Friday, July 8, 2011
Within the luscious chocolate landscape of Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Desserts cookbook, you will find a glamorous parade of cakes, tarts, creams, drinks and cookies. As you roam each section full of gorgeous wall-to-wall chocolate creations, you can imagine the taste and texture of every bite because everything is so beautifully and lovingly photographed, an exquisite gift from photographer Jean-Louis Bloch-Laine.
Calling all cookie lovers! Even Hermé’s cookies have an incredible allure. Chocolate Sparklers are very buttery, very crumbly, flavored with Dutched cocoa and circled with bling. These cookies are essentially very dressed up butter cookies. They are simple but unusually delicious all the same because once you roll the cookie dough in raw sugar you get a cookie that bakes off with very crunchy caramelized edges, providing a very nice contrast and sparkle. Very easy to make and even easier to eat, this is certainly a recipe to add to your cookie repertoire when the mood for a great chocolate cookie strikes. Don't delay!
- Hermé calls for Dutched cocoa, which will give you a more refined, deeply rich cocoa flavor in this application.
- Hermé uses regular granulated sugar but I really prefer raw sugar, a large granule sugar with a light brown color that adds great texture and flavor. Sugar in the Raw and C&H Washed Raw are a couple of brands you’re likely to find at your market. It's also a central ingredient in Braker's famous cookies, Pain d'Amande.
- I sort of overdid it with the raw sugar! I was giving these away to people who especially love that collar of crunchy snap.
- Do not overmix in order to ensure the cookies have their characteristic crumbly texture.
- Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container (tins are best) at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.
- Another really terrific chocolate cookie from the same book is Herme’s Viennese Chocolate Sablés.
adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 30 cookies
2 3/4 C flour
1/3 C unsweetened Dutched cocoa powder
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
10 oz (2 1/2 sticks) butter @ room temperature
1/2 C + 2 T sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1 large egg yolk
raw sugar, for coating
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt together.
Beat the butter on medium speed to soften. Gradually add sugar and continue mixing, until the mixture is smooth and creamy, but not airy. Add vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go to ensure thorough mixing. Turn down the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing just until ingredients are just about blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing with a rubber spatula to avoid overmixing. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log about 1 1/2” thick and 7 1/2” long. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
Whisk the egg yolk with one teaspoon of water. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on a work surface. Spread out a good handful of raw sugar on it. Working with one cookie log at a time, unwrap and brush lightly with egg wash. Roll each log in the sugar, pressing gently.
Use a sharp thin knife to slice each log into cookies about 1/2” thick. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom at the midway mark, until the cookies are just firm to the touch. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Repeat with second log.