, but then I was feeling lazy and deluded myself into believing that almonds with the skin on are healthier for you. They say that about most fruits and veggies right? The skin is where all the vitamins and minerals are? If I’m wrong about this, please keep it to yourself. I want to keep thinking that.

The smaller ones are definitely the prettier ones but they all tasted amazing and one of the big benefits of this recipe is that it only used 5 ingredients. Something that looks kind of difficult and time-consuming is always made even more impressive when it’s actually quite simple in my humble opinion.

IMG_4567If you want to impress everyone at your cookie exchange with these little jobbies, you’ll find the recipe here. They’re light and sweet and perfect with a cup of tea or stuck in a scoop of ice cream as a crunchy little garnish. I may or may not have eaten like 6 or 7 during the making and photographing portion of the day – I’ll never tell!

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Baking with Julia – Double Chocolate Cookies

IMG_4366Mmmmmmmmmmm chocolate. Just lots and lots of chocolate in these here cookies guys. A whole pound actually. Normally I can be counted on for using a whole pound of butter but a whole pound of chocolate might be a first for me. I got a new temporary job baking commercially for the first time in my life and after rotating huge sheet pans all day and all the other stuff that goes along with it I have to admit that I wasn’t all for making these cookies, but I’m glad I did. It certainly helped that it was a two step process so I just mixed the dough at night and baked them quickly in the morning. Easy squeezy. Plus I brought most of them to work with me, thus endearing me to many of my new co-workers. I’m not ashamed to admit that I occasionally buy people’s affection with foodstuffs – you have to play to your strengths in this life after all.

Double Chocolate Cookies

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

12oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into smallish chunks (I cheated and used Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips)

1 stick unsalted butter

4oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 T instant coffee powder

2 t pure vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Get a small pot of water on the stove at a simmer and place a stainless steel bowl over the top, making sure the bottom isn’t touching the water. Divide the bittersweet chocolate in half and place half in the stainless bowl with the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Keep an eye on the butter and chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula until everything is smooth and melted, then remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside. Don’t forget to turn the heat off on the stove or you’ll boil that little pot dry and that will suck.

Put the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat using the whisk attachment for at least 10 minutes until the mixture reaches the “ribbon stage.” This literally seems to take forever but it is actually only 10 minutes. To make sure you’ve achieved the ribbon stage, detach the whisk, dip it in the batter and wave it back and forth over the bowl. If the ribbon sits on top of the mix for a moment before sinking in, you’ve done it. If not, keep beating.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the warm buttery/chocolate mixture, then add in the dry ingredients. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the remaining bittersweet chocolate chunks with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least a few hours (I did it overnight).

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 4 baking sheets with parchment. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, portion out the dough onto the prepared sheets leaving at least two inches between each mound. I portioned out half and then mixed some dried cherries into the remaining dough because I LOVE dark chocolate & tart cherries together. This was a fabulous idea by the by.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. The cookies are done when they’ve spread a bit and just started to crack on the top – underdone is better than overdone with these guys. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing the cookies to a cooling rack to come to room temperature. But make sure to eat a few while they’re still warm because then they do this:

IMG_4356I ate this with my morning coffee and it made for an amazing breakfast – don’t judge me.

Baking with Julia – Mocha Chip Cookies

IMG_0202First of all I just want to say thanks for the nice comments on my last not-so-fun post. They really meant a lot to me and I appreciate you taking the time. I’m still thinking about everything and trying to figure things out but today I got to do one of my favorite things which is this – cream some butter and sugar, turn on the oven, turn off my brain, and bake some frickin’ cookies. Since winter is seemingly never-ending this year (that goddamn groundhog is a liar. A LIAR!) it was especially soothing to bake something warm and gooey and make the house smell nice.

Brace yourselves: I only had one stick of butter in the house. gasp! That’s how you know I haven’t been feeling like myself guys, one stupid stick of butter. I was kind of tempted to try a Greek yogurt substitution thing for the other stick of butter since I recently pinned something that tells you how to do all kinds of swaps to make things healthier but then I thought, do I really need 4 dozen cookies? Probably not. So I just halved the recipe and kept them nice and fatty. I’m trying to make really good choices foodwise these days and I think letting a cookie be a cookie and not a health food is a good choice. Sue me. This way I’ll probably only eat one or two instead of telling myself that they’re not that bad for me and eating like 6. Fact.

IMG_0184Look at that beautiful dough – the flecks of espresso powder in there are killing me. And it smelled amazing. I mixed the dough this morning and then baked them after lunch so it was definitely a less time-consuming project that our last recipe. This is the kind of thing that makes me love my stand mixer again. I know I get mad at her from time to time, but Candy is seriously my kitchen BFF forever and always. And you know what else I love? Cookie scoops! As Woody would say, “If you don’t have one, get one!”

IMG_0187The recipe called for dried apricots but I didn’t have any of those so dried cherries are what’s happening here. Love them, always have them, never gonna quit them. I don’t know that I could say the same thing for dried apricots. I was going to try to wait and not eat these until after dinner tonight, but how could I properly blog them without trying them? hehehehe

IMG_0206This is pretty much the ideal cookie for me – crispy, crunchy exterior + chewy, delicious interior = cookie bliss. When I was halving the recipe I accidentally still put in the whole tsp of baking soda instead of 1/2 so maybe that contributed the the amazing texture. Who knows? I’m not a scientist. What I am is a cookie connoisseur these get my two enthusiastic thumbs up!

IMG_0196To try these for yourself (cause I’m not sharing mine, sorry!) visit this week’s host Galettista for the recipe.