Monday, June 30, 2008

A Welcome Gift

Shortly after we returned home from vacation Big J mentioned that there was a package on the front porch from Amazon. He asked me what I had ordered and I honestly didn't remember ordering anything. I opened the box and to my surprise I found the most perfect graduation gift from Sherri: Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich.

I had been coveting this cookbook since I read about it on 101 Cookbooks which highlighted the recipe for Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies. I had evened bookmarked that particular entry with the plan to venture into some new tastes. Not incidentally, Pure Dessert was a James Beard Award finalist.

I devoured the cookbook for nearly an hour and on my next trip to the grocery store I added buckwheat and cocoa nibs to my shopping list. Sadly there were no cocoa nibs to be found, so I did a quick internet search and found them at Sur La Table. As much as I wanted to put a rush on the shipping I held back and waited patiently. Fortunately living on the East coast means that much of what we order on-line comes more quickly. So by the end of the week I had the cocoa nibs in hand.

Cocoa nibs are roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small pieces. Who can't resist trying out a taste of pure roasted cocoa beans? Not me! So I opened up the package and tried a nibble. Okay -- bitter! Sort of like eating coffee beans. I was now officially worried how little j would react.

Sadly at this point in the week I was feeling like crap and I knew the cookies would have to wait. I just didn't have the energy to make them. The Js came to the rescue and mixed up the cookies Friday evening. They need to be refrigerated before baking, so baking didn't happen until the next evening. But when little j and I baked them up . . . oh what heaven!

They are crisp, nutty, and buttery with a hint of chocolate. While they are delicious right out of the oven (with the appropriate cooling off), they are even better after a couple hours and even the next day.

What I like most about recipes like this is that you can keep the "cookie log" in the refrigerator and bake up a few at a time. And that's just what we have done. And honestly I can't recommend this recipe more highly.

This morning I am making a new grocery list and slowly making my way through the cookbook (again!) dreaming of tangy lemon bars, black-berry-buttermilk sherbet, rustic plum tarts, and quark souffles (among many, many other recipes). I think my next recipe may be lemon bars (or perhaps lime). This is a favorite dessert of both little j and I. I let you know how they turn out.

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