Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I set aside a chunk of my Friday morning to read Confections of a Master Closet Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado. I thought I would lay out in the sun for a little (oh how I love southern California) and just read for 20 minutes, but that turned into 2+ hours. After having to force myself to put the book down, the little voice in my head (not that crazy one, but the other one) that says “I’m going to be a baker!” was jumping around and going nuts saying “go bake, go bake, go bake!”

If you like baking, you should read this book. Gesine, unfortunately known to many just as Sandra Bullock’s sister, was a hollywood executive that gave up the high-paid LA lifestyle to pursue her true passion in baking. It’s a hilarious and inspiring memoir. I’ll share with you just this one bit from the book, and then we’ll get to the cookies:

“I didn’t want more stuff. I wanted to be more happy. I wanted to be good. I wanted to stop hating people and start understanding. And the only way I knew how to feel like a good and kind person was through baking.”

I swear, as I read this book I have to stop and put it down for a few seconds every so often because it feels like she is reading my thoughts out loud.

I just want you guys to eat the desserts & food that I make. Plain and simple. I’ll have one, and you have the rest. Well, maybe I’ll have 3, and then I swear you can have the rest.

Those preschool teachers have it right I tell you, sharing is caring.

Here we go – I made some Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I know “chunk” is a funny word, but I don’t use chocolate chips anymore in cookies so I would feel as if I am leading you down the wrong path if I said chips – there is a huge difference I tell you! If you haven’t made the switch to chopped up chocolate in your cookies, you need to now. You know those delicious cookies you get from a bakery that when you break them in half the chocolate just comes oozing out. That’s because they’re not using chocolate chips, which have stabilizers in them to keep their shape. Grab the bar of chocolate and take out some stress on it. Your cookies & taste testers will thank you.

I really wanted a chocolate chip cookie, but after looking through way too many “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipes I decided that there was just too much pressure on something so simple. So I took a different approach. These are like a “look at me I’m all grown up” kinda cookie. They remind me of my Oatmeal Cookies a bit because of the cinnamon that is in it. Overall, they were a nice alternative to the everyday chocolate chip cookie.

Lastly, can we just talk about how ridiculously adorable my little niece is. She says my name now, without me tricking her by repeating it over and over. I swear I will do anything and give her anything she wants as long as she comes running towards me saying “Madddy Madddddy” – my heart is melting just thinking about it…sighhhhh.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Enjoy,

Madeline

#34 Chocolate Macaroons with Espresso Ganache (Again)

A few months back, I attempted to make French Macaroons for my friend Debby. No one told me that they were such a pain to deal with! They didn’t cook right, the ganache didn’t ever set…it was just a straight disaster.

For some reason, I was feeling adventurous and attempted these little suckers again. To my surprise, they turned out! Although macaroons are very tastey, they just are not really worth all of the effort in my opinion.

First thing about macaroons is that a lot of the stuff is measured out using a scale

 

Waiting for the oven

Just like many other cookie recipes, this one needs some type of sheet down when you’re cooking. If you don’t cook a lot, the easiest approach is parchment paper. If you do cook a good amount, and honestly if you dont cook a lot I wouldnt suggest making this for your first kitchen adventure. The best thing to use for these, and pretty much all other cookies, is the Silpat. Everything comes out evenly cooked and the bottoms look gorgeous.

These were cooked with the Silpat:

How gorgeous is the bottom of this?

 

All of them came off the pan without any problem at all

These were cooked with parchment paper:

Not such a pretty bottom!

So sad

 

Moral of the story: Buy a Silpat. Seriously.

Success

 

Chocolate French Macaroons with Espresso Ganache

110 g blanched almonds
200 g minus 2 tbsps powdered sugar
2 tbsps cocoa powder
3 egg whites (about 100 g), room temperature
50 g sugar

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and pulse until well-blended. Whip the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the granulated sugar while whipping until a shiny meringue forms (but not too dry). Add the almond mixture to the meringue and quickly incorporate the mixture into the meringue while taking care not to overbeat. You want to achieve a batter that flows and “ribbons” for at least 5 seconds. Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large plain piping tip (Ateco 809 or 807) and pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with silpat (or parchment paper). The rounds should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and at least an inch apart.

Let the macarons sit out for an hour to develop a hard shell. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size.

Espresso Ganache:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs granulated sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp instant espresso powder

Heat the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a 2 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place 8 ounces semisweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder in a stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and espresso. Let sit for 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.

(Recipe from userealbutter.com)

Enjoy!