I am very proud of the cookies I make that are unique from all those 'same ones you see everywhere'. This recipe, a very strong espresso- flavored tender light walnut shortbread, was originally from a 1981 Bon Appetit; I changed the flour, sugar, coffee and ganache components.They make a particularly lovely presentation, piped out in long swirls and dipped in a dark chocolate ganache which works very well with the strong espresso. —LE BEC FIN
MOCHA JAVA DOUGH
4 CUPS/ 2 LB. UNSALTED BUTTER
2 1/4 CUPS POWDERED SUGAR, measured then sifted
6-7 TABLESPOONS ESPRESSO POWDER, MEDAGLIO D'ORO
BOILING WATER, ~1 TEASPOON (just enough to dissolve coffee into paste)
With a paddle in a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar til light and creamy. Carefully and slowly add hot water to coffee and stir til dissolved and a paste forms. Add paste to butter.Mix briefly. Add flour til mixed in; add walnuts.
Make saran sausages of the dough like this:
in a piping bag, with a simple shell? tip (same one as in the photo; makes ridges) pipe dough into 3" fluted lengths onto parchment or silpat-lined sheet pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F 14-15 minutes til lightly browned. Cool and dip halfway in ganache, gently scraping the ganache off the bottom of the cookie. Place on a wax-paper-lined container or sheet pan. You will probably need to re-heat and/or chill the ganache as it thickens and thins. When it's too thin (not set up enough)it pools around the cookie; and when it is too thick, it glops on the cookie and often causes it to break. So it's worth it to fiddle with til it is the right viscosity!
*These cookies freeze well, either raw and piped out, or baked and dipped in ganache. Either way, they have a shelf-life of at least 3 months.
DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Microwave butter to melt. Add chocolate and stir well and nuke on low, checking every minute or two, until melted.
I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom.
I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??!
While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines.
Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!)
I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me.
I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.