What makes a cookie intellectual? Can cookies be anything other than pop culture, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I’m talking about the original Buffy here)? And if Dorie Greenspan describes a cookie as a thinking person’s cookie, does that mean it’s like the cookie equivalent of the thinking person’s sex symbol?
(A Google search for that phrase brings up Kevin Spacey, and I dunno about biting into a cookie that reminds me of Kevin Spacey. Time to move on.)
What, then, makes a recipe a thinking person’s recipe? Creativity? Unexpected use of flavours (or textures) that make you stop and think twice? Cos that was my reaction to the combination of coffee, apricot and chocolate in this recipe. Really? Coffee…and… apricot?
Or is the emphasis on the thinking person knowing how to save a cookie dough that was turning into molten lava?
Because that’s what happened to my cookie dough on Monday night. I had tried to convert the recipe from US measurements into metric/Aussie, and halved the recipe, and added wholegrain flour. Somewhere along the way, I must have stuffed up the ratios, because the first batch of cookie dough became a caramelised, quite delicious smelling, flat, browned, slightly burned (which accentuated the caramel mocha smell) sheet. A sheet of cookies, on my baking sheet.
It looked like a lace cookie gone rogue. On steroids.
But the smell – !
The kitchen smelled divine. There was that combination of coffee, dark caramel, and mysterious dark chocolate. The outer parts of the cookie dough sheet, in particular, had caramelised to a dark brown, lacey edge. Then there were bites of apricots – they were still moist, soft, with a burst of tangy something that cut through and lingered.
It was probably mildly carcinogenic (as near-burnt foods are), but I thought it was tasty.
I rationalised that the only thing standing between me and molten caramelised mocha chewy bites is said molten chewy bites’ tendency to spread. Contain the spreading lava and the rest would be all good.
The dough went into cupcake pans and even mini cupcake pans, 2 teaspoons at a time. After about 6-7 minutes, they were out of the oven and filling the kitchen with that freshly baked sweet smell. And that’s how we got the small-as-they-are-cute mocha bites. The edges of the mocha bites became delicately crispy, and lacey (like a lace cookie). The texture is fudgy, melt on the tongue chocolate-mocha giving way to chewy apricot. It’s as though you just mastered that elusive art of crunchy-chewy-fudgy cookies, but without the years of practise.
Just call it chewy mocha bites, and they’ll never know.
Did I think these are thinking person’s cookies? Maybe. The coffee flavour was more like a sweet iced coffee than an intense espresso. More Alain de Botton pop philosophy than Baudrillard’s revelations on simulacra. But then, some days you want easily likeable, especially when it comes with unexpected bits of apricot.
I think, therefore I eat caramelised-mocha-bites.
The recipe: The recipe is available on page 330 of Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan. It’s also available on Peggy’s blog Galettista.
To see what other TWD bakers have done (many of them actually got cookies!), go to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.