Monday, March 01, 2010

A messy 40, and the Cookie Monster

40 degrees today! Unbelievable. This is the warmest it has been in months. No need for the stocking cap and gloves. It felt great on my run this afternoon.

I did just over 5 miles. The trails have cleared up quite a bit, as the snow is melting rapidly. However, there are still plenty of areas that receive little sunlight where there is a lot of snow and ice yet to melt.

About a mile into my run, I stepped on what I thought was solid ice only to crash through into a three inch deep puddle, effectively filling the toe area of my new shoes with ice cold water. Thankfully, the mesh uppers at least do a nice job of filtering out the ice chunks. :) So that was unpleasant. But those areas were few and far between. Nice to run on dry pavement again.

And I saw my first mourning dove of the season. I am really looking forward to the return of the various migratory birds over the next few months.

In cooking news, I've been on a total cookie baking kick lately. I think I am turning into the Cookie Monster.

On Sunday, I tried a new recipe. It was based one of Martha's, but I put my own spin on it. I am not a coffee drinker, however I love coffee flavors, especially in desserts (coffee-flavored ice cream is the best!). I took the proportions of the recipe and added some espresso powder to the dry ingredients. Also, I had some cappuccino-flavored chips in my pantry. So instead of 12 oz. of chocolate chips, I weighed out 5 oz. of the cappuccino chips, 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips, and 2 oz. of some little Heath Bar bits for good measure. Anyhow, here is what I did:

Double Chocolate Coffee Toffee Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

2/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. espresso powder
8 oz. Green & Black's 70% cacao dark chocolate, broken up
4 T. unsalted butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. light-brown sugar, packed
1 t. pure vanilla extract
5 oz. Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
5 oz. E. Guittard cappuccino flavored chips
2 oz. Heath English Toffee bits

Heat oven to 350 F.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder to a bowl. Mix together to combine. Set aside.

Add the chocolate and butter to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on a high speed until light and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low. Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the egg, brown sugar, and vanilla mixture. Mix until the chocolate is just incorporated.

Add the flour mixture. Stir until just combined and you no longer see white streaks of flour. Fold in the chocolate chips, cappuccino chips, and Heath bar bits.

On parchment lined baking sheets, drop rounded tablespoons of the mixture, approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 12 minute. The cookies should have a cracked and somewhat shiny appearance. Allow to set on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, and then transfer to a cookie sheet to cool completely. Enjoy. Share with coworkers. Impress your friends. Or keep 'em for yourself...I ain't gonna tell on you. :)

Really good stuff, with rich chocolate and coffee flavors. When I do this again, I might adjust the chip/Heath bar ratio to include more Heath bar. The little crunchy bits of toffee are a nice surprise and offer a welcome textural contrast to an otherwise soft, moist cookie. I look forward to making these again. Soon.

Until next time,

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