Paula’s Palate: Holiday recipes 11/17/15

Three-C Cookies

Makes 2 to 21/2 dozen 3” cookies

I developed this recipe as a way of combining some of my favorite decadent things to eat: cashews, (white) chocolate, and coconut. Since these all start with the letter “C,” I named them Three-C Cookies.  I was sodisappointed the first time I made these—they didn’t taste anything as special as their ingredients would indicate, and it seemed like a big waste.  Fortunately, I didn’t chuck them in the garbage—and by the second day, they were absolutely scrumptious.  That first day, the cashews were sort of rubbery and limp, but by the second day, they had regained their crunch and the cookies had a fantastically buttery flavor.  These really are to die for as long as you wait a full day after making them before indulging!  Two different friends have told me that these are the best cookies they’ve ever tasted, and I’m inclined to agree with them.  

1 stick (4 ozs.) unsalted butter
2 cups (about 5 ozs.) flaked sweetened coconut
11/2 cups (6 ozs.) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (about 51/2 ozs.) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (31/2 ozs.) sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (41/4 ozs.) coarsely chopped cashews
1 cup ( 6 ozs.) white chocolate chips

Melt butter over very low heat and set aside to cool slightly.  Put oven racks at top and lower-middle positions and preheat the oven to 325o.  In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut, flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl on low speed, beat together the butter and both sugars until thoroughly blended.  Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.  Add coconut/flour mixture and on lowest
mixer speed, beat until just combined.  Fold in cashews and white chocolate chips.
Place large scoops of dough (11/2 to 2 Tablespoons per scoop) onto parchment-covered cookie sheets, doing 8 to 9 scoops per sheet (if you don’t have parchment, just grease the cookie sheets
lightly—they will end up slightly more crispy on the bottoms without parchment, but still excellent).
Place one cookie sheet on each oven rack.  Bake at 325o 6 to 8 minutes, then reverse the cookie sheets, putting the one from the top rack on the lower middle rack and vice versa.  
Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until just barely golden brown.  
Remove from heat and allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.  Allow to sit overnight in an airtight container before serving—these are much better-tasting the day after you make them.

Storage

These keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and shouldn’t be eaten until the day after you make them.  You can make the dough in advance and freeze it, too; just chill the dough in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes, or until firm enough to handle, and form it into a log about 12″ to 14″ long.  Lay it on a double thickness of waxed paper and wrap the waxed paper around it firmly, twisting the ends closed.  Store the wrapped dough in an airtight container in the freezer up to 6 weeks.  To bake the frozen dough, chop off pieces with a sharp knife and bake as indicated, adding about 2 minutes to the total baking time.

Jeff’s Brownies

Developed by Catherine Vodrey (VodreyChocolates.com), April 2015
Makes 1 dozen small brownies

My brother-in-law Jeff wanted a fudgy, low-carb brownie so I made five batches before I fine-tuned things into infinity with this. Feel free to share this – just credit me and send folks to my web site at VodreyChocolates.com. Thanks!
A couple of notes:
– This is done in a loaf pan, rather than the traditional square pan, mostly because Jeff and Sarah are empty-nesters. You could double the recipe to make it in a square 8” by 8” or 9” by 9” pan and up the baking time by several minutes.
– Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, which helps with the texture. But bread flour develops gluten faster than all-purpose flour, which is why I specify simply stirring and folding by hand rather than using a mixer.
– If you are using milk chocolate rather than semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut down the sugar by a little bit – maybe a teaspoon or two.
– Don’t leave out the salt! Salt helps balance the acidity in the chocolate.

Cocoa for dusting (optional)
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup (4 ozs.) semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1 oz. for the very end
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
½ cup (2 ozs.) pecan halves
3 Tablespoons (1 oz.) bread flour
2 Tablespoons (1 oz.) sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

1) Put oven rack at upper middle position and turn oven on to 325o.  Lightly grease a regular loaf pan and dust it with cocoa (optional)
2) In the microwave on full power doing 30 seconds at a time, melt together 4 ozs. only of the dark chocolate with the butter. Stir til completely smooth and set aside to cool somewhat if it feels very warm – you don’t want to cook the eggs when you mix the two.
3) In a food processor, process the pecans, bread flour, sugar and salt until completely pulverized and flour-like, 1 to 2 minutes. There should be no chunks or pieces of pecans.
4) Do this next part by hand, not mixer. Pour the chocolate mixture into a medium mixing bowl, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture in two batches, allowing the liquid ingredients to fully absorb the dry ingredients each time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Fold in the remaining 1 oz. of chocolate chips.
5) Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake on upper middle oven rack at 325o for 17 to 20 minutes. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out a little shiny, but not wet.
6) Remove from heat and allow to cool in the pan completely, 60 to 90 minutes.

Storage

Brownies can be served immediately or stored for up to a week in an airtight container, between layers of waxed paper.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Developed by CSV, March 1995
Serves 8 to 12

4 ozs. dark chocolate
¾ stick (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
9” prebaked pieshell (I like graham cracker)
¾ cup (5 ozs.) packed brown sugar
½ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or King Syrup (or ¼ cup each honey and molasses)
2 Tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (1¾ ozs.) unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2¼ cups (about 8½ ozs.) coarsely chopped pecans

1)Melt together over very low heat the chocolate and 1 Tablespoon only of the butter.  Stir together until completely smooth and coat pieshell sides and bottom withchocolate mixture.  Set aside.
2)Put remaining butter, brown sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 3 minutes.  You can turn down heatslightly when mixture foams up.  At end of 3 minutes, whisk in rum and vanilla extract.  Set aside and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.   While it’s cooling, set oven
rack at upper middle level and preheat oven to 350o.  
3)Add eggs, cocoa and salt to cooled sugar mixture and beat with an electric mixer onlow speed until thoroughly blended.  Fold in the pecans.
4)Pour batter into prepared pieshell and bake on upper middle rack at 350o for 45 to 55 minutes, until top has puffed and is not very sticky to the touch (a toothpick inserted in the middle will never come out completely clean, but it shouldn’t come out coated and wet either).  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Pie will sink slightly as it cools.

Storage

Pie is best served the day it’s made, but will keep at room temperature for a couple of days if tightly-wrapped.

Paula Johnson
Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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