Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sweet Magic by Michel Richard


Celebrated and award-winning chef Michel Richard goes back to his roots with this new cookbook.  His first passion was desserts and this book is a love letter to them.  This is not only a cookbook though, it's an exploration on the author's way of thinking and his approach to pastries.

I love to cook.  It's one of those endeavors that helps to take my mind of things and get lost in the moment of creation.  It's one of my escapes and one I hold dear to my heart.  Now with that being said, I'm not much a baker.  As of matter of fact, desserts scare the hell out of me because they all seem so easy to screw up.

This book didn't help ease those fears.  I'm not sure what it is but when I crack open a dessert cookbook my hands start to shake and my knees get wobbly.  I'm way too intimidated to even try most of the recipes in this one though for most experienced baking aficionados they would probably find most of them easy.  The recipes are written in a easy to understand with step-by-step instructions on what to do and when to do it.  There is a personal comment or explanation with each one that helps you understand where the recipe came from and why he made it that way.  In every aspect but one this is a easy, straightforward cookbook.  It just so happens for me, the subject matter is the hard part.

Now I did try to Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies and other than a little darkening on some of them (I don't think my oven bakes evenly) they turned out pretty well and my son loved them.  Now the recipe said that it makes 65 cookies but we ended up a with a little less than that, maybe I made them too big.  I brought some of the leftovers to work and they guys all seemed to like them as well.  I'll put the recipe and instructions at the end of the review.

I would recommend this to anyone who is a little more daring than me or to anyone who loves baking as much as I do cooking.  I think it would make a perfect addition to most home cooks libraries.

Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups pastry flour
1 pound semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat the over to 350.

Place the butter, sugar, and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer (I had to borrow one) with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Crack the eggs into a small bowl and stir in the vanilla.  While mixer is on high, add the eggs to the butter mixture in two stages, stopping the mixer and scrapping the sides of the bowl in between.  Add the flour (I did not know the difference between regular flour and pastry flour until I asked the friend I borrowed the mixer from) a third at a time, stopping, the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the chocolate chips and the macadamia nuts and mix until combined.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes, to make forming the cookies easier.  Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into 1 1/2-inch mounds with at least 2 inches of space between cookies.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light brown.  The cookies should be firm around the edges but still soft in the middles.  Allow them to cool on a sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack (I don't have a cooling rack so I used to roasting pan racks).  Store in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days (the cookies lasted a bit longer than that around here and didn't seem any worse for wear).


Anonymous said...

I love desserts, but am not much of a baker either. The cookies sounds delicious.

Simcha said...

I actually enjoy making deserts more than other foods because I find them to be more fun. But I'm very precise about following directions when baking and am not the kind of person who can casually throw in "a bit of this" and "a bit of that" as many of my friends do. the cookie recipe looks delicious. maybe I'll give it a try.

Staci said...

Those sound great!! Make me a batch!! LOL!