I have a pretty significant number of cookbooks and the majority of them are about chocolate, but I often don’t get around to cooking from them. This was a great opportunity to get to try something from one of those books, and probably a recipe I wouldn’t have picked on my own.
My random selection turned up I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by one of my favorite cookbook writers, Marcel Desaulniers. This is a beautiful book, full of pictures and a good selection of recipes that cover the bases from show-stopper to every day type of treats. Even though it’s aimed at the holidays, most of the recipes in this book could be served at any time. Each recipe has a “chef’s touch” tip at the end of it for ways to wrap, present or otherwise make the recipe more special. I opened the book at random and got a recipe called Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Cigars which are lace cookies that have been rolled and then dipped in chocolate.
The recipe looks deceptively easy but in fact is one of those recipes that takes a little practice. A loose and sugary batter is made from corn syrup (I used honey), powdered sugar, melted butter, chopped pistachios and a little flour. The batter is dropped by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet and (in theory) baked into golden rounds.
My dough turned into (mostly) irregularly shaped blobs that ran into one another despite being dropped well apart, 4 to a sheet. I’m not sure whether to blame this on the substitution of honey for the corn syrup or the fact that my cookie sheets don’t sit 100% level anymore. I suspect it’s probably the cookie sheets. I was able to cut them apart though, so this wasn’t really a big problem. After the first sheet, I baked them two to a sheet which worked better to give me round cookies.
When golden in color, the pans are removed from the oven and as soon as the ultra-thin hot cookies can be handled, they are peeled up and rolled to form a cylinder. I found that it took some practice to know when to peel them up as they need to be cooled just enough to hold their cylindrical shape without collapsing but not so cool that they couldn’t be manipulated. I also needed a little practice in figuring out exactly how cooked they needed to be before taking them out of the heat. Too soon and the cylinders were chewy instead of crisp and brittle. Whew! By the last pan of dough, I finally had it down and my last 4 were pretty good.
Once the cookies are cooled and fairly soon before serving, the cylinders are dipped in chocolate and which is set quickly in the refrigerator. The recipe photo also showed the dipped end sprinkled with more nuts, but as I was out of pistachios that wasn’t an option for me so I dipped each end in chocolate instead. The cookies were pretty tasty and I liked the subtle honey flavor combined with the buttery nuts and rich chocolate. These would be a great side to an ice cream dish.
I am also submitting this recipe to The Biscuit Barrel challenge as their cookie challenge theme this month is chocolate.
- 6 Tbsp. (4.5oz/127.5g) light honey
- ¼ (1oz/28g) cup confectioners sugar
- 2 level Tbsp. (1oz/28g) all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ (1oz/31g) cup shelled and skinned pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces (227g) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.
- Place the honey, sugar, flour and vanilla in a medium bowl and then pour in the melted butter.
- Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the chopped nuts and combine.
- Using 1 Tbsp. of batter for each cookie, portion 4 cookies out about 3½ inches apart on each of 3 nonstick cookie sheets.
- Bake one sheet at a time for 12-13 minutes, until uniformly golden brown. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
- Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, until the cookie can be peeled off of the baking sheet without crumpling and before it's too cool to shape.
- Flip the cookie so that the nut side is on the outside and roll the cookie into a cylinder. Set aside on another cookie sheet to cool.
- Repeat the baking and rolling process until all the cookies are baked.
- When the cylinders are cool and close to when you want to serve them, melt the chocolate and dip the cylinders into the chocolate, either halfway up one end or on each end. Place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set the chocolate.
- Serve immediately after the chocolate is set.