Say that five times fast! Seriously, if you know me you know that probably the last thing I need is one more cookbook, but this one pretty much jumped off the shelf and into my arms. What’s a girl to do?This book is delightful. The first half is the story of the recent “slow food movement” reemergence and a series of interviews with and stories about some of the farmers/growers who are embracing it.
The second half of the book is (oh mmmmm!!!) recipes.
This is great fun because the recipes are sort of all over the place. They are from all sorts of cuisines, they range from “soup to nuts“, and the photographs make me want to lick the pages. Mmmm…
So far I’ve only made one recipe from this book. I found the book (or it found me) on Thursday, and I wanted to make something for a thing on Saturday. Friday was crisp and clear and a perfect day for making meringues. I’d forgotten how easy these are, but when I saw the “Roches” recipe in this book I thought yup, that’s the ticket!
And, (since I can never leave well enough alone, I guess) I added some mini-chocolate chips but other than that I didn’t really mess with this quick and easy cookie that just happens, happily, to be gluten free. Mmmm…
If you are a pastry tube sort of person, you can pipe these out and make them tidy. I prefer the “roche” (“rock”) look. Trust me, these are light and crisp and not rock-like to eat at all!
And, the recipe calls for vanilla extract. My new pal Ken sent me a bottle of his home made (I gotta try this!!) “Madagascar Vanilla Extract” in my swap box. I used about 1 tsp. in these cookies and oh my… mmmmmm!!!
Anyway, here’s what I did, which is almost exactly the recipe from the newest addition to my cookbook library:
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar (measured after sifting)
1/2 cup regular white sugar
1 cup almonds roughly ground (not to powder!)
(or 2/3 cup almonds and 1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips)
Move your oven racks up in your oven (assuming that like mine it heats from the bottom).
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Rough chop or grind the almonds (I used the “cocoa powder coated” ones because that’s what I had). Set aside.
Separate the eggs (carefully, carefully…) and put the whites in a decent sized bowl. Now, you can do this with a whisk, but I recommend a stand mixer or at least a hand mixer as this part takes a while.
Whisk together the 2 sugars and set aside.
Beat the egg whites, vanilla extract and salt until frothy. Then add in the sugar slowly, beating madly to incorporate. I added the sugar roughly by tablespoons-full. Continue beating until this shiny batter becomes stiff enough to form peaks. It takes a while and I was getting concerned but it will happen.
Then, fold in the almonds (or almonds and chocolate chips) and pipe (or more likely drop) onto the cookie sheets to make small “rocks”.
Bake 15 minutes at 350F, then turn off your oven but leave the cookies inside (with the oven door cracked open) and let the cookies cool as the oven does.
Now here’s the odd thing. These bake with the oven door cracked open. Not a summer dessert here in central Texas, but like I said, Friday was a crisp day.
The only thing I can tell you about this part is I recommend using a wooden utensil to crack that door – it will get hot. Yes, I know, duh… but it is too easy to grasp a thing without thinking (for me at least).
This recipe made 32 small “rocks”. They disappeared pretty quickly (although the recipe states that they can be stored in an air-tight container for up to a week – hahaha). Try it, please let us know if you do, and enjoy!