Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cookies That Could Cost You Your Job

I got fired because of these cookies.

When my children were very small I had a semi-regular job baking for a java john in Telluride. I made breakfast pastries, cookies and biscotti. Things were going well until they asked me to supersize my cookies and biscotti.

I once read about a chef who had a beef about serving filet mignon at his restaurant - he considered the cut inferior. Filet mignon may be tender but it's mild. It begs for a sauce or peppercorns or something to give it some flavor. The chef wanted to provide diners with better (and, incidentally, less expensive) cuts but they kept requesting pricier filet. He began to wonder who was more stupid: his customers for not having better taste, or he himself for not providing (and charging them for) what they wanted.

Well, a similar thing happened with my cookies. I sort of quietly refused to increase the size of my triple chocolate cookies and biscotti and the john sort of stopped ordering from me. In retrospect, I suppose I could have made the cookies a little bigger. But I wasn't going to budge on the biscotti. And sure enough, my former client found a bakery that produced gargantuan, totally uncivilized biscotti for them. I could make a case in my defense involving ethics and tradition and the responsibility I take seriously as a cook, and it wouldn't be all hot air - but it was a job I was willing to lose. Stupid coffee company.

Triple Chocolate Cookies
Print recipe only here

Makes 4-5 dozen smallish cookies


4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
2 t vanilla
2 T espresso or coffee extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (can substitute 1 ⅓ cups semisweet chocolate chips)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
One stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
½ cup flour
½ t salt
½ t baking powder
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Melt the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates and butter in a double boiler (over barely simmering water):

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and espresso.

Add the chocolate slowly to the eggs, whisking in well.

Sift the dry ingredients. Stir into the chocolate mixture.

Add the chocoalte chips, stirring well to combine.

Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so (or while you preheat the oven) to cool and stiffen a bit.

Using a soup spoon, portion 12 mounds of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten a bit with the heel of your hand. It's messy.

Bake for 12 minutes at 300 convection (or 350 in a standard oven, which may add a couple of minutes of baking time), rotating the baking sheet halfway thru cooking. Cookies are done when the surface is uniform (not too glossy) and just set.


Kate Jaquet said...

you are the more traditional of the two brothers in "Big Night", who refused to make the side of spaghetti for the customer (and i mean that as a compliment) ;-)

Katie Fairbank said...

i loved that movie! did you read about your coffee grinder? :)