10 February 2009

Honeybush, Can You Get Me Another Cookie?

I am officially disgusted. My freezer has NO. MORE. ROOM.

After I wrapped up my latest sweet creation to tuck away in there, I opened the door to a packed-solid mess: five pounds of sour cherries I lovingly destemmed, washed and pitted during their fleeting two-week season in June; a bag of pistachio-rosewater cookies; about two dozen orange-pistachio crescents and an equal amount of brown sugar-almond cookies; even a few gingerbread-chocolate chunk monsters left over from the holidays. And that's not even counting any of the breads!

It's sad like the economy, but in reverse. I need to stop baking.

For a week, at least.

Luckily, tea doesn't take up very much room. And I already finished making these chocolate-chip cookies, so I'll just have to make room somehow. They probably won't last long; this version is an addictive take on the classic, from Elizabeth Faulkner's Demolition Desserts. She likes to play around with sugars, and what results is a delicate tug-of-war between the crunchy, floral demerara and the deep, spicy muscavado varieties. Add in toastiness from chopped oats sauteed in a bit of beurre noisette, soft centers full of rich chocolate chips and crispy edges where the sugar bits are just on the edge of caramelizing, and you'll forget you ever worried about any dumb little recession.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Version XS
Makes: about 4 1/2 dozen.

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed muscavado sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Pulse oats in a food processor for 15 to 20 seconds, until the texture of sawdust, but with some recognizable oat flakes. In a small pot, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and cook for about 3 mintues, or until it browns slightly. Add the oats and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until you smell a toasty fragrance. Spoon the oats onto a plate to cool.

2. In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon, cream together the remaining 12 tablespoons butter and muscavado sugar until smooth. Add demerara sugar and vanilla and stir briefly, just to mix. Add egg and stir to combine.

3. Add in toasted oats, then sift together flour and baking soda over the dough. Add salt and stir gently to combine. Mix in chocolate; cover bowl and refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

4. Heat oven to 350°. Place 1-inch balls of dough 2 inches apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Bake cookies about 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Needless to say, the sugar consumption has been getting a little out of hand around here. So I've been turning to herbal teas to help settle things down, especially The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's African Sunrise ($8.20 for 20 teabags)- a smooth, bright blend of honeybush leaves, orange peel and vanilla.

OK, so it's bagged, but it's higher quality than you'd expect- while on a glucose up spike I even broke one open just to make sure. Amazing name aside, honeybush is high in minerals and allegedly has nutritious and calmative properties.

I could definitely fall asleep right now, after the two cups I just had. Or maybe that's just the sugar leaving my bloodstream.


cha sen said...

There is nothing comparable to a sugar high/ tea-