Last night I went to see Deb Perelman, the person behind smittenkitchen.com and her new mostly self titled cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Like many people I had neglected to acquire tickets in advance to a sold out event, but thankfully one woman in the ticket line had extra tickets so I was able to get in without the drama of the standby line.
It was a bit of a cold wait with my cookbooks, my knitting, and the cookies I made Tuesday night, knowing that I wanted to offer something that she could enjoy when she was in a hotel after the signing. I was the proverbial bag lady.
Deb is as full of warm, self-deprecating humor in person as she is online. Affable, and friendly, she gave maybe a 20 minute talk and then turned it over to questions, which ran the gamut. Where did she get her dress (something from 2007 or so that she got altered), to how does she write her recipes (type it up, and then make notes, alter and repeat until perfect), to how many hits does she get on her site (about 10M a month). (Oh, and for the blurry pictures, you have my apologies.)
After the talk, we all trooped over to the Brookline Booksmith to stand in what might have been an interminable line except for making new friends. The woman ahead of me, Elizabeth, was a recent transplant from New York, so we talked about her family, law, books, food, etc. Pretty much everything under the sun as we made our way through the line that snaked through the store.
Sometime after 10 we finally made it to the front of the line (our fault: those closest to the front of the theater were definitely in the back end of the line). One of the women ahead of us brought her yellow KitchenAid stand mixer to be signed. An awesome idea, and if I didn't go to work and had a rolling suitcase, and if my KitchenAid was spotless from the last batch of cookies... well, I might have done the same thing!
I loved meeting with Deb. I was pretty wiped, so I feel like I kind of stumbled over my words and probably came across as a bit fannish (and not in the good way. More like in the 12 year old boy with a crush way. *sigh*). And I gave her the cookies. Which I made from her site, modified of course.
The original cookies are mix of finely chopped and toasted nuts (pecans), and chocolate bound together in the smallest amount of dough possible. It makes for cookies that don't spread too much, and have a delicious treat in every bite. Mine are much the same, except a few lazing tricks. Now I did everything with the digital scale, so no actual cup measurements (though you can go to the original recipe for the cup versions).
100g granulated sugar
120g light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
175g all purpose flour
130g almond flour
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
205g peppermint bark, chopped (mine comes from Au Chocolat, an awesome store in DT Boston)
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line your baking pans with parchment paper or Silpats. I could have gotten away with 2 pans, but I did end up using Deb's recommended 3 pans (2 cookie sheets and a pizza pan).
Cream the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy. Scrape it down and add the egg and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl measure out the baking soda, all purpose flour, almond flour and sea salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir till well combined. Add the chopped peppermint bark.
Pull out an ice cream scoop, and make flat scoops of dough (aka, even with the top of the scoop). I put 6 per cookie sheet approximately 4 finger widths apart. Plop them in the oven for 30 minutes (start checking them at 25 minutes). When they indent but don't sink when touched, they are done. They should be golden brown. Maybe my awesome husband will take a picture of one of the cookies when he gets home... just a little hint! I got 14 cookies out of this dough by making some of the cookies just a smidge smaller.
A little note: I could have easily used the entire package of peppermint bark. Because I used almond flour rather than chopped nuts, it is more of a dough component rather than a dough and add-in component and offers more room for chocolate! The entire package of peppermint bark would have been about 350 grams at my best estimate. But hey, we ate the rest of the bark!