Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Result

Cookies are fine thing to make when the weather is miserable and frankly, so un-summery. The constant rain outside is instantly made better when you sink your teeth into meltingly warm fresh chocolate chip cookies. The world is somehow right again and no crappy weather can take the smile off your face!

As you can probably tell, the experiment was a success and I really think you should run off and whip up a batch immediately. I cooked a dozen or so at the 24 hour mark and really, they were very good... but nothing compared to waiting 48 hours. I couldn't cook any at the 36 hour mark due to the timing but I am so glad I waited. The dough was so well dried out it was crumbly and I had to scoop the dough out and form them into a ball for baking. But the effect on the finished product was epic.

Even though this may shock you, I think there is too much chocolate called for in the recipe as it takes away from the crunchy, golden cookie so I decreased the quantity by a third. The cookie part of this really doesn't get enough credit, it really is more than just a vehicle to eat warm gooey chocolate. The flavour of the cookie base is buttery, salty, caramelized and rich which cradled the strong, bittersweet chocolate so delicately. The edges were crisp and the center yielding and soft, as the layers of the thin chocolate discs melted into streaky heaven throughout the cookie. Just perfect in every possible way.

I ate 4 before going to bed last night. 4!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Frenchman's Cookie

I still religiously read the Dining section of the New York Times every week, albeit online, and to my amazement a couple weeks back there was a great article on chocolate chip cookies and how NYC pastry chefs work their magic on this very classic-so-classic-you-really-shouldn't-mess-with-mrs.tollhouse-classic American institution.

Now, I am not really one who usually abides by this sort of nonsense as on an everyday level I haven't met a recipe that I haven't tweaked in one way or another. One of the best parts of going to culinary school was learning how the chemistry/magic of pastry recipes can be gently pushed in other directions while still maintaining it's integrity.

So, like many people who have baking blogs I too read this article with much excitement and enthusiasm! The recipe and tips are very interesting especially the the last bit, a sprinkling of sea salt on the top...genius. At my culinary alma mater, I had the pleasure of taking a few classes with Jacques Torres and the man certainly knows a thing or two about chocolate...then I graduated and went to work for his arch rival uptown and I had to forget all about it, but I digress. :-)

I had the luck to find some very yummy Valhrona Manjari 64% feves (discs) to use for this recipe. The cult of Valhrona, to which I swear my allegiance, is really starting to take off in London finally. Not only is the chocolate, in all it's gorgeous flavours easier to find, it's even popping up on the odd dessert menu here and there. Check out the size of these discs...the cookie batter really is just a vehicle for a serious amount of chocolate. yay! Nestle, eat your heart out.

If Londoners don't truly appreciate Valhrona yet, using the discs in these cookies might just win them over.

The recipe quite interestingly, requires a certain amount of maturation time for the flavours to really bond. I have whipped up a batch...and without tweaking the recipe for once... this afternoon and will post again tomorrow at the 24 hour mark then again at the 36 hour mark for a taste test.

Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday, doesn't it??

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Luca - Cabled Baby Blanket

I am on a roll this week with my patterns! I am really happy about it actually as I have been off from work all week and have done quite a bit on my to do list such as cooking, redecorating and of course knitting. I have been on Ravelry so much this week my hubby is starting to call the laptop 'the axiom'. (If you haven't seen Wall-E, run out and see it. You won't regret it!)

I posted about this blanket awhile back (ok, nearly a year ago) but here's the pattern for 'Luca' (find it on Ravelry too, here) named after it's first recipient. I have realized that I didn't take down too many details about making this blanket in my notebook, so I apologize in advance but it's a simple rectangle so I hope this will suffice!

'Luca' - Cabled Baby Blanket

Materials used:

8 or 9 x 50g balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK (I used colour 9)
5 mm needles ( I knit ‘straight’ on a long pair of Addi Circular needles so it was easy to handle)
Cable needle
Darning needle

Gauge: Sadly, I didn’t take note of this but this pattern can really suit any gauge

Size of FO: approx. 24 inches x 36 inches

Abbreviation: C8B – Sl 4 st to cable needle and hold to back, k4 then k4 from the cn.

Stitch Pattern:
This starts as a 13 Row pattern with two cable rows in the first sequence and one cable row in every sequence thereafter.

Odd numbered RS Rows: k10, p3, (k2, p2, k8, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10
Even numbered WS Rows: k13, (p2, k2, p8, k2)* to last 15 sts, p2, k13

CO 168 stitches with your preferred cast on method.
Knit in garter st until work is 1.5 inches.

To start stitch pattern:
Rows 1 and 3: k10, p3, (k2, p2, k8, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10
Row 2 and 4: k13, (p2, k2, p8, k2)* to last 15 sts, p2, k13
Row 5: k10, p3, (k2, p2, C8B, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10.

Continue and repeat Rows 6-13 only until work reaches desired length.

Row 6-12: follow odd and even number row pattern above.
Row 13: k10, p3, (k2, p2, C8B, p2)* to last 15 sts, k2, p3, k10.

To complete, end on Row 8 and change to garter st for last 1.5 inches.

BO when blanket is desired length and weave in ends. Block if desired.