Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend Chocolate Treats

Whenever I so much as walk past the Grand Hyatt Singapore , I make it a point to nip inside and pick up a bag of chocolate chip cookies from Mezza9. Those melt-in-your mouth cocoa-rich cookies don’t come cheap, mind. For something like $6, you get less than 10 cookies which a greedy goose like me can (and naturally, I do) easily inhale in one short sitting. As luck would have it, last week, while searching for a quick exercise in kitchen therapy, I flipped through my as yet unused copy of Paris Sweets and decided on the simple sounding recipe for Korova Cookies by Pierre Herme. Little did I realise that I had stumbled upon the recipe for those same chocolate chip cookies I often lust over at Mezza9 — well, almost.

Korova, says the brilliant Dorie Greenspan and author of Paris Sweets, was the name of the milk bar in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and the name of this restaurant located off Champs-Elysees for which Pierre Herme created these cookies. Think ice-box cookies gone luxe with 1/3 cup of the best Dutch-processed cocoa, 150 grams of the finest bittersweet chocolate you can find, and a good half-teaspoon of fleur de sel to take it to great heights.

The difference between the Korova Cookies and the ones from Mezza9 is essentially the size of the chocolate chips used — Mezza9 uses whole chocolate chips, while the recipe for Korova calls for the chocolate to be chopped into small bits.

Cocoa Nibs
There is an entire list of foods that I have yet to taste — an authentic tagine is one of them, as is an authentic cassoulet. Yet another was cocoa nibs which was within easy enough reach since it wouldn’t require my traveling hundreds of miles to persuade a French countrywoman or a Moroccan grandmother to cook one for me. When the nibs finally arrived, I excitedly tried almost every cocoa nib recipe that lay in my ever-growing library of cookbooks. That first weekend, I made a simple cocoa nib ice cream from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
and had a go at Emily Luchetti’s Cocoa Nib Florentines from A Passion For Ice Cream. I have to admit, it turns out I’m not that big a fan of cocoa nibs after all. They impart a nice chocolatey flavour to the ice cream, but they also burn and turn bitter easily, as I found out with my attempt at those Florentines. Anita of Dessert First was far more successful, so you may want to check out her post on them here.

The ice cream from Bittersweet was good. It was a Philadelphia style recipe that didn’t require a custard base, but it was a tad too milky for me. As a child, my mother would literally force down a cup of full-cream powdered milk, spiked with a teaspoon or so of Milo (presumably to make it more palatable). How I loathed it so. Alas, while I am a massive fan of Ms Medrich’s recipes, this one unfortunately brought back the taste of that childhood memory. Not so good. On a brighter note, an old friend of mine who popped by for dinner one night tried the ice cream and asked if he could take the whole tub home.

Fast forward to yet another Cocoa Nib ice cream recipe from Chocolate Obsession.This one had a richer custard base which I like a lot more (I like my ice cream dense and almost sticky). To add a little something extra to it, I also caramalised some nibs which I eventually decided to strewn over the ice cream as opposed to mixing it in as the recipe suggested. Now that’s also because I damn near burnt the nibs while caramalising them and was afraid I might spoil the flavour of my ice cream with any bitter crunch.

While I like this version of the Cocoa Nib Ice Cream, it’s not something I’d devour with abandon like I would, say, real rich dark chocolate ice cream. So I did the next best thing and turned it into an ice cream sandwich with the Korova cookies. Now that turned out to be a very good thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cookies is not something i would go gaga for normally but I want some of those chocolate chip cookies you've just made. I like the thought of chocolate chips melting in the mouth!

That's a clever idea to sandwich the ice cream between the cookies and sprinkling some cocoa nibs on top.

I also love the black ribbon you've used for the presentation. When my friends got married, i had the honour of designing their wedding stationery and i did an ensemble of black and cream. This ribbon was what i had in mind to use but sadly, i couldn't get hold of any so i used plain. Though on the evening invites [which was printed version], i designed one just like it going across the card.

It looks so pretty wrapped around the glass and dessert spoon! I love it!

