Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Club Goodies

The book was "Mudbound," set in rural Mississippi right after WWII.  Thumbs up on the book. 
The most popular munchie was Cherry Almond Phantoms (recipe at bottom):

I also made Bourbon Apple Strudel,

Mini Brie and Apricot Mustard panninis,

And Prosciutto Parmesan Palmiers.

The Phantoms are really delicious cookies.  The recipe was given to me by a very excellent pastry chef who used to work at the Hotel Metro.  They are extremely fudgy and creamy in the center with big chunks of nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit.  The exterior is a shiny, thin, melt in your mouth crust that barely holds all the goodness in.  You can definitely switch up the chunks (for example- craisins, white chocolate, and walnuts).  I've always liked this combination of flavors. though.  Don't think it will be better to chop up the chunky stuff.  Normally I'm not one for big chunks (like whole almonds) in cookies, but this recipe creates an awesome synergy between the ganache-like creaminess of the dough and the large chunks of nut and fruit.  The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  

 2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
8 oz good chocolate semi or bittersweet
1 oz butter
3 T flour
1/4 t baking powder
pinch salt

1 c chopped chocolate
1 c toasted blanched almonds
3/4 c dried cherries (if they are not moist, plump in hot water for a minute, then drain)

Melt 8 oz chocolate and butter.  Cool to lukewarm.
Whip eggs and sugar with a mixer until thick and pale.  Add vanilla, then melted chocolate.
Sift flour, bp, and salt, add to batter.
Fold in the chunky additions.
Chill batter about an hour.
Scoop onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheet by rounded tablespoonfuls.
Bake at 350" 7-9 minutes, until cookies look dry on top.

Freeze if keeping longer than one full day.  If you want to serve these at their peak on a busy day, try to just make the batter the day before, then scoop and bake the day of serving. Or, freeze as soon as they are cool.  They freeze really well, actually.  

Here's what beaten thick eggs and sugar look like.  When you lift the beater, it forms a ribbon that dissolves slowly back in:

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