Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen large cookies
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bakmg soda
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 21/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room
temperature, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 2/3pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Preheat the oven to 325°E Have ready 2 nonstick cookie sheets, or line 2 regular cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy.
Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and beat just until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the lour mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. When all of the flour mixture has been incorporated, remove the bowl from
the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate.
To shape the cookies, using a tablespoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the dough and, using the palms of your hands, form it into a 3-inch ball. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven, transfer the cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.
Store, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
For the best results, be sure to chill both the mixer bowl for the cream and the bowl in which the cream and chocolate are blended. Although the mousse will keep, covered and refrigerated, for a couple of days, it is best when served shortly after making. The longer it sits, the heavier it becomes.
2 cups chilled heavy cream
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, tempered
Place the cream in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
Pour the chocolate into a stainless-steel bowl. Select a saucepan that will hold the bowl snugly in the rim. Fill the saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl of chocolate over (not touching) the simmering water and heat to 120°F on a thermometer.
Slowly pour the whipped cream into the warm chocolate, whisking constantly just until combined. Scrape into a chilled bowl and continue to whisk until well blended.
Spoon into dessert cups. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Makes about 10
The name of these French confections refers to the four orders of Mendicant (beggar) friars whose habits are relected in the four colors of the ingredients—almonds, dried figs, nuts, raisins—used to make it.
1 cup assorted nuts, chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet
1 cup cocoa nibs (see note)
1/3 cup assorted candiedfruit like ginger and orange peel, diced
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the nuts and corn syrup over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until the syrup has liquefied and the nuts are evenly coated. Remove from the heat and, using a slotted spoon to allow excess liquid to drain off, transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer.
Place the nuts in the oven and roast, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until evenly caramelized and light brown in the interior. Watch the nuts carefully, as their oil and the sugar in the syrup can cause them to burn very quickly.
Remove the pan from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. When cool enough to handle, break apart any pieces that have clumped together.
Line a clean baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a fine plain tip or a parchment-paper cornet about half full with the chocolate. Begin piping circles about 1 lh inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick on the prepared baking sheet. (Although not as neat, you can also pour the chocolate from a tablespoon and spread it out into a circle with the back of the spoon.) You should have about 10 circles.
While the chocolate is still soft, begin making designs in the top with an equal assortment of the Caramelized nuts, cocoa nibs, and candied fruit. Work quickly, or the chocolate will set before the decoration can adhere to it. If the chocolate does harden, dip the nuts, nibs, and fruit in a bit of tempered chocolate and "glue" them onto the circles. Set aside for about 1 hour, or until the chocolate has completely hardened.
Serve immediately or layer the circles, separated by sheets of parchment paper, in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
NOTE: Cocoa nibs, which are roasted cacao beans broken into bits, are available from cake and bakery supply stores and many specialty food stores.
Lots of Hot Chocolate Drinks
Makes 1 cup
You can vary the intensity of the chocolate by adding more or less chopped chocolate to the hot milk. As a variation on the traditional marshmallow garnish, I love topping hot chocolate with a big scoop of whipped cream and shavings of bittersweet chocolate.
1 cup whole milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 vanilla bean, cut in half
horizontally and then split
lengthwise, or 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR
1 peppermint candy cane OR
1 teaspoonfreeze-dried coffee granules, dissolved in
1 tablespoon hot water OR
Pinch each of ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ancho chile powder; and chipotle chile powder
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. When it is slightly warm, gradually add the chocolate while whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until the milk begins to form bubbles around the edge of the pan. Do not allow the milk to boil.
For vanilla: Using the edge of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, then add the bean to the pan. Whisk in the chocolate. Remove the vanilla bean before serving. Or, if using the extract, simply add it to the hot chocolate.
For peppermint: Stir the milk with the candy cane, allowing it to melt partially into the mixture as it heats.
For coffee: Add the diluted coffee with the chocolate.
For raspberry: Using a wooden spoon, crush the raspberries into the milk after the chocolate has melted.
For spices: Add the allspice, cinnamon, and chiles to the hot milk before you add the chocolate. Add the chiles to taste, keeping in mind that freshly ground chile can be very hot.