Very chewy and lovely caramel flavoured chocolate chip cookies

With the garden being more or less ready for winter my attention is shifting to the kitchen again.
December is also the time when I need to have a jar full of cookies in the drawer. Preferably chocolate chip cookies or "sable chocolat au fleur de sel".
Whenever I come across a good looking chocolate chip cookie I give it a try. This caught my attention right away. It's called "the only chocolate chip cookie I need to know for the rest of my life" Had to try it and I'm glad I did. They are really great. The only down side is the dough needs to rest for 36 hours. So no instant thing.
Nothing better than sitting on the sofa on a cold winter morning, a pale sun coming through the mist, drinking coffee eating these cookies and listening to dub music.

So here we go. Recipe curtesy of Katie from fromeme for you.

You'll need:

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. cake flour (8 1/2 oz)
  • 2 2/3 cups bread flour (8 1/2 oz)
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably
    about 60% cacao content,
  • Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

If you can't find decent chocolate chips just buy a good quality dark chocolate and cut it into small pieces.

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well and then set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 180°. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly.
Don't make the cookies to small otherwise they won't be so chewy. I recommend making them the size of a ping pong ball.

Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

The cookies are pictured on one of my favorite music books: Culture Clash; Dread meets punk rockers by Don Letts. A must read when you are into dub ( and punk ) music.

No baking without music - so here comes another recommendation:  There's a series called "London is the place for me " out on  Honest Jon's records, one of my favourite labels by the way. Lovely Calypso music to accompany any baking session.

'Vibrant and beautiful almost beyond words, the fifty year old recordings being collected on Honest Jons' London Is The Place For Me series are giant and precious treasures of early black British music. Exquisite artistic achievements in their own right, they also throw light on the early development of post bop jazz in the UK.
Volume one in the series, released in '02 and subtitled Trinidadian Calypso In London, 1950-1956, features all-but-forgotten masterpieces of reportage, social commentary and louche wit from Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner, the Lion, and other recently arrived young calypsonians. This second volume, subtitled Calypso And Kwela, Highlife And Jazz From Young Black London, concentrates on the same period but widens the geo-stylistic net"

Listen here

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Millefeuille poire chocolat

I've been complaining about my lack of coming up with my own recipe here before, all the more I'm proud to present one now.
It seems I'm better with sweet dishes than with salty ones.
We were invited to a friends place and had nothing to bring along. Kevin said he would like to bring something sweet and that we still had some of these nice pears. Maybe we could make something with these. Instantly I had this idea of a Mille-feuille, something one cut cut into slices. Obviously dark chocolate would have to be involved too.
So off I went into the kitchen experimenting with dough and 70 percent black chocolate.
I was very please with the result and so were our friends but over the past weeks I have been developing this further and now I think it's rather delicious.

The  Mille-feuille

You'll need:

  • Ready made puff pastry
  • beans for baking ( whatever you have in your cuboard)
  • sugar

Roll out the puff pastry and sprinkle generously with sugar. Blind bake ( with baking beans ) on 170° for approximately 15 min. Before it starts to get brown take of the beans and put it back into the oven on a high rack to let the sugar caramelize . Once the sugar caramelized take it out and let it cool.

The dark chocolate mousse

You'll need:

  • 180gr gark chocolate 70%
  • 80 gr whole milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 tbs sugar

Melt the chocolate over simmering water, the water should not touch the bowl. Let it cool down a bit. Bring the milk to boil and gently blend it into the chocolate using a small whisk. Add the egg yolk, again very gently.
Beat the egg whites on medium speed till they hold soft peaks then turn the speed up and gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until they are firm but still glossy. Mix one third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten the mixture. Use the whisk for this . Now carefully fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Put into the fridge.

The pears

You'll need:

  • 2-3 pears depending on the size
  • 2 dl port wine
  • zest of one organic lemon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla seeds

Finely slice the pears and let them soak in a mixture of Port wine, lemon zest and vanilla seeds for an hour or more.

To make the "mille feuille" uns a oven dish or bis pastry form if you have. Cut the pastry so it fits neatly into the form.
Layer with the pears. Cover with a thick layer of chocolate mousse and but into the fridge for 2 hours.
Take our and sprinkle with grated chocolate and cut into slices - bon appetit!

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Now here comes a very secretrecipe ;-) Already when I was a child I loved to cook and bake and I had a very sweet tooth ! Ok maybe I still have . One of the very popular christmas presents I used to make for fathers and godfathers were truffes. Thing is once you made them you can not wrap them put them under the christmas tree, no you have to store them in the fridge till the day you can actually give them away. Problem is these truffes are so delicious that it happened more than once that I ate them all before christmas, which led to severe emergency operations...

This is probably also the moment to confess that my handwritten cookbook with the red flower binding soon got more important to me than my black mickey mouse diary.

Anyway, our ( the boys ) christmas presents this year were home made tea sachets with herb tea from our garden, but we did not have enough tea to so we made theses truffes for the men of our family. I wasn't sure if its just memories or if the truffes are really so delicious, I can tell you they are bloody great! Now that we are two who secretly steal the little chocolate things from the fridge it's a wonder any of them made it to the grandfathers and godfathers at all.