7:47 pm  
Blogger Edith said...

great presentation! Now I am curious about those Korova cookies. Can to share recipe? Thanks!

7:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's like some upscale ice cream sandwich you have there. looks great. prolly tastes great too.

10:07 am  
Blogger Veron said...

Looks yummy! And I love the way you presented it!

2:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those Korova cookies are divine, aren't they? I love your presentations, and the idea of making an ice cream sandwich with cocoa nib ice cream is genius! Btw, have you tried the cocoa nib pecan cookie recipe in Bittersweet? Really delicious!

4:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would indulge easily, really easily in a few of those!!! Yum! Chocolate fan as I am. Lovely pics as well! How can one resist? Not me!

4:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I love your cookies, they are so stylish and decadent. I jst adore how you've styled your cookies.

I also have yet to try cacao nibs although ive had the pleasure of trying a tagine dish.

4:56 pm  
Blogger lobstersquad said...

that´s a beautiful picture. it´s so great when you find a recipe for things that you like, and realise you are now in control.

3:36 pm  
Blogger FooDcrazEE said...

its good to know that whenever i'm back to read ur blog, everything still looks so delish....

7:24 pm  
Blogger Annette Tan said...

Thanks guys!

Mae, that ribbon actually came with a box of chocolate biscuits from a friend. I loved it so much I knew I had to use it straight away!

Anita, no I've haven't tried the recipe. I should soon. It might redeem my taste for cocoa nibs :-)

Foodcrazee, welcome back! I was wondering where you went...

11:57 pm  
Blogger Brilynn said...

That's quite the cookie sandwich, it looks very tasty!

12:07 am  
Blogger Fruit Seasons said...

I think my produce guide could improve the quality of your ingredients.

Submit you blog to our Food Blog directory while your there!

7:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi eggy,
I really want one (ok, I’ll be honest; I want all 6) of your delicious looking cookies!
Beautiful pictures, I love your subtle touch to them - very original(!)
Nice you used Paris Sweets - that book is already standing a while on my (long) to-buy list.. well if these cookies aren’t a good reason to buy it, I don’t know anymore…! ;)

11:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those look so classy! And yummy too :) I bought some chocolate that had cocoa nibs from was good but I really don't think I fully appreciated the nibs...

9:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi eggy, stumbled upon you blog by chance some time ago. Your cookies really great and I love how you pair it with ice-cream. Did you purchase you Dorie Greenspan book online? Cause I haven't been able to find it in sg.

6:19 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

hi eggy, that ice-cream cookie sandwich looks very sinful indeed - wonderful presentation, and now I must look for that recipe for the Korova cookies!

11:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omigosh!! The pictures are gorgeously delicious! Thanks for coming by my blog. Your blog is amazing. I love how you style the food do elegant but pretty. Will be checking back often!

4:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi those cookies look yummy. May I know where you bought your fleur de sel from? Do you think it's possible to simply use normal table salt (I'm guessing it's a no).

6:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, those look divine. And those cocoa nibs... so delicious!

4:28 am  
Blogger Andreea said...

oh lovely, lovely, lovely

9:28 pm  
Blogger Gustad said...

i still have yet to try coco nibs on their own

11:12 pm  
Blogger shaz said...

hey eggy. you've been bz? Haven't seen you around for a while now...

5:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful looking treat!


5:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey there...thank you so much for linking to my blog. I am honoured. I have been visiting your site for a long truly is inspiring. :)

1:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was wondering if you ould provide the cookie recipe at your blog? or if you could email the recipe to me at thanks alot!

8:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how to make delicious chocolate covered strawberries. First of all ensure that the strawberries you are intending to use are dry, then allow them to be room temperature warm prior to making them. After the strawberries have been covered in chocolate, put them in your refrigerator to cool, but do not store them in the fridge. Consume within 1-2 days.

5:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you would share the recipe for Korova Cookies, I have been trying to create them but so far have missed the mark. Thought your recipe would end my search. Thanks

1:06 am  

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