March 4, 2014 § 2 Comments
For the past 6 and a half years, I’ve worked from home. (I was about to exclude my year of maternity leave but if a year of maternity leave isn’t working from home, then I don’t know what is). Working from home is, of course, brilliant in many ways. Yoga pants all day long. Laundry put on between emails, when in an office you’d use that lull to stand by someone’s desk and distract them. Cooking your own lunch. All of that flexibility, and ability to set your own schedule, and get things done at your own pace. And then after a while you realize that changing into yoga pants from pajama bottoms is a good day, and the pressure to have to set your own schedule and get laundry and dishes done as well as working is maybe driving you just a little bit mad. And that maybe you’d like to have to leave the house and put on makeup and be forced to ignore the dirty dishes.
Last week Henry and I started using a co-working office with a daycare on site. I’m not sure I could have dreamed up a better solution for us. He gets to play with friends, and eat crayons, and chase bubbles all day long. I get to sit in a room with like-minded people, all of whom also don’t want to work from home I assume. I get to get stuff done, while also bumping into adult humans from time to time. The best thing for me – and for you in the longer run – these people like and eat cake. I made cookies yesterday, left them in the kitchen at lunch and I swear they lasted 3 minutes.
To be fair, they were pretty good cookies. I’m not even really sure if cookie is the right word for them: their super soft texture makes them closer to a soufflé bite than a traditional cookie and definitely far from a British biscuit (no dunking here please). No crunch, but a lot of chocolate goodness. I took the recipe from the first volume of the three Tartine cookbooks now available. Although we live a 2 minute walk from this splendid bakery, they are some of my favourite books to browse and, in the case of the first volume, cook from. (At some point I’d like to cook from the two bread books too, but so far my naturally-yeasted starters have ended up resembling science experiments which is a do-not-pass-go for their bread recipes.) Like most things Tartine put out, these chocolate morsels manage to be both rustic and decadent, and deeply rich from a wonderfully large quantity of melted chocolate stirred into the batter along with cocoa powder. A little bit of sea salt finishes them off. I restrained myself and made a half batch but I give here the full recipe. This isn’t the place to hold back, especially if you’re making new friends.
Double Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Tartine, by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson
Yields: around 36 cookies
8oz/225g bittersweet chocolate (more than 60% cocoa solids – you want to use your best chocolate here as it’s so prominent)
1 cup plus 1 tbsp./155g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp./50g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup/115g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp./225g sugar
2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt but I like my chocolate goods on the salty side)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup/75ml whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl (stainless steel or glass work best) over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Once melted set aside to cool slightly.
Sift together the flour, cocoa power and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, or with an electric whisk or wooden spoon, beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated and soft, scraping down the sides of the bowl after the first minute or so. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the salt and vanilla extract and beat briefly. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat on low speed until the chocolate is just incorporated. Add the milk and beat again until just combined. At this point add the flour mixture and beat on the lowest speed until the flour mixture is just integrated. At this point switch to your spatula and fold through the mixture a couple of times to make sure any flour at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated.
Drop the dough in “heaping tablespoons” onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart. You want to bake them until they are just set, which should be around 8-9 minutes depending on your oven (check after 7 minutes if your oven runs especially hot). They will continue to bake a little as they cool on the sheet, but be sure that the tops look just set and matt – my first batch were under-cooked after I was worried about over-baking, so you’re trying to find a happy middle ground here. Leave to cool a little on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling completely.