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Tag Archives: walnuts

Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies

5 Apr

I’ve had these cookies in mind for a while.  The problem was, that was the only place the cookies could be found: in my mind.  There was no recipe I could dig up in a book, no bakery I could run to in order to hunt down the cookie.  The existence of the cookie—perhaps originating in a dream, because I simply refuse to believe that I am the only person on earth who dreams of cookies—was nowhere to be found.

Maybe that was a blessing.  Because I had only an imagined notion of what sort of cookie I wanted to eat—and yet I also somehow knew exactly what it was I wanted in the mythical cookie, that being lots of chocolate, a chewy middle, and big bites of walnuts—there was very little holding me back in the way of experimentation.  It was a golden opportunity, really.  I was going to create a cookie and there was nothing stopping me.

Except, of course, the unforeseen development of actually somehow nailing the cookie recipe on the first try.  No joke.  When I set out to make this cookie, I was envisioning days upon days of rejected cookie batches.  I was imagining myself eating cookie after cookie, faced with the fact that one batch was too crisp, or maybe not chocolaty enough.  What to do?  Well, I guess I’ll just have to get back to the drawing board.  Time to make and sample more cookies.

But no.  Here they are, the first batch I auditioned, and they are perfect in every way.  Practically bursting with chunks of bittersweet chocolate, the cookies are crisp at the edges and wonderfully soft in the middle.  Chunks of toasted walnuts invade every bite, and, dare I say it, the sweetness level is spot on.  I don’t know how it happened.  I only had to make one batch of cookies, which meant I only had to taste one batch of cookies.  Setting aside the fact that I somehow just satisfied a hazy cookie dream, I somehow feel as though I have made a mistake.  I promise to do worse next time.  You know.  So there will be more samples.

Last year: Roasted Poblano Johnnycakes

Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies Recipe

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

½ cup gently packed light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into medium chunks (about ¼-inch chunks at the largest)

1 cup (about 4 ounces) walnut pieces, toasted until browned and aromatic

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together, then set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk for 1 or 2 minutes to combine thoroughly.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until the two are completely combined.  Stir in the chocolate chunks and toasted walnuts.  The batter will be extremely stiff and it should seem like there is a disturbingly high chunk-to-batter ratio.  This is a good thing.

Scoop the batter in heaping tablespoons (if your tablespoons are very heaping, you should end up with about a 2 tablespoon-sized scoop, which is perfect) onto a prepared baking sheet.  Space the scoops at least two inches apart.  I was able to fit 8 cookies on 1 large baking sheet.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven for 10-13 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just starting to look dry but the centers still appear soft.  Remove from oven and allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for about 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Depending on the size of your scoops, you should end up with around 24 cookies, maybe more.

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Savory Olive Oil and Walnut Sables

27 Feb

My friend Corinna once confessed to me that when her child was a mere toddler, she developed the habit of calling all crackers “ccokies.”  It’s not like her toddler knew the difference between a cookie and a cracker at that point, having never been served a cookie at that point in his life, so I, of course, thought her plan was pure, platinum genius.

When you really think about what makes a cookie a cookie, I suppose there is not a lot, besides sugar, that really separates a cookie from a cracker.  There is a similar correlation, I feel, between what makes a muffin a muffin and not a tiny little cake (because, really, in most cases there is very little that separates a muffin from a cake, save for serving size and variations in toppings and/or frosting).  Both crackers and cookies begin with some sort of flour, followed by some sort of fat to provide texture and flavor.  After those two building blocks come flavorings and leavening agents, both of which will then veer you off in the direction of either cookie or cracker.

But what happens when you start thinking of how to join the two elements?  Is it possible to make a cookie that is more like a cracker, or a cracker that is suspiciously like a cookie?  Perhaps more importantly, why would someone want to accomplish such a thing?

The answer to all those questions, I give you this:

Melt-in-your-mouth sables that have the delicate, shattering texture of a cookie, but are speckled with fine bits of walnuts and a sprinkling of savory spices.  This is why you merge a cookie and a cracker.  Because there is nothing finer to nibble while having a glass of wine at the end of the day.  Because sometimes when you want a bit of a snack, you don’t really want any sugar to go along with it.  Because these, my friends, may be the most delicious experiment I have ever dreamed up on a whim, and I think you’d be missing out terribly if you didn’t try them out for yourself.

Savory Olive Oil and Walnut Sables

¼ cup walnut pieces

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons water

Optional toppings: caraway seeds, truffle salt, poppy seeds

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse walnut pieces 5 or 6 times until they are ground medium-fine, with a few small chunks of walnut remaining.  Add flour and salt to walnuts and pulse to combine.  Add the egg yolk and pulse 2 or 3 more times to combine.

With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a slow stream, allowing the mixture to become uniformly combined.  With the food processor still running, drizzle in the water, then allow the dough to just start to clump together.

Shape the dough into a disc, then wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Turn the rested dough out onto a well-floured work surface.  Roll out the dough until it is very thin, somewhere between ¼” and 1/8”.  The dough will be a bit crumbly, so roll with care.  Using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Reshape and reroll the dough as needed.  Using a fork or the tip of a small, sharp knife, poke several holes on top of each cracker.  If adding toppings, sprinkle each cracker with just a pinch of whatever toppings you choose.

Bake the crackers on the center rack of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden and the tops just beginning to develop color.  Cool on the sheet pan for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Crackers will be extremely delicate when hot, so transfer them with care.

Makes roughly 2 dozen sables.

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