Both of them loved them so much that I promised to write down the recipe  - and now comes the real secret - the recipe comes out of the mentioned red handwritten recipe book but I very waggly remember having it from a betty bossy ( a very traditional swiss thing ) cookbook ( pssst* ! )

So her it comes:

You'll need:

  • 200 gr dark chocolate
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbs water
  • 150 gr butter
  • 180 gr icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbs grand magner
  • Icing sugar, cocoapowder and chocolate crumbles
  • paper cups

Melt the chocolate in the bain marie.
Cream the butter . Add the icing sugar, the grand mariner and the egg yolk.
Add the chocolate and mix for 2 - 3 minutes.

Put into the fridge. When the mixture is cold form walnut sizes truffes. Turn them in icing sugar, cocoa powder or chocolate crumbles.

By the way these are the tea sachets we made - just in case you need some inspiration for next year ;-)

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Chocolate - Chestnut - Parfait

This stunning dessert comes from my upstairs neighbor. A very surprising combination which is not easy to guess for your guests.
Quick and simple to make. But it needs some 3 hours in the freezer.

Enough for at least 8 people.

200 gr sugar
5 eggs
2 bricks puréed chestnut
250 gr melted dark chocolate
2.5 dl cream
1 tbs kirsch

beat sugar and egg yolks till white, add the chestnut purée and the melted chocolate. Carefully add the beaten egg whites and the beaten cream.
If you like ad some kitsch.

Put in the freezer for approximately 3 hours.

Serve almost but not quite frozen. Semifredo style.

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Little chocolate cakes

My son and I, we do a lot of baking. He's a fuzzy eater and I hope helping in the kitchen will open his mind and his taste buds. These little chocolate cakes are cute and easy to make. He loved everything about them, so small, so cute and so easy to make.

120 gr dark chocolate
120 gr Butter
120 gr sugar
4 eggs
1 pinch of salt
70 gr ground almonds
60 gr flour

Pre heat the oven on 175°

Melt the chocolate, butter and the sugar in a pan over medium heat.
Beat the egg white with the salt till stiff. Mix the yellow with the almonds. Add the chocolate mixture and slowly add the egg whites. Fill into the buttered cake forms and bake for approximately 15 min.

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Chocolate- lemon Madelaines

This mornings work are these Chocolate- lemon Madelaines also from Pierre Hermé's cookbook "Chocolate Desserts".

An other nice tea cookie, easy to make, all the need is time ( most precious good I know ).
Gives you 12 Madelaines.

70 gr all-pirpose flour
3.5 tbs cocoapowder ( dark and unsweetened )
1/5 tsp baking powder
90 gr sugar
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1/4 lemon
2 large eggs at room temperaturs
100 gr soft butter

Sift together flower, cocoa abd bakin powder.
Put thew sugar, salt and the lemon zest in a bowl and rubb everthing together with your fingers until the mixture gets moist.
Beat the eggs into the lemon sugar until blended.
Add the soft butter . Gently whisk in the flour mixture.

Chill for at least 6 hours to get the nice little bump on top of your madelaines. Or, if you can live without it put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven on 220°
Butter and flour the madelaine mould.
Fill the mould with the doug. You don't have to flatten it, the heat will do that for you.
Place the pan in the oven, leave a wooden spoon in the dorr to keep it slightly open. Turn down the heat down to 180° and bake for 15 minute.

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I have a queue of things I want to do that lasts to Afrika. On the list is lot's of weeding but also planting as important things as soybeans, imagine picking your own edamame in your garden! Then comes lot's of cooking and baking I have some new cookbooks I haven't even touched. And then there's less interesting things like washing our down jackets or cleaning the cellar.
There's a week of holidays coming up and eventually I manage to make a few of these things.
The start make these little fellows - Financiers. A chocolate pastry perfect for tea time.
I always buy them from sprüngli in Zürich.

I came across this recipe in Pierre Hermé's cookbook "Chocolate Desserts" . There's plenty of other nice things I crave to try in the book but most of them way more complicated than these sweeties.

100 gr bittersweet chocolate ( 70% or more )finely chopped
3 large eggs at room temperature
125 gr sugar
100 gr finely ground almond powder
125 gr soft butter
100 gr tepid water
50 all- purpose flower

Melt the chocolate in a bow over simmering water (without touching the water). Let it cool down a little bit. Meanwhile  mix the almonds, eggs and sugar on medium speed until the color of the mixture tunes pale. Add the butter and mix an low speed. Add the chocolate and mix to blend. Add the water and mix on medium speed till incorporated. Fold in the flour.
Grease and dust the boat shaped financier molds. ( Size: The should hold approx. 3 tbs water ) Bake in the preheated oven 180° for 17 min. Let them cool on a rack for 3 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and carefully take out the financiers.

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Profiteroles are amongst my favorite desserts. I always order them in the restaurant if they are on the menu, but there are huge differences in the preparation and not all of them are equally nice. What you want is dark bitter chocolate over cold and creamy vanilla ice. To often one get puff pastry soaked in something like mousse au chocolat.

