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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, February 16, 2007

Choccie cookie bonanza


I haven't yet mentioned that I received a shiny red Kitchen Aid for Christmas, just like the one Plum received and I've been getting stuck into playing around with it. Last week I decided to make a chocolate pavlova for no other reason than the fact that I hadn't yet tried out the whisk attachment. How sad is that? Then I needed to get it out of the house before I ate it all, because it was GOOD.
I was going down to a friend's beachhouse on the Great Ocean Road, so I thought that was a good enough excuse to use the Kitchen Aid again. Surely everyone wants biscuits! I tried out two recipes: one for a choc chip cookie, and another for a peanut butter truffle biscuit that I admit was purely inspired by gluttony, peanut butter truffle - hello?! And the picture in the book was the sort that always made me stop and stare in longing.

But first, the choc chip cookies: these are courtesy of wrestler/movie star The Rock in the WWF cookbook! I read about them on a few different blogs and as so many of you know, I have a quest to find the best choc chip cookie recipe. This one is pretty damn good: I like CCCs with oatmeal in them; it gives heft and chew. But you need pretty damn strong muscles to stir the mixture - hence why you love your Kitchen Aid at a time like this! You can find the recipe here near the bottom of the page, which I halved and still ended up with about 80 cookies. Evidently The Rock enjoys things a little larger than I do...! I used a combination of a chunk of Valrhona dark chocolate and the leftovers of a choc-almond Christmas tree - you know those things made of chopped almonds mixed with chocolate and made into lots of branches in a tree shape - which was tasty but meant they ended up far too nutty. Hours later we were still picking nuts out of our teeth, so next time I'm sticking with normal chocolate. NB - these kept for ages without going manky, too.

The peanut butter truffle cookies come from a random English baking book, the type that includes photos of each step, and the photo shows the things warm from the oven with the truffle filling oozing out and looking delish. As you can see above, there was no oozement going on, but that disappointment aside, these were incredible - but a little tedious to make. You make up a peanut butter & golden syrup dough which is pretty soft and pasty. Combine that with our summer heat and I had to put it in the fridge for a few hours because there was no way I could roll that stuff out. When I could, I flattened a ball into a circle and added a spoonful of the truffle mixture and tried to fold the dough around it, with very varying success. Usually the dough was not dough-like enough to do it without cracking or falling apart, so lots of my cookies had cracked tops where the truffle mixture bubbled out. The taste was fabulous, anyway and I'd definitely make these again when I'm feeling domestic and have a bit of time and patience on my hands.
Read on for the recipe:

Peanut Butter Truffle Cookies
Makes ~20

125 g/4 oz dark chocolate
150ml/1/4 pint double cream*
125g/4oz softened butter
125g/4oz caster sugar
125g/4oz crunchy or smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp milk
225g/8oz plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1: Preheat oven to 180C/350F 10 minutes before baking. Make the chocolate filling by breaking the chocolate into small pieces and placing in a heatproof bowl.
2: Put the cream into a saucepan and heat for boiling point. Immediately pour over the chocolate
3: Leave to stand for 1-2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Se aside to cool until firm enough to scoop. Do not refrigerate (I needed to. I'm in an Australian summer!)
4: Lightly oil a baking sheet. Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the peanut butter, followed the golden syrup and milk.
5: Sift together the flour and bicarb. Add to the peanut butter mixture, mix well and knead until smooth.
6: Flatten 1-2 tablespoons of the cookie mixture on a chopping board
6: Put a spoonful of the chocolate mixture into the centre of the cookie dough, then fold the dough around the chocolate to enclose completely.
8: Put the balls on to the baking sheet and flatten slightly (be careful not to split them open!). Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden**
9: Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and serve.

*I actually used yoghurt as it's what I had in the fridge. The filling had a slight tang which I liked against the sweet dough.
** I found this time wasn't long enough, as my biscuits became *extremely* soft the next day, and I needed to re-bake them for another 10 minutes so they didn't crumble when I picked them up.

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