Thursday, January 5, 2012

Foodie Resolutions and Double Chocolate Cookies

2011 was a great year for food. It will be hard to surpass.

2011 was the year when I shifted to organic, became a militant locavore, and taught myself to can. After trying out a vegetarian diet for Lent, I found ways to drastically reduce my household meat consumption. Inspired by my 30 by 30 list, I left behind my lifetime of picky eating to explore a whole new world of foods. I joined an organic CSA, which helped with most of the above enterprises. I endeavored to make whatever I could from scratch.

On the negative side, that very willingness to try things was stymied at the end of the year when stomach problems forced me to eliminate acid from my diet. Fortunately (considering my pantry full of high-acid canned goods), acid was not ultimately the problem, and I can eat tasty things again. A separate issue with my gall bladder, however, limits my diet in a good way: I can't eat fatty, processed meats and cheeses. This experience has shown me how important my dietary changes have been. The local, organic meats and cheeses I normally buy don't bother me - it's the factory-produced, chemical-ridden meats and cheeses of the supermarket that I have to avoid. That three half-dollar-sized Purdue chicken nuggets could ruin my New Year's Eve says a great deal about how harmful our industrial food system has become to our collective health.

2012 does not come with any new food resolutions for me. Rather, it comes with a reaffirmation of the course I embarked upon last year. There will be more vegetables, particularly the fresh, local variety. When those vegetables are in season, I will work harder to preserve some for later (no more binging on quarts of fresh-picked snow peas - some will go to the freezer!). I will make whatever I can from scratch so that I know exactly what I am putting into my body. I will buy local organic meats as much as possible, regardless of price, because my health is worth it.

These resolutions ought to be followed by some light, colorful vegetable dish, rather than a rich, decadent batch of cookies. But cookies, the last holdover from my holiday baking, are what I have for you. I made these as a gift for my brother-in-law-to-be. Although he chose not to participate in the family gift exchange this year, I thought he deserved a little something. Something chocolate.

Rich and decadent seem like soft words to describe these cookies. Just look at the ingredients - 24 oz chocolate, 3 eggs and 1/3 cup of flour?!?! I was skeptical that this would even work. There is barely enough flour to hold the dough together. The recipe makes up for this by refrigerating the dough (more like a batter, really) in plastic wrap to form sliceable logs. The slicing is still a bit difficult and sloppy, but the cookies bake up so beautifully that the struggle is worth it. They have a delicate crispy crust, almost gooey interior and deep chocolate flavor. The leftovers that didn't fit into my cookie tin disappeared lightning-fast.

While these don't quite fit with the January purge everyone seems to be on, you might want to keep them in mind for your Valentine!

Double Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from a Ghirardelli ad.

12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Valhrona 66%)
6 tbsp butter
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips (I used Whole Foods generic brand - there was no Ghirardelli to be had in the store after Christmas)
1 c chopped walnuts

In a double boiler, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until thickened.

Slowly stir in cooled chocolate mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semisweet chocolate and walnuts.

Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form the dough into two or three logs, two inches in diameter. The "dough" has more of a batter-like consistency, so use the plastic wrap to force it into the shape you want, then twist the ends tightly closed (mine had big air bubbles as I wrapped them, but while twisting the ends, I forced them into a more compact shape). Refrigerate for several hours until firm (freezing might be even better, but I didn't try it myself).

When the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic wrap, slice the dough into 3/4" rounds and place on a greased baking sheet (my dough sliced very poorly - my knife was a sticky mess! - so a number of my cookies were hand-formed on the baking sheet, which worked fine). Bake 12-14 minutes, until shiny on top and soft in the middle (12 minutes in my convection oven was perfect). Cool and indulge!

No comments:

Post a Comment