We had our annual coeur de sel xmas dinner this saturday and I decided to try to make profiteroles. ( as you already now I always need chocolate in my desserts ). It looks as if I'm into Pastry bags these days. For every other recipe I try you need one. Must be because of fannys lovely pastry blog.

The thought of making puff pastry made me a bit nervous. I remember years ago I tried to make a gateau saint Honoré which turned out horrible in the first attempt because of the puffs. I started with looking for a recipe. I found several in my cookbook collection. Every one of them was completely different concerning the puff pastry. Some used milk others only water and the quantities were totally different in each one of them - which made me think of julian barns book "Pedant in the kitchen" . A very funny book indeed. A must for everybody who likes cookbooks.

The puffs turned out quite nice in the end. Really funny it got when I tried to make the chocolate sauce. My recipe said I should make the sauce with 250 gr unsweetened cocoa powder, 100 gr sugar and 200ml water and 2 tbs starch. I tried. It's like spitting into sand. The tiny bit of cocoa who got moist stuck to the wooden spoon like it would be afraid of drowning the big rest dusted all over the place, also on the hot stove. At this point I decided not to use any starch and added lot more water. I ended up with a lovely chocolate sauce, enough for a whole army though.
Next time I'll use just plain dark chocolate.

ready for the ovenfilled with vanilla ice
say hi to the chocolatehere you go

Cream Puff Shells:
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup (135 gram) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Glaze: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon milk
Place 1 cup water, butter and salt in saucepan. Bring to boil. As soon as butter has melted, stir in 1 cup flour and continue stirring vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture has pulled away from sides of pan and formed a ball. Let the dough cool for five minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough is smooth and shiny. [At this point you can cover the pot and chill it in the fridge for up to a day.]
Using a pastry bag or 2 teaspoons, make small 1-inch mounds of dough on a baking sheet. Bake (on 220° ) the cream puffs for 20 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and well-bronzed.
Chocolate sauce:
200 gr dark chocolate
20 gr butter
3 tbs water
Melt the chocolate, butter and water In a water bath.
Let the puffs cool down cut them into half an fill with vanilla ice. Douse with the chocolate sauce and serve.

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Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Still in a baking mood and at home with a heavy cold. I decided to try something I have never done before, a Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake. Inspired by a post on smittenkitchen. I like cheese cake but have not done one for ages. But chocolate cheesecake? Incited by debs declaration  "And I know, I know, everyone’s got a chocolate cheesecake recipe that they or their cousin-in-law swears by, but I’m going have to, yet again, brashly step forward and pronounce this one better than all of them." I went into the kitchen, not to convinced because the americans always use cream cheese (philadelphia this is) Here in europe we use curd=quark and that sort of cake is called curd cake = Quarktorte. The mix of philadelphia cream cheese and chocolate seemed repulsive to me. But the thought of a Chocolate Caramel cake sounded so delicious that I had to try anyway.

I probably haven't ever had that much fun making a cake. First the caramelizing of the sugar and then throwing in the cold cream and everything bubbling very angrily and getting stiff again :-) was nice.
Into this very hot mixture you just drop the chocolate which melts right away. And then you ad the white sour cream ...
A recipe full of relish !

The 6 hours the cake had to rest were quite a torture. I was so curious, could one really eat this cake? Not that I doubt deb's judgement but ...
After six hours I carefully cut a tiny slice and tried -  well let me tell you the cake is fantastic! And if I "the queen of chocolate cakes" ( There are men who want to marry just because of my chocolate cake) says this it has to be true. As deb says: "Be warned, however: this is not a cake you get away with only making once."

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Serves 8 to 10
1 crumb crust (recipe below)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

1/2 cup sour cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Make crumb crust as directed in separate recipe, using chocolate wafer cookies instead of graham crackers.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden).
Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 55 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Crumb Crust
I actually double crumb crusts; I can never get enough cookie.
Makes enough for a 24 centimeter cheesecake.
1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

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Orange - chocolate cake

I'm quite proud on that cake. I took a rather basic cake recipe with dried figs (which I don't  really fancy ) and adjusted it .  Quickly done but really good.

150 gr Butter at room temperature
125 gr sugar
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
75 gr walnuts roughly copped
75 gr hazelnuts roasted and roughly copped
150 gr dark chocolate chopped
1 dl buttermilk
1 organic orange peel grated
2 tbs orange juice
250 gr flour
1/2 ts baking soda

Mix the butter till soft ad the sugar  and the salt stir , ad the eggs and till fluffy and bright. Add the nuts , chocolate, the buttermilk and orange zest and juice.
The the flour and soda.
Fill into a cake form and bake for 50 minutes on 180°.


zest an orange ( cut the peel into thin slices )
In a pan cook 6 tbs orangejuicew and 4 tbs sugar till the suger is dissolved and starts to caramelize. Add the zest an let it cook for 5 minutes.

0ake holes into the cake with a chopstick or a big needle and poure the sugar mixture over the still hot cake.

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