Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Cookies, More Counsellors

Cookies were a frequent (and blatant) bribe to attend educational sessions or dissertations during my master’s program.  So much so that we were bitterly disappointed if there were no biscuits in evidence; this usually resulted in us declaring the event a wash.  My classmates and I even came up with a saying: “No cookie, no counsellor!”

Now THERE's a cookie worthy of my undivided attention...
I wanted to pass along two cookie recipes that I made recently for my wonderful fellow counselling coworkers.  One batch was made for dessert to finish of my wine-tasting afterparty; the second was made as part of a bon voyage surprise party for one of my coworkers, who will be going on a fabulous pilgrimage across Africa.  Lucky her!!

First up are cherry almond cookies, which come from the fantastic Nemmie on her retired blog, Cast Sugar.  I had been wanting to make these for, no joke, about eight months.  The problem?  A significant lack of dried cherries.  Oh, sure, I could’ve used cherry-flavoured dried cranberries, but it’s just not the same.  Every time I went to Bulk Barn or passed the dried fruit section of the grocery stores back home, I’d keep my eyes peeled… but to no avail.  The Winnipeg food purveyors must be smiling down on me, though, as I found them at both the Bulk Barn at Ellice and Empress, AND two different Safeways.  I bought the ones at Bulk Barn, since a) I didn’t need very much and b) they didn’t seem to be coated in sugar the way the prepackaged ones at Safeway looked to be.

I’m so glad I stuck it out and waited for the real thing.  Oh, man.  The texture of the cherries was nothing like dried cranberries… they almost had a texture more like prunes or dried apricots.  Definitely still some moisture there.  And the FLAVOUR… concentrated tart cherry deliciousness.  If I didn’t have this specific recipe in mind for them, you can bet I would’ve eaten them all out of hand.  Give this one a go, folks.

Next up are these outrageous chocolate cookies, from the lovely Holly at Phe.MOM.enon, in turn from Martha Stewart.  I can’t say I’m a huge Martha fan, but these puppies were GOOD.  The only issue was the sheer amount of high-quality chocolate they demanded.  Since I’d already used quite a bit for a phenomenal chocolate amaretti torte (which, sadly, I forgot to take pics of), I decided to cut down a bit and use the rest of my peanut butter chips in place of the chocolate chunks.  

Ahh, Lindt.  Only the best for my coworkers :D
Yes, kids, this is how baby chocolate cookies are made.  It's a wonderful and miraculous thing.

 The only other change I would have made?  I think I overbaked these puppies.  They ended up a little drier and not as chewy as I had hoped… but it’s hard to tell when the cookies are so dark to begin with.  These cookies are also worth a shot, for sure… I’ll have to try them again as the original recipe intended, with slightly less baking time, to see if they achieve the promised brownie-like consistency.

They're also good with coffee.
As my coworkers have jokingly (and in one case, perhaps not-so-jokingly) warned me about their possible weight gain, I may switch back to bringing desserts from the G.I. diet cookbook that everyone can feel a bit better about.  There are several I haven’t tried yet, and I need my work guinea pigs to help evaluate them!

Wondering if I’ll be lambasted for bringing in a pan of butterscotch brownies before I switch to healthier treats,

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