Tag Archives: chocolate

Birthday Cookies for All

22 Sep

I made a life changing decision this summer: to finally put an end to my suffering over buying birthday gifts for loved ones. For some people just a card is appropriate. For others, you feel like you owe them a boat bedazzled in diamonds. At the moment of truth I always seem to be too broke or wrapped up in my own pity party to actually make the present of my gift-giving dreams come true. Recipients usually end up with a card and some truly pathetic story about the gift I wanted/tried/dreamt to give them if only I…(fill in the blank). More often than not they don’t care about my story (or the card) and I end up feeling like an idiot, already dreading the upcoming year when I’ll likely be standing in the same place having the same argument with myself.

Then it dawned on me: Don’t I have more important things to have anxiety attacks over? Life health insurance? (OrLackThereOf.)

Henceforth my brilliant declaration that all birthday presents shall now be made up of cookies. What says “I love you” more than a homemade customized cookie? If your friends don’t like cookies then they’re NOT MY FRIEND. So far we’ve had four loved ones with birthdays this summer and each one received a batch of freshly baked cookies. Kendra got compost cookies with healthy notes likes raisin bran, oats, flax and sesame seeds. (Kendra’s kind of granola- with a twist of PBR). Tim and Logan both received the less healthy version with potato chips, buttered popcorn, Twix bars, and coffee. (It’s cool- they can handle the calories; they ride fixies). This week we celebrate the  life of one of our loveliest and most delicious friends ever, Delane, co-owner of Portland’s favorite cornmeal crust pizzeria Dove Vivi.

Here are some FUN FACTS about Delane:

  • She is a salad goddess. You will never make a better salad than her. Try. You WILL FAIL.
  • She bakes the very best chocolate cookies I have ever tasted. EVER.
  • She was the first person to teach me how to grill a pizza on the bbq. Pizza contained: bacon, strawberry jam, blue cheese and local salad greens (I shamelessly stole this exact flavor combination for an egg sandwich at our cafe the very next day and named it affectionately, “My New BFF”).
  • She can build things. Lots of things. With wood. Like bookshelves, entertainment centers, tables and living structures.
  • She is the mother to an awesome toddler, a devoted dog and two adorable goats.
  • She is a gifted potter. (The vase she gave us for a wedding present is proudly displayed on our mantle)
  • She has an outdoor shower at her house (I know!). That she built. (Right?!?)
  • She’s from ALASKA.
  • She is a professional fisherwoman.

As you can see, Delane is a multifaceted person. For this reason (and because chocolate chip cookies are SO OUT of the question– DUH) she requires a special cookie. For Delane we baked Mocha Buckwheat Shortbread. Luckily for you I’m sharing the recipe. See if you have a friend they would be a good fit for. They make an excellent gift (for your own sanity). I speak the truth.

Mocha Buckwheat Shortbread Cookies with Cacao Nibs

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I used a combination of confectioners, brown, and white)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup espresso beans, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour

Cream the butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, nibs, and espresso beans and mix for 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the cocoa powder and both flours, mixing until the dough is smooth and the flour is just incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto wax paper. Using the wax paper, roll the dough into a thick log as evenly as possible to a thickness of 2-inches in diameter. Wrap in remaining wax paper and chill at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days.  This dough also freezes well (up to 2 months).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log into 1/2-inch thick slices and place on the baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of room in-between. Prick each cookie twice with the tines of a fork. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets half-way through. A slightly shorter baking time will yield a softer, fudge-like shortbread; a slightly longer baking time will yield firmer cookies.

Allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for a month. Many believe these cookies get better the longer they sit.

Dessert: Pix Patisserie

28 Jun

This is my sweet tooth’s current obsession. I’m normally not a chocolate fan (give me cheesecake any day) which is why the discovery of this dessert from one of Portland most notable French bakeries, Pix Patisserie, surprised me. My favorite part is the delicate melt-in-your-mouth texture of the sticks of meringue. Highly recommended.

The Concord

Chocolate meringue, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache are hidden by sticks of meringue and a single red ribbon.