Thanksgiving is past us and now comes my favorite cooking time of the year. As most of you know I am Swedish and Swedish Christmas food to me is my favorite. Not only do we make all kinds of cookies and candies in Swedish but we have a Swedish Christmas smörgåsbord as well. Swedish Christmas smörgåsbord are filled with gravlax, herrings, ham, meatballs, red cabbage and all kinds of good stuff. This will be first time I will be featuring this with you. On top of that since I am married to a man that grew up with Jewish traditions I will also be featuring some Hanukkah recipes.
I am really excited for the month of December which will be filled with Hanukkah recipes, Swedish Christmas smörgåsbord recipes and all kinds of baked good and cookies and most of all I am excited to share it with you.
I am so excited that on top of the cooking I will also be featuring 3 cookbooks giveaways in the next three weeks. Not only will I try the cookbooks with a recipe or two but give you my review as well.
Today I am featuring “Sweet Magic, easy recipes for delectable desserts” by Michel Richard and Peter Kaminsky.
If you are not familiar with Michel Richard, he is a chef-owner of Michel Richard Citronelle and Central Michel Richard in Washington DC. Before made his first cÔte de boeuf or prepared his first foie gras terrine, he was a pastry chef. In Los Angeles, pastry lovers lined up outside his bakeshop on Wilshire Boulevard, waiting to enjoy the breads and treats they’d heard were the best in town, maybe even better than anything in Paris. Now, in this outstanding collection, the superstar chef returns to his first love, the food that made him famous—desserts.
I got this cookbook and started looking through it. My first reaction was it has no photo’s. But that is my only negative comment. I am a huge food photo person and wished I had picture to each of these dessert. But don’t let it stop you from getting this cookbook. I loved it.
The cookbooks is divided into 3 parts. First it is “My Sweet Dreams” which I believe features his favorites. Part two is “You can take the Frenchman out of France but…” and Part Three, “Made in the USA.”
It includes the fancy French dessert recipes but with easy ingredients and easy text, but also his own twist on the basic American recipes that are unique. Definitely a great addition to your cookbook collection.
So many choices but I decided to make the Extremely Chocolaty Chip Cookies. If I had to name this cookie I would call it the Chocolate and Hazelnut Graham Cracker Cookie. And that is exactly how it tastes.
I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of graham cracker crust. So when I saw the ingredients of this cookie that it included NO FLOUR but only graham cracker crust I knew I had to try this out.
And let me tell you this is a keeper cookie, it is very different but delicious.
Also a few comments on this cookie. Follow the instructions. I had more than 6 cookies on some of my trays and they all touched into one big cookie. The trays I had only 6 cookies were great. Also let them cool on the rack just before you touch them, they are very delicate. If you do store them do not store them on top of each other they will stick, I would store them with some parachute paper in between each cookie. I used chocolate chips for these and that was just fine. Last but not least these cookies are much better cold. Yes I said it, these cookies are much better the day after cold with a glass of milk. Huge hit!
I needed to include Michel’s intro to this cookie because it shows his thinking:
“This cookie is not meant as an improvement but more as an homage to the chocolate chip cookie. I was also inspired by another American delicacy, the graham cracker-so simple yet so crisp and with such depth of flavor. I was struck by what a nice crust it made for cheesecake, so I started to play with it, chopping up hazelnuts and dark chocolate to go along with it. Because the graham cracker is already baked, there is no opportunity for gluten to develop to hold the cookie together, so it is naturally crumbly, even though the eggs, salt, and sugar serve to bind it somewhat. Take care to pack the dough very tightly as descried below. The texture of these cookies makes me think of sand-not the grittiness of sand, but the way it is full of fine little grains. Try serving them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top-or use two spoons to shape the ice cream into oval “quenelle.””
Extremely Chocolaty Chip Cookies “Chocolate and Hazelnut Graham Cracker Cookie”
Yields: 24 Cookies | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Refrigeration: 4 hours | Bake Time: 20 minutes
1 cup hazelnuts
14.4 oz box graham crackers, crushed (about 4 cups)
8 oz dark or semisweet chocolate
½ cup dark alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar, dark
2 large eggs
Note: The cookie dough is rolled into a cylinder shape that can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for several months. Defrost it in the refrigerator before baking.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Place the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and bake them for 15 minutes, shaking them once halfway through. Transfer the nuts to the center of a kitchen towel. Fold the comers of the towel over and let them steam for 1 minute. Holding the towel, vigorously rub the hazelnuts inside to remove the skins. Don’t worry a little bit of skin stays on. Cool the hazelnuts completely.
Place the hazelnuts and graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and pulse to produce a fine powder. Roughly chop 4 ounces of the chocolate and add it to the food processor bowl, along with the cocoa powder. Process all together for 15 to 20 seconds, or until uniformly combined.
Using a spatula, mix the butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and the contents of the mixer bowl and incorporate well.
Divide the dough into halves. Lightly wet your work surface, cut a length of plastic wrap about 24 inches long, and lay it on the damp counter. Place one of the dough balls in the center of the plastic. Take one edge of the plastic wrap and fold it over the dough. Tuck it under and roll the dough, forming a large sausage shape approximately 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches long in the process. Roll up the entire length of the plastic wrap around the dough two or three times. Next, twist both ends of the plastic very, very tightly. If you loosely pack this dough, it will crumble too easily. Fasten the ends tightly with twine or twist ties. Repeat the above steps with the other piece of dough.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or until firm.
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 F. Cut the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate into large “chips.” Line two sheet pans with Silpat or parchment. Slice the dough into ½ inch thick disks. Place 6 cookies on each sheet pan and press 6 to 8 chocolate pieces into the top of each. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes. They will be very delicate-let them sit on the pan for 5 minutes until they are firm and cool enough to remove with a spatula. Carefully transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
To enter the giveaway you need to do 3 things:
For additional entries:
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5. Leave an additional commnet telling me you tweeted about it.
The giveaway ends on Sunday, 12/5 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Winner will be selected from Random.org.
**** UPDATE ****
And the winner is. . . .