I created this blog in October, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I fiddled with the lychee picture for far too long, I hemmed and hawed over the name (still undecided) and finally, I published.
Two months of silence to be exact. I’ve thought about blogging quite a bit, but when it comes down to it, to me it feels simultaneously like shouting into an empty room, and one filled to the brim with people, staring, judging. Do I have anything to say? I’m not sure. Do I fear coming off as self important and precocious? Yes. Should I just shut up and stop worrying how I will come off? Definitely.
So, here it goes. To introduce myself, I am a writer who recently moved from Vermont to Boston, leaving behind a stable (relatively) staff writing position at a wonderful newspaper smack in the midst of a floundering economy. Now, I’m making a go at freelancing (Is that laughter I hear?). I plan to use this blog as a place to publish recipes, thoughts on food and other things, all of which will be very deep, philosophical and most likely rife with regurgitated and inaccurately stated tidbits from NPR.
On to the first recipe.
Rosemary butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate.
Savory and herbal, buttery and sweet, bitter from a quick wallow in melted chocolate. These aren’t kissin’ cousins of the powdery (and delicious) Walker’s, but chewier and dense. Fresh rosemary is a must, even though it’s a bit pricer. Also, you know the Processor Pause, the moment where you’re in the kitchen, about to start cookin’ and you stop – staring at the cabinet that houses your food processor. A complex inverse ratio calculation running through your mind:
less prep time+ less manual labor
To haul the contraption out or not to haul it out, that is the question. I usually don’t. But in this instance, do it. Integrating the butter, sugar and flour evenly without over working can be frustrating, it’s worth it if you have one. If you don’t, no problemo. I tested the “by hand” method on my guinea pig of a sister and she did just fine. I’ve included a few tips for those who prefer going old school, including a neat trick involving a cheese grater and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease.
These are a great hostess gift, the rosemary gives it a little something special. But beware, home alone with a batch of these babies and a lack of self control can mean trouble. Trust me, I made 12 batches (288 cookies) to perfect the recipe and I have no idea where they went. None.
Makes about 24
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cups white unbleached flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces (one and 1/3 cup) good quality dark chocolate, 60 percent cacao or higher
1. Mix butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and rosemary, incorporate fully.
2. Sift salt and flour directly into mixing bowl. Mix until just incorporated, don’t over work.
*Note: This can be the most frustrating part of the recipe, incorporating the flour into the butter/sugar mixture without over working. If you have a food processor, it’s worth the extra dish, if not try this: Grate the butter into the bowl with the medium slots of a cheese grater, add the sugar and mix with your hands. Add the vanilla and rosemary, then sift the flour and salt directly on to the mixture. Combine all ingredients with your hands, working the flour into the butter until it resembles a dry, but uniform pile of crumbles.
Skip to step 3.
1. Pulse butter and sugar until completely incorporated, roughly 10 seconds, add vanilla and rosemary.
2. Sift flour and salt directly into processor bowl, pulse until combined, roughly 15 seconds.
Note: At this stage the mixture will appear crumbly and dry, not cohesive, this is okay, the butter will work it’s magic in the oven.
3. Pour mixture onto large piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 15 minutes in, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 9 by 12-inch pan with parchment paper, excess paper draped over the edges.
4. Dump the mixture into the pan, pressing it down to create a uniform layer.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the very first light brown spots appear on the crust. Remove and cool for 5 minutes in the pan, lift out by gently pulling up parchment paper, set on a wire rack until completely cooled. Slice into 2-inch squares.
6. Melt chocolate gently in double boiler on the stove, or in the microwave in a non-reactive bowl, first for one and half minutes, then for 15 second intervals until smooth.
7. Gently dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate, use a plastic spatula to coat missed areas and wipe off excess chocolate. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet, once every cookie is coated, put the tray in the refrigerator to harden for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.