Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sablés Korova (aka the awesome chocolate cookie)

This cookie recipe originally comes from Pierre Hermé, the man Vogue magazine called "The Picasso of Pastry," via Dori Greenspan, baker extraordinaire.  In her words:  They are cocoa dark, not very sweet, chock-full of chocolate bits, melt-on-your-tongue buttery, just crumbly enough to be true sablès, or sand cookies, and just salty enough to catch you off guard.

The cookies are a basic log roll, fridge and slice kind of cookie, but with a drier, not so sweet and kind of unusual but yummy taste.

Makes about 36 cookies.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoapowder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (but really, spring for the fancy stuff because it just dances on your tongue in a way that sea salt never will)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits (or I use the Nestle chocolate chunk chips)

1.  Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. (Alternatively, you can do this and all subsequent steps by hand, working with a sturdy rubber spatula.) Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated—the dough will look crumbly, and that’s just right. For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

2.  Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and squeeze it so that it sticks together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1½ inches (4 cm) in diameter. (Cookie-dough logs have a way of ending up with hollow centers, so as you’re shaping each log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, just to make certain you haven’t got an air channel.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 2 hours. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)

3.  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4.  Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are ½ inch thick. (Don’t be upset if the rounds break; just squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch spread space between them.

5.  Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time, and bake each sheet for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies stand until they are only just warm or until they reach room temperature—it’s your call. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.

KEEPING: The dough can be made ahead and chilled or frozen. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking—just slice the logs and bake the cookies 1 minute longer. Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 1 month

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asparagus and Scallops

Holy Springtime, Batman!  This excellent recipe comes from Jesse Ziff Cool's Simply Organic and is pure April in a bottle.  The dressing is delicious...stilll figuring out what else I can drizzle it on...breakfast cereal, perhaps?

3 T olive oil
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole canned chipotle chile or a teaspoon of the pureed stuff (see my earlier post for Chipotle Sweet Potatoes for how to do this....)

1 lb scallops
3/4 c cornmeal
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
2 T butter

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chipotle and let sit for 30 minutes.

In another bowl, combine the cornmeal, coriander, salt and pepper.  Toss the scallops.

Bring 1/4 c water to a boil in a skillet, place the asparagus in, lower heat to medium, cover and let steam for 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.

Wipe out skillet, melt butter over medium high heat and add scallops.  Cook for about 2 minutes on one side and another 2 minutes or so on the other side.

Divide asparagus among 4 plates, top with scallops and drizzle the delicious dressing on top.