November 21, 2013

Goldilocks & Cocoa Drops

Dark chocolate and toasted walnuts are the bulk of this gluten-free and dairy-free cookie!  Perfect for dunking into hot and cold beverages.  Use your favorite unsweetened cocoa powder; I prefer non-alkalized, but if Dutch-process is what you are familiar with, it will work just fine.  The key to baking is much like Goldilocks & The Three definitely don't want to over bake or you'll be left with crisp cookies all the way through, if you under bake they won't hold their shape and you'll end up with loads of crumbs.  However, if you bake "just right" you'll end up with a crisp outer shell and a pleasantly chewy and nutty interior.  Keep in mind that these cookies love to spread, so depending on the amount of dough you drop you may need to use several baking sheets.  I can squeeze 6 on a half sheet tray, as I use about 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of dough for each drop.

Cocoa Drops

Makes 1 1/2-2 dozen depending on the size

4 cups (1 lb/ 453 g) powdered sugar
3/4 cup (3 oz/ 83 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) fine grain sea salt
2 cups (8 oz/ 230 g) walnut halves, lightly toasted, cooled & coarsely chopped
1 cup (6 oz/ 180 g) chopped 70% chocolate
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 320 F/ 160 C degrees.  Line rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and sea salt.
Stir in the chopped and toasted walnuts and chocolate until well mixed.
Stir in the egg whites and vanilla until well combined.
Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for about 6 minutes and then rotate pans, top/bottom/front/back.
Continue baking until they puff and crack a bit, the tops should get glossy, about 6-9 minutes longer.
Slide the cookies still on parchment paper onto cooling racks, and let them cool completely.
If you have any leftover, store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

November 20, 2013

Broken Bits...Petite Pieces...Chubby Chips

I've been playing with this recipe for some time now and T and I agree that this is the best batch yet!  The shape of the chocolate really makes a difference; I love the odd disc-like shape of a Valrhona callet, but they are better suited for large chocolate chip cookies than for my bread.  On your next baking adventure, I urge you to pick-up one of your favorite chocolate bars and crush it up into small pieces before folding it into your next batch of banana bread!  The broken bits, add moisture, texture and of course flavor.

Here is a sneak peek of my GF Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread, it is a classic that will appear in my cookbook.

Happy Baking!

November 11, 2013

Perhaps Mutant Tomatoes WILL Give Us Heat Vision!

Have you ever wished for superhero-like abilities?  Well Washingtonians and I suppose all Americans here is our chance!  Not only do genetically modified ingredients cause liver, pancreas and kidney damage in animals, third generation hamsters can no longer reproduce and more than half of the babies of mother rats fed genetically modified (GM) soy, died within three weeks. Hmmmm, makes one wonder, what do we have in store for the human race?  And what will happen to our food supply?  Well, on the upside, in the words of Stephen Colbert, "I'm hoping one day a mutant tomato can give me heat vision."