Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's Cold Outside

I hate crowds. HATE them.

So you can only imagine what I felt when Bernard and I walked into Hop Li (proper and full review to come soon) to see forty people crammed up against the front counter. It was absolutely horrible. We waited for over half an hour without even being able to get so much as our names down on the waiting list.

OK, I admit it…it was stupid of me not to make reservations on Christmas night. Really stupid. But still, it was ridiculously crowded! Eventually, we decided to get a take-out order to bring back home instead. It's no wonder Hop Li was crowded, the food is amazing.

After dinner, I made a quick dessert with what scraps of supplies I had lying around the house. I decided to make a batch of Dorie Greenspan’s Korova cookies. Now, I’ve made these before and know that this recipe produces amazing cookies but still, to me, cookies don’t really make a satisfying after-dinner dessert. To get around this problem, instead of making a batch of small cookies, I made two large cookies and served each one with a scoop of ice cream and Christmasy sprinkles (the recipe is below).

The recipe didn’t fail me – the cookies turned out great. The only problem was that, since the cookie is naturally REALLY crumbly (which is one reason why the cookie is so good), it becomes really difficult to remove from the baking sheet in one piece when it’s one huge cookie. One cookie broke into pieces when I tried to put it onto a plate…but it didn’t matter – it still tasted great. The crumbly texture also makes it perfect for eating with a spoon (which we needed to do since I added a scoop of ice cream on top!) I also used white chocolate chunks in my cookies instead of dark chocolate…just because I love white chocolate :)

Good food, no crowds. Merry Christmas.

(Yes, I KNOW fortune cookies are un-Chinese...but they taste fucking great!! I could eat a whole bag of those. My fortune this time said "The world will soon be ready to receive your talents". Awesome, now I just have to find a talent for the world to receive)


Korova Cookies (ingredient quantities makes 2 large cookies…and you’ll have dough left over for about 4 normal sized ones)

156ml all-purpose flour
40ml cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2.5oz white chocolate chunks

Beat butter in a large bowl until light and creamy. Add the sugar, brown sugar, fleur de sel and vanilla extract to the butter and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add this to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT overmix…don’t worry if the dough seems really crumbly – that’s what it’s supposed to be like (I know, the first time I made these, I was sure I had made a mistake somewhere since the dough seemed way too dry and crumbly). Add in the chocolate chunks and give it a quick mix to distribute it into the dough. Dump the dough onto a large piece of cling wrap.
Here, Greenspan’s recipe says to roll the dough into a log and wrap in cling wrap but I’ve found that it is next to impossible to roll the “dough” into any shape since it has the texture of sand (no joke). So, instead, when you have the mixture on the cling wrap, wrap it tightly and compress the dough into a ball shape with the cling wrap. Then, gently press and mold the “ball” into a long roll shape with roughly a 1.5” diameter (it’s hard to describe but you’ll get the hang of it when you start making them). Usually, my “roll” ends up looking like some type of slug but that doesn’t matter. Throw the dough, wrapped in cling wrap, into the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit for about minute. Preheat the oven to 325F and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. How you divide up the dough depends on the size you want your cookies to be. For normal sized cookies, you can slice the dough to about ½” thick. For my big cookies, I split the dough into thirds, with each third making one big cookie. The dough will probably crumble when you slice it up but you can just press the pieces together and press it into a circle shape on the baking tray. Bake the cookies on the center rack for around 12 minutes. The cookie centers will be soft but the edges should be done. Cool on racks…DO NOT touch or attempt to remove (especially the big cookies) until it cools for a bit. The cookie will firm up as it cools so if you attempt to remove from the tray before it cools, it will just break into pieces.

Place a large cookie on each plate. Scoop your favorite ice cream on each cookie and add sprinkles!!

(Large Cookie with triple fudge ice cream!)

I've been baking like crazy over the last week...making gifts to send out to friends and such. And with the end of Christmas comes the end of my Christmas gift making spree. Now let's bring on 2008!!
(Sugar cookies decorated with royal icing. These made their way to Vegas!)
(Dark chocolate-hazelnut truffles)

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