Marbled Almond Oregano Meringue

meringue

I’m stuck.  I’m stuck in my house, Nemo has arrived, and I won’t have an escape until who knows when (probably tomorrow, don’t worry).  This means one thing…to bake and well, also shovel. A couple of weeks ago Anne brought me back some real chocolate from her trip to Mexico.  What does real chocolate taste like you ask?  Not sweet.  It also tastes like you are eating a cocoa bean if that sounds appetizing to you.  I wanted to use this milk chocolate infused with oregano and almonds to make some meringue.  A little bit of Vday spirit but it also only calls for three ingredients which is great for those who are stuck and need a special small-sweet treat. Meringues are high in protein and their crispy outside,chewy inside, and subtle sweetness will make you crave for more.  Now time to shovel, round 3…photos of Nemo to follow, along with more weekend festivities.
chocolate peak meringuesAdapted from Williams Sonoma
Yields: 10 meringues

45 grams your choice of chocolate, chopped
2 egg whites
250 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 275º F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  In saucepan, bring 1-2 inches water to simmer.  Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl over (not touching) simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally.  Set aside and let cool slightly.
3.  In another heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar over (not touching) simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot for about 4-5 minutes.  Remove bowl from heat and using an electric mixer beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, for about 4-5 minutes, and mixture is lukewarm.
4.  Drizzle melted chocolate over egg white mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just marbled.  Don’t over fold or you will just get a chocolate meringue.
5.  With a spoon, drop batter in large mounds spaced 1.5-2 inches apart.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until crispy outside and the inside is chewy.
6.  Transfer sheets to a wire rack and let it cool completely before removing cookies from parchment.  Store in airtight container.

Bouchan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Happy New Year!  A very late one.  Before the holidays we had all these blogtastic ideas and wanted to fill this space with swirls of colors, drooling photos, and some surprising recipes, but real life caught up on us and we were far away from the internet.  I was galloping around NYC and DC and Anne was in a warm place down south still on the northern continent, but we missed you friend, and so now we are back on track surviving the northeast winter.

Before Anne and I went our ways, our group of friends had a holiday dinner and we played secret santa.  Take a wild guess who my secret santa was.  Yup, it was my blogging buddy Anne! And she did well.   She presented to me the Bouchan Bakery book that I have been eyeing but never had the audacity to purchase.  Have you ever seen this book?  It’s humongous and weighs a ton but oh so lovely.  I love how the photos are gorgeous but it’s also an instructional book and teaches you useful techniques for french pastry baking.  As some of you may already know, I am addicted to chocolate chip cookies and always on the hunt for the one and I think I came close finding it here.  For those who are scavenging like me, you know how hard it is to take the chocolate chip onto the wow level.  But I think I found the secrets…

1) Weigh everything on a scale for consistency.
2)  When the butter says room temperate, it has to be room temperature! Don’t cheat and microwave it.  Make sure to leave it on the counter so it de-frosts.
3)  Instead of using vanilla essence, add molasses.
4)  Big cookies.  The more the merrier.

Besides these four tips, the rest of the procedure is the same.  I also wanted to mention that we have not set any resolutions (just yet) but glancing through our archives I noticed that we don’t always cover our five senses in our descriptions and this is something I am going to work on. But for today, I asked a special guest to take over my job and write his reaction to this cookie. It’s more convincing anyway since I’m so biased.

These cookies are perfect! They are not too hard and not too soft. They have just the right amount of crunch and chew. They come out the oven with a light brown caramel colour that belies there chocolaty goodness. These cookies have a very slight spicy note that is carried by that familiar dusty choc chip cookie aroma. When you pop the cookie in your mouth, the chocolate and molasses infused cookie dough bring their respective flavours together in a symphony of artisanal baking. Would I recommend this to a cookie connoisseur? In a heartbeat.  -Jasmine Honey Pot

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All-purpose flour — 238 grams
Baking soda — 2.3 grams
Kosher salt — 3 grams
Dark brown sugar — 134 grams
Unsulfured blackstrap molasses — 12 grams
Granulated sugar — 104 grams
3/8″ chunks 70%-72% chocolate (or you use all chocolate chips) — 107 grams
Chocolate chips — 107 grams
Unsalted butter, room temperature — 167 grams
Eggs — 60 grams

1.  In medium bowl place flour, sift baking soda, and add salt to whisk together.
2.  In small bowl place dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and stir in molasses breaking up any lumps; mixture will not be smooth.
3.  In mixer add butter and turn on medium-low speed until is it he consistency of mayonnaise.
4.  In butter mixture, add molasses mixture for 3-4 minutes or until fluffy.  Then eggs and mix on low speed for 15-30 seconds.
5.  Add dry ingredients in 2 batches mixing on low speed for 15-30 seconds each.
6.  Add chocolates and pulse on low speed for about 10 times and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
7.  Preheat the oven to 325º F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
8.  Use ice scream scoop and divide batch into 6 equal portions (150 grams) for large cookies, or 12 equal portions for something a little smaller ( 75 grams).  Make sure to roll each one into a ball with the palms of your hand.
9.  Bring dough into room temperature before baking.
10.  Bake until golden brown, 14-16 minutes in a convention oven or 18-20 minutes in a standard oven.
11.  Set the pans on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnne is wearing the maroon scarf and I’m the one in the stripes. Another common interest besides food that we have–scarves.  Also, our friend in the top left is half reindeer.

Here are some instagram pics from my short trip to NYC.

brooklyn

Clockwise starting from top left: Brooklyn Bridge, Dough-acclaimed best donuts in the nation, Rabbit Hole-Good food, great music and amazing ambiance, Grimaldi’s Pizza-Hands down best pizza in the world.

My birthday also happened to fall around this time.  It’s shadowed by the bigger celebrations but I kept the momentum going.  Thank you to everyone who made it so special!

birthday

Clockwise starting with the big food picture:  If you’re looking for a good lunch around the American Mall then go to the Native American Museum, Marimekko apron +pot holders+and cookie cutter hidden in the package, Botanical Gardens, Beaded strawberry!, Washington Monument

Have a good weekend!

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