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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: Week 24, Chocolate

Spicy chocolate cookies

Recipe: Spicy chocolate cookies
From: The Golden Book of Chocolate

Second recipe: Mexican chicken mole
From: The Golden Book of Chocolate

We're on week 24 of the Cookbook Challenge and the theme this week is chocolate. I decided to crack open a book that Bro gave me a while ago - the Golden Book of Chocolate - and make two recipes. One sweet, and one savoury. Oh yes, savoury!

Let's start with the sweet. I LOVE chilli and chocolate together, so I decided to make spicy chocolate cookies (biscuits? let's stick with cookies). As I was baking these cookies, I realised why I don't make cookies often. Because I don't find it rewarding! The batch of cookies used 250g of chocolate as one of the ingredients and I only made 19 cookies! C'mon! For that amount of chocolate I could have had a massive chocolate cake, such as the best chocolate cake ever.

Spicy chocolate cookies

That aside, what did I think of the cookies? I made a couple of changes to the recipe - rather than using coffee liqueur I opted for strong espresso, and instead of chocolate chips I dug out some cocoa nibs that I had in the pantry. I'm glad I didn't use chocolate chips because OH MY GOD these things were sweet! Mostly, I blame the inclusion of raisins - why oh why oh why with the raisins? If I felt like making these again I would definitely leave out the raisins. I would also up the amount of chilli flakes, they were only very faintly spicy and could have used a bit more punchiness.

Or perhaps I might just bake a cake next time. :)

Chicken mole

On to the savoury - the second recipe was a Mexican (inspired) chicken mole. Having never eaten a proper mole before, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. What can I say about this? It was weird and I'm sure that it was the recipe's/my fault as I have no doubt that a proper and authentic mole would be rather delicious. My main issue with my mole was due to an oily aftertaste I thought I could detect. The recipe asked for a cup of breadcrumbs, and I'm sure that the aftertaste was due to the breadcrumbs. I should've used better quality breadcrumbs! Oh well. As for the inclusion of chocolate, the dish didn't taste like chocolate - it just seemed to add an interesting dimension to the sauce. I would really like to try a proper mole one day.

Anyway, enough of that. Let's have a look at the cookies again, shall we?

Spicy chocolate cookies

Ahh. That's better.

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Update: see the round up at My Food Trail.

Spicy chocolate cookies

Spicy chocolate cookies

Adapted from The Golden Book of Chocolate

Makes about 18 cookies

2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you're feeling brave - do it!)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (60g) raisins (highly recommend that you leave this out!)
2 tablespoons strong coffee
250g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (60g) butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (90g) cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Heat the raisins and coffee in a small saucepan (or in the microwave).

Place the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until very pale and creamy (about 5 minutes).

Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract to the eggs, and mix at medium speed.

Add the flour, baking powder, red pepper flakes and salt to the mixer and beat on low speed. Add the raisin mixture and cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and mix until combined. It will be a very wet, thick batter/dough.

Drop tablespoons of the dough a couple of centimetres apart on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until risen slightly.

Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chicken mole

Mexican inspired chicken mole

From The Golden Book of Chocolate

Serves 4

1.3kg chicken pieces
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
4 tablespoons blanched almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons raisins
3 black peppercorns
1 clove
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons red chilli paste
2/3 cup water
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
30g dark chocolate
salt and pepper

In a large pot, place the chicken pieces, the quartered onion, and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and let it simmer until cooked - about 30 minutes should do the trick. Remove the chicken and strain the liquid into a bowl, setting aside for later. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, discarding the skin.

Place the chicken in a large oven proof bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a dry frying pan, toast the almonds and sesame seeds until lightly browned. Transfer to a mortar and pestle with the raisins, peppercorns, clove and cinnamon and crush until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, along with the chile paste, water, chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes and breadcrumbs and process until smooth.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and saute the processed mixture for about 5 minutes. In a separate saucepan, add 2/3 cup of the reserved stock and the chocolate. Stir over a low heat until melted.

Add the chocolate mixture to the sauteed mixture and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken, and place in the oven, baking for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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