A couple of friends spent yesterday afternoon in my kitchen for some holiday baking. We settled on this bittersweet chocolate truffle cookies recipe from my latest cookbook of choice: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. I figured cookies were the most convenient dessert to travel with. These large cookies are deeply chocolaty yet not too sweet. They have a beautiful crackly crust and a dark, soft centre. Rich like a truffle, these cookies should be served up with a tall glass of milk.
These cookies pair perfectly well with an engrossing book. These are some of my picks that will last me through the winter:
My younger sister gave me Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 for Chanukah earlier this month.
My older sister gave me Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, winner of the Man Booker Prize and Governor General Award, as well as Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland as an early birthday gift.
A friend highly recommended Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed.
I recently read Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan as well as The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.
For this coming winter semester, my creative writing prof will be Trevor Ferguson. Wanting to discover his writing style, I got a copy of City of Ice, written under his pseudonym John Farrow. It is the first title in a thriller trilogy set in Montreal.
My last assignment for the fall semester was to submit a writing portfolio to my prof Sina Queyras. I really enjoyed her class and purchased her novel Autobiography of Childhood.
The creative writing department at my university invites writers to give a master class for students. Bharati Mukherjee and her husband Clark Blaise gave a fascinating talk back in November. They were so engaging and funny. I had read Mukherjee’s poetry in some of my literature and women’s studies classes, and now I’ve added her novel Jasmine to my to-read list.
With Lynn Coady’s recent Giller Prize win for her collection of short stories and Alice Munroe’s Nobel Prize, some have declared 2013 as The Year of the Short Story. I stopped by indie bookstore Paragraphe to pick up Zadie Smith’s story The Embassy of Cambodia, neatly packaged as a stand-alone hardcover. I’ve read two of her novels, White Teeth and On Beauty, and really admire her style. I tend to veer towards novels rather than short stories (as this list demonstrates), but I think I should seek out this form more.
Recipe Source: Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Yields 30 cookies
205 grams (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (20 grams) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound + 4 ounces (567 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
140 grams (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons / 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
460 grams (2 1/4 cups) sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces (2 cups) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder together.
3) Stir in the salt. Set aside.
4) Place the chocolate (1 pound + 4 ounces / 567 grams) in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
5) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined.
6) Add the eggs one at a time.
7) Increase the speed to high and beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is very light, creamy, pale.
8) Pour the melted chocolate and vanilla into the bowl, mixing until just combined.
9) Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the mixture. Do not overwork the dough or else the cookies will be tough.
10) Fold the chocolate chunks (12 ounces) into the mixture.
11) Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop to divide the dough into 30 cookies. The cookie dough will be soft at first, but then it will firm up. Scoop the cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing them about 2 inches apart. I had to bake them in batches. Do not place the other baking sheets with the scooped dough in the fridge to chill. Leave the dough at room temperature.
12) Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the cookies are evenly cracked all over the tops and are softly set.
13) Transfer the baking sheets from the oven to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the baking sheets. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a serving plate.