May 3, 2011

laced up

Had a productive & enjoyable weekend hiking, seeing friends & catching up at a lovely baby shower, gardening & doing home projects; spent a sunny afternoon in a vibrant little nearby town that has lately been going through an artistic renaissance, exploring the streets & shops, & drinking espresso while browsing books & grazing on delicious, local food. I'm now feeling refreshed & ready to roll up my sleeves & get back to work...

Today some good pals & old workmates came by for coffee & to fête some recent changes in our lives, so I wanted to make a special treat to help celebrate. The Essence of Chocolate, a book chock full of fantastic chocolate recipes from the files of Sharffenberger chocolates, a most thoughtful gift from one of the friends whom we were celebrating, provided the inspiration. I love lace cookies, but had never attempted them before, & since I can never seem to follow a recipe rote, made a few substitutions which I believe worked out just fine. Crisp & chewy lace cookies with a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate are about the best thing I can think of to share with friends over coffee, while sitting in a spring yard bursting with new green. Cheers!

lace cookies
adapted from The Essence of Chocolate

1/2 cup sifted pastry flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup sweet butter, melted & slightly cooled
2 Tbsp whole milk plain yogurt or heavy cream  I used whole milk yogurt since I always have some on hand, & didn't want to run to a shop
2 Tbsp dark amber maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp dark rum
2+ oz. bittersweet chocolate, the darker/higher the cocoa content the better, melted

heat oven to 375ºF
line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt & oats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, yogurt or cream, maple syrup, vanilla & rum. Stir until well combined & smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients while stirring until well combined.

Drop 1 tsp of batter in rows on each baking sheet, making sure they are well-spaced since they will spread considerably. I did six per sheet, alternating between two in a row, then one positioned in the center of the next row, then two, then one.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through so they bake evenly.

Let the cookies cool before attempting to remove them, as they are quite delicate.

Melt the chocolate in a doubler boiler on low heat just before using.

When all of the cookies had cooled, I placed them as close together as possible on a sheet of wax paper, & drizzled 72% dark chocolate over the top. Since it was rather warm outside (hooray!), I popped them in the refrigerator to set & await the hungry crowd.

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