Friday, December 31, 2010

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies ...

I'm very nearly speechless.

Make these.

They're sensational. They're not too sweet. I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bittersweet chips instead of semi-sweet chips. I recommend that you do the same. The espresso serves to heighten the taste of the chocolate, though you can detect it, too. I would also recommend that you add chopped, toasted walnuts, which I will do the next time I make these, which will be very, very soon.

And consume them with Champagne, especially if it happens to be New Year's Eve. And oh, look at that! It is!

But good milk will do just fine, too.

I'd steer clear of consuming them with coffee. Unless you don't have any need for sleep.

Any chocolate-and-coffee lover in your life will be forever in your debt.

Did I mention that they're sensational?

They're sensational.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wake-Up Cocoa Quick Bread ...

Yesterday, Angelo posted a link to this recipe for Wake-Up Cocoa Quick Bread. I have no idea why I've never subscribed to that food blog. I should do that. Hold on.

OK, that's done.

Anyway, as I was saying, this bread.

I lacked a few ingredients, so yesterday, out and about, I picked them up.

And this morning, I piled everything onto the counter and mixed everything together, and scraped it all into the prepared pan and put it in the oven, and about an hour later, I had this:

Dead simple. As instructed, I let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto the rack. It came out perfectly:

The aroma as it baked was fabulous, the subtle scent of warm cocoa and cinnamon. The recipe warned to watch it closely, as it's a "dry" bread to begin with so overbaking is a concern. Indeed. Next time, I'll take it out a few minutes earlier.

I was eager for it to cool enough to slice. Which it since has. (A drywall saw would have come in handy to get through the top crust, but a serrated knife did the trick.)

It's delicious. Just a hint of sweetness. I'm eating it plain, to really taste it. (Though I did put a tiny dab of peanut butter on one bite to see if it'd be Reese's-esque. Nope.)

The recipe suggests that this is better on the third day, so I'll keep it around and try it over time. Though, really, what I want to do is toast a slice of it tomorrow and up the chocolate ante with a slathering of Nutella. I live for hazelnut-flavored anything.

It would indeed be lovely to wake up to the bread's aroma. Though given that I live alone, I'd have to rely on an intruder with baking skills, and really, what are the odds of that?

But it's surely worth adding to your repertoire, a lovely bread to whip up when you have guests. A bit of raspberry jam might be nice, just a hint of it. And clearly, this goes really well with coffee. The flavor of the espresso powder in it doesn't come through specifically. It just adds to the overall flavor.

Next time, perhaps I'll try it with dark cocoa. Or some dark chocolate chips. Maybe a smidgen of almond extract. It's lovely as it is, but it also makes a great base from which to experiment.

Update, Wednesday, The Next Day: Cut a slice, broke off a bite. Ate it. Yup, tastier than yesterday. Fuller flavor, but still subtle. Popped the rest of the slice in the toaster. Didn't let it get too toasty. Broke it in half. Put a bit of butter on one piece, a bit of raspberry jam on the other. The butter doesn't do much for it, not like it does on traditional toast, but the raspberry jam. Oh, now that's lovely. Mind you, that piece doesn't have butter and jam. Just jam. No need to consume the calories from the butter. And no, I can't believe I just wrote that.