Thursday, May 20, 2010

Worth the wait?

I'm referring to the cookies, not this blog entry! But let me tell you, if it says 'Non-Drowsy' on the box, I'd read the fine print to see exactly what they mean by that, because I now believe that it's just letting you know you'll skip that drowsy feeling altogether and go straight into a Claritin induced coma! As my chin was hitting my chest I was entirely oblivious to my hands resting on the keyboard.  Gulliver's stare and dog breath couldn't even wake me as I slept semi-upright slumped over my laptop last night. But he's not one to give up all that easily when he's looking for his evening treats and a few swipes of his tongue in my ear and up my nose brought me back to a semi-conscious state and computer screen full of  "aa;dklladkla;jklfaaaaaaaaa" ... you get the picture, so I apologize, but I knew I couldn't do it justice knowing I had to write about the best chocolate cookie I've ever tasted!

Honestly.  I would think there would be a lot of disappointed people knowing the high expectations that come with something called 'World Peace Cookies.'  I'm going to look up why she chose this name, but I can attest that it's not all that far off.  From what I've read from various pastry chefs and other blogs, the secret is the salt.  I know, huh?  And yes, just about every baked good has salt, but this cookie has 'Fluer de Sel.' Which according to Wikipedia, Fleur de sel is a type of sea salt obtained by hand harvesting the "young" crystals that form on the surface of salt evaporation ponds, which must be why it's also so damn expensive - but SO worth it.  I think this recipe called for only a half teaspoon, but you can taste a hint of it in every bite, and that along with the bittersweet chocolate, do I need to go on?

Another great thing about these cookies is that they are incredibly easy to make.  The dough is very uncomplicated - it does get rolled into a log an refrigerated before you slice and bake them, but I LOVE that, it means I can do part of the work ahead of time. Oh, and one more thing, there's no eggs in the dough, not as if that would ever stop me, but if you wanted to lop off a chunk and forgo that whole 'baking' part you could do it without a worry - and it would be delicious - I can also attest to that! So yes, I'd been eyeing these cookies and had wanted to make them for some time, but was sure they wouldn't follow through on the hype - and I'm very happy to announce I was wrong, what can I say, there's a first time for everything! :) 

With what I felt was one 'home run' in the oven I wasn't sure what to bake to go along with it (for those crazy fools that don't care for chocolate). To be honest I really wanted to do a peanut butter cookie to compliment it, but didn't have the right ingredients on hand (like peanut butter, for instance!). So, I decided to go ahead with another cookie I've been wanting to bake for some time.  Well, technically it's not a 'cookie' at all, but homemade graham crackers.  And they sure didn't disappoint, but they also didn't look like the  'beautiful crackers' on the Smitten Kitchen site.  I can't tell you how hard I tried to have the 'cracker holes' in mine, I think my dough was a bit too moist, next time I'm going to weigh, rather than measure, the flour and see if there's difference since I noticed the later crackers held their shape better after being floured and rolled a few times, but either way, the taste was definitely there. So yes, they were a bit labor intensive, but another one that can be done in stages and obviously stores and keeps well.  I did have a few issues with having to
bake 'crackers' and occasionally crossing those fine lines between being under done (and therefor not totally 'crisp' but still had awesome graham cracker flavor), perfectly crisp and then burnt, or shall we say 'overdone' since as far as I'm concerned none were inedible.  I know, not a surprise coming from me - but the ones that were slightly singed on the bottom didn't taste burnt at all and of course were very crispy and delicious. These were definitely a time commitment but I assure you the end result is a great payoff.

After all this, I was still in a bit of a dilemma about cookies for the Ronald McDonald house.  I always tend to do something a bit heartier and less delicate, and the quantities for the other cookies would've had me rolling and baking graham crackers for days.  But I didn't want to short change them either so out comes one of the finalist recipes for the Pillsbury Bake Off that I'd saved for just such an occasion.  Caramel Filled Chocolate cookies.  I was thinking they might be a bit easier, since it's technically a drop cookie but I was wrong about that too.  It's not a cutout, so that was good, but you roll the cookie dough into balls and then wrap it around a Rolo candy!! Cool, right?  Forget the Hershey's Kisses and peanut blossoms, I thought this was simply genius!  And I'll give myself credit for buying the rolls of non-individually wrapped Rolo's instead of a bag of them or from bulk where I'd have to unwrap each one - looks like there's room for more than one genius with this cookie! :)  I've gotta tell you these were really delicious too - chocolate cookies with a chewy caramel center and then rolled in pecans - seriously, what's not to love?  And fear not RMH folk, I'm sensing there's a batch of World Peace Cookies in your future so you won't miss out on that one.

Phew, there was a lot of baking going on in my house this past week - all of this along with a few 'side jobs' for well deserving people left my house smelling great for days - and before long I'll have to clear the deck and rack 'em up and do it all again .... I love this project!

(I do have some of my own pictures to add, but can't seem to locate my camera at the moment - I'll edit for photos as soon as I find it.)

1 comment:

  1. ML-
    THANK YOU for the surprise cookie gift package! What a thrill it was to receive in the middle of my stressed-out last week of classes. There's nothing that spells stress relief like homemade cookies! I love them ALL- but especially the World Peace (mmm salty sweet) and the graham cracker cookies. Oh and the healthy cookies (are they really healthy?)- (they leave the freshest taste in your mouth after eating them too). What a treat- thank you!