Friday, February 20, 2009

Chocolate Epiphany

As soon as I saw this book on the shelf, I knew it was coming home with me. Fortunately, I was at the library, so it didn't set me back $35, but it also means I have to give it up in two weeks. :( This book is the stuff chocolate covered dreams are made of. With recipes like Triple Chocolate Financiers, Ganache-Meringue Kisses, Chocolate Churros, Trio of Chocolate Mousse Cake, Gateau de Crepes with Green Tea Cream, how could you not love this book? In his Dark and White Chocolate Napoleon, he uses chocolate covered phyllo dough between layers of chocolate mousse.

While many of the recipes are complicated and read like novels, there are a handful of recipes for the novice baker such as myself. And really, the pictures are so yummy I would still attempt the more complicated recipes.

I made pastry cream earlier today for a Galette des Rois for tomorrow which required just egg yolks, so I decided to make a quick and easy cookie recipe from Chocolate Epiphany to use the egg whites. The cookies have a shiny, crisp exterior, and a soft, warm, chewy center. They do spread, so I could only bake a handful of cookies at a time. And even with a silicon baking mat, they do stick.

Unfortunately, Tim left the camera at work, so no pictures for you. You'll just have to make them yourself if you want to see.

Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies
Source: Fran├žois Payard

2 3/4 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the walnut halves on a large-rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. (1) Let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them. Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 320. Line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. (2) In a large bowl, whisk (or combine in an electric mixer on low speed) the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. While whisking (or once you change the speed to medium), add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen). (3) Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks. Let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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