Do you bake to impress or bake to satisfy cookie cravings? Or perhaps, a routine? Even if it is a day to day passionate baking, certainly there is a motive that made you top the cupcake with chocolate shavings, pipe the perfect rose patterned icing or shaping the evenly squared cookie log before slicing them carefully. Most of the time I bake things that I would like to eat ( and that means more chocolate recipes! ) and so it is not so camera friendly but, it’s not an excuse really. I try to make things look as pretty as possible sometimes so that I can take beautiful pictures of it. That is baking to impress somebody, to the world. At times when I bake out of cravings, I bake something really quick, get it out of the oven, impatiently wait for it to cool, desperately snap a few pictures and poof! Gone into my tummy!
So when I have a day all to myself and probably not craving anything in particular, I like to try baking to impress. Means I put in more effort to make everything look prettier. And I came across a cookie that looks like it came out from a gourmet cookie box sitting in one of those hipster grocers. Pistachios, half covered with dark chocolate, shortbread. I told myself that even if it didn’t taste as good as it looks, I can still look at it and sigh, how pretty!
I took my time baking these pretties, making sure I pause at each step. I’m glad they turned out slightly rustic looking and it would’ve been a nicer bite if the cookie is more short and less crisp. And maybe brush the dark chocolate more liberally, which I did towards the end.
The next time i bake these again I might use earl grey or cinnamon instead. The variations are just endless! They make an excellent gift as well because they look elegantly rustic.
If you want to bake to impress, give this recipe a shot. It looks like there is a lot of effort, but actually there is just a few simple ingredients involved and best of all, a log and slice cookie where you can hide the imperfections with a brush of dark chocolate.
Spiced Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookies
adapted from The Roaming Kitchen
225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
115g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
55g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
30g (1/4 cup) Icing sugar (sifted)
30g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I substituted with cardamom and cinnamon instead)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
220g (2 cups) flour
100 grams good quality dark chocolate
1/3 cup pistachios (as needed)
1. Cream butter for about 1 minute until smooth, preferably with a paddle attachment on medium speed.
2. Combine all three sugars, cocoa powder, salt and spices into the bowl of creamed butter. Beat until everything is incorporated and creamy (about a minute).
3. Reduce mixer speed to low, add egg yolks one at a time, followed by coffee and vanilla extract.
4. Turn off the mixer and add in the flour. You may use a wooden spoon/spatula to mix at this point till it is just incorporated. Do not overmix. The dough should be soft and quite moist.
5. Take half the dough and place it on a cling wrap/baking paper. Roll and shape into a rectangular log. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
6. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until it is firm enough.
8. Slice the cookies into about 1cm thick. I think a thicker cookie works better here because you do not want the cookies to flatten too much in the oven, especially if the dough isn’t cold enough. That happened to my cookies and I thought a thicker slice would give a better result.
9. Bake for about 20 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack.
10. When cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Roughly chop the pistachios.
11. Brush the melted chocolate a few times over half the cookie and sprinkle with pistachios! Be patient and let the chocolate set before storing.