Warming Spice Cookies by Yottam Ottolenghi
December is flying by and it seems like only yesterday that I was lucky enough to attend the Let’s Make Christmas 2012 Gift Swap, so apologies for the delay in posting these recipes. I will post one recipe today and another from the Chantal Coady’s Rococo: Mastering the art of chocolate later in the week.
Thanks to Vanessa Kimbell, who came up with the idea last year of sharing our baking skills and doing a big gift swap, a bunch of bloggers were invited to visit the Rococo factory in south London, where we learned about chocolate tempering, goat’s cheese chocolate ganaches, and how to handle different types of chocolate for different uses. It was absolutely fascinating and the team were brilliant teachers. You can read all about it here at Carmela’s blog, The Rococo blog, Vivien Lloyd, London Busybody .
Chantal Coady, the founder of Rococo very kindly gave us all a signed copy of her book and I can thoroughly recommend it. The recipes are a brilliant mix of achievable yet different and challenging but not out of reach. There is also a really excellent section about the melting points of chocolate and lots of useful tips, oh and it looks beautiful too. It’s not just a “chocolate lovers” book at all. It’s a great cookbook completely aside from the cocoa-based theme.
Anyway, here’s the first thing I offered into the swap. I had been baking all day and was totally sugared out, but I still couldn’t resist eating quite a lot of the raw mixture. These are really really good.
Warming Spice Cookies
from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
[my changes in brackets]
125g currants [or mixed dried fruit – rasins/sultanas/peel/cranberries]
2 tbsp [cherry] brandy
240g plain flour
½ tbsp best-quality cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
150g good-quality dark [chilli] chocolate, coarsely grated [I finely chopped it]
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp grated lemon zest – I upped it to 1tsp
½ tsp grated orange zest – I upped it to 1tsp
½ large free-range egg [so I guess you could use one small one?! I don’t think my 1/2 was accurate]
3 tbsp lemon juice
160g icing sugar
1 tbsp diced candied citrus peel
Soak the fruit in the brandy for 10mins while you weigh out everything.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and chilli chocolate.
In another larger bowl, briefly beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and zests to combine and aerate a little (but not like creaming them for a cake mixture).
Keep the beater running and slowly add the egg.
Stir in the dry ingredients followed by the fruit and brandy juices.
Mix until all is evenly combined.
Gently knead the dough in the bowl until the mixture comes together.
Divide into perfectly round balls – roughly golf ball sized.
Place on lined baking sheets about 2cm apart from each other and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 190C
Bake for 15-20 mins until the top is firm but they are still a bit soft.
Remove and allow to cool for 5mins then transfer to a wire rack
While they are still warm mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth, drizzle over the top of the cookies letting it drip down the sides and cover them with a thin glaze.
Sprinkle with candied peel.
Makes about 16 cookies