Tuesday, 18 February 2014

tartine's salted chocolate-rye cookies

salted chocolate-rye cookies with a cardamom laced tea
meet the cookie that tastes as good as its raw dough. the truth is i usually bake so that i can indulge in the dough or batter. it almost always tastes better than the baked version. this is not the case with tartine’s salted chocolate-rye cookies. these slightly irregular discs spread a little in the oven; their surface cracks intimating an interior that is dark and fudge like. the pinch of salt on its mound is savoury at first bite and then sweetness floods the mouth.

in my growing years, it was the biscuit and not cookie that reigned supreme. i met my first chocolate-chip cookie in chicago in the summer of 1999 and was instantly smitten. cookies command an easy affection because they are a little bit everything that is good about baked treats. they are soft and crisp, fudge like without being cloyingly sweet and they can be studded with chocolate chips and nuts. whilst i still love a biscuit of sturdy constitution, one that holds itself even when dunked, there is nothing i love more than a warm cookie with a milky coffee.

i happened to make tartine’s salted chocolate-rye cookies on last friday that happened to be valentine’s day. o and i do not celebrate hallmark holidays. a few years ago when we were newly married a rather bulky parcel arrived at our doorstep on valentine’s day. it was our first year of living together and i thought it was something for me. in fact it turned out to be a laundry basket. i teased o so much about the practical present that he went out and bought me a single long stemmed rose. that was the first and the last of our love day celebration. i inadvertently broke rank this year merely through coincidence. having said that a little bit of extra love never hurt anyone, especially when it comes dressed up as a cookie. 

in a way these cookies are a metaphor for love. those who bake know that different batches of cookies seldom bake consistently hence like love these cookies are slightly variable in temperament. they also involve plenty of elbow grease because the eggs and sugar have to be whipped for six minutes for them to double in volume. and then there are the unpleasant elements (like the stack of dirty dishes). and yet, that first bite of a still warm cookie shared with o makes those things pale in the background.

just out of the oven cookie
{tartine’s salted chocolate-rye cookies}
halved and barely adapted from the tasting table

two hundred and twenty-five grams 70% dark chocolate 
sixty grams unsalted butter 
sixty grams whole-grain dark rye flour 
half a teaspoon baking powder 
quarter teaspoon fine salt 
two eggs at room temperature 
one hundred and sixty grams dark muscovado sugar 
one and a half teaspoon vanilla essence 
fleur de sel for sprinkling 

place the dark chocolate (i use callets, if you are using bars it is helpful to chop it up into small pieces) with the unsalted butter in a glass bowl. set this over a pan of simmering water and allow it to melt, stirring occasionally. once melted, set the bowl aside and let it cool slightly. 

place the dry ingredients (that is the flour, salt and baking powder) in a small bowl, stir them together and set aside. 

crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. whisk the eggs on medium-high speed, adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar at a time until fully incorporated. turn the mixer to higher and continue to whisk the mixture until the eggs have nearly tripled in volume (roughly six minutes). the mixture is the colour of a dark latte and is light and airy. 

reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate and vanilla. you may need to scrap the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the ingredients come together. lastly add the dry ingredients and fold to achieve a uniform coloured batter. do not panic is the dough is very soft and loose. it will be chilled to firm it up. 

cover it with cling wrap and refrigerate until firm to touch. this took me around forty minutes. 

preheat the oven to one hundred and eighty celsius and line two baking sheets with baking paper. use two teaspoons to drop a heaped teaspoon of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving two inches of space between each. press a pinch of salt onto the mound of the cookie. 

bake the cookies for eight to ten minutes until the puff up, have a smooth bottom and rounded top. the surface of the cookies will crack slightly. allow to cool briefly before removing them to a wire rack.

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