Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies, pp32–3

Chocolate dough
55g unsweetened chocolate*
120g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
150g raw sugar
1 egg
150g sifted plain flour

Preheat oven to 170C and line two trays with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler and leave to cool a bit.

Cream the butter; add vanilla, salt and sugar and beat well. Beat in the egg and then the melted chocolate. Reduce mixer speed and gradually add the flour just until combined. Roughly halve the dough and set aside in a couple of cereal bowls.

Peanut-butter dough
30g unsalted butter
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
100g brown sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour

Cream the butter with the peanut butter until smooth. Beat in sugar until well mixed. Add flour and mix until just combined.

Maida says to drop barely rounded teaspoonfuls of the chocolate dough on the trays, topped with the peanut-butter dough and then another layer of the chocolate. There was no way this cement-like dough was dropping anywhere, so I used fingers to shape then into something roughly circular and flat. The first lot of chocolate dough made the promised 30 biscuits, so I shaped the peanut-butter and remaining chocolate dough into roughly even logs and cut each of them into 30 even pieces to make sure it would all work out in the end. Even though Maida suggested only flattening them lightly at the very end of the process with a fork dipped in sugar, they were toppling towers of dough, so I flattened each layer – gentle I was not.
 Bake for 15 minutes, and not more – they did crisp up as they cooled, as Maida promised. But they were hardly the ‘rather thin, crisp, candylike cookie’ that had to be ‘handle[d] with care – these are fragile’ as they were described. Not at all thin, and crisp only around the edges. And the concentric circles as illustrated were far from the reality.

*I had some Trader Joe’s unsweetened chocolate in the house, which has never been the case before I went to the US in April and brought it back. I probably would have used a 70 percenter or so if I hadn’t had this. I tasted a bit out of curiosity – like taking a mouthful of bitterest Droste even for one who likes chocolate sufficiently dark to put hairs on the chest.

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