Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mocha Crackle Cookies with Walnut and Pecan Chips

I am back from the New York trip. It was an amazing experience. The best part of the trip was that I got to meet a lot of new faces who are my hubby's close pals but whom I met for the first time in life. Besides socializing, what appealed to me about NY are its cultural diversity and the vibrant spirit. It has copious similarity with Mumbai, the financial hub of India. Like Mumbai, it is overpopulated throbbing round the clock with the hustle and bustle of people from all across the globe converging on the same location, some as tourists, some on business and some for earning livelihood. While taking a walk down the footpath of Manhattan, finding people brushing by in a hurried manner is very typical of the experience encountered in the busiest thoroughfares of Indian metros.

Another amusing thing to catch my notice was while waiting in a queue, be that for tickets to a ferry or for a climb up to the crown of Rockefeller Centre or the Empire State Building, the people standing in front and behind all were speaking different languages and not English. This multi-lingual multifarious aspect of NY allured me most. Then the presence of cycle rickshaws and horse carriages in downtown Manhattan was another characteristic redolent of Kolkata. A feeling of nostalgia gripped my mind momentarily then.
Aside from Manhattan, we visited Jackson Heights in Queens which is another enchanting city of New York. While dining with our Bengali friends at Jackson Heights, I felt that we were, as if, eating out in Kolkata with so many fellow diners cooing in my mother tongue, some even attired in kurta pajama and salwaar kameez. The footpaths along the heart of Jackson Heights were lined with apparel stores exclusive to saree and salwaar. We stayed there hardly for 5 days and within such a short span of time, New York cast its magic spell on me and I was feeling morose while returning back to our marooned sleepy town of Perrysburg where without the possession of a driving license, I feel handicapped with my eyes longing every minute for the mere sight of people in the lonely desolate streets where seeing a passerby is nothing short of a piece of good luck.

Okay, now coming back to the recipe, these gorgeous mocha crackle cookies served a great deal to us throughout our trip. We often forget to take our meal on time while travelling which sometimes sends the system our bodies are accustomed to in total disarray resulting in sickness or bowel complications. To avoid ailment of that nature which could spoil the fun of a trip, I baked these wonderful looking scrumptious mocha cookies that work a good deal in quickly quenching the hunger pinch. These cookies are very useful for long road trips when halting every now and then for food becomes troublesome.

Ingredients:                                    Cooking time: 45 minutes approx.
ü  1/2 cup butter
ü  1 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
ü  4 eggs
ü  1 cup granulated sugar
ü  1 cup brown sugar
ü  1/2 tsp salt
ü  141 gram unsweetened chocolate, chopped
ü  2 heaped cups of all-purpose flour
ü  2 tsp baking powder
ü  1/2 cup broken walnuts
ü  1/4 cup pecan chips
ü  Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1) Place butter, chocolates and coffee powder together in a bowl. Simmer it on low heat till the chocolates melt completely. Alternately, you might do the same process in microwave for 3-4 minutes till the chocolates are dissolved.
2) In a separate bowl, whip together eggs, sugar and brown sugar to smooth consistency. Pour the chocolate mixture into this and combine.
3) In another mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the egg-chocolate mixture into the flour gently forming soft dough. Mix in pecan chips and walnuts. Refrigerate for atleast 2-3 hours.
4) Preheat the oven to 370 F/ 187 C. Make small balls out of the dough which by now should be pliable enough to mold. If still the stickiness remains, grease your palms with little bit of oil before you put in work on shaping the balls.
5) Roll the balls out into 2 inches of diameter. Dust them generously with confectioners' sugar.
6) Place them in a prepared baking pan lined with aluminium foil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes till the crust is evenly crackled.
7) Cool down the cookies to room temperature letting them stiffen as they cool.
8) Store in jar for up to 2 weeks.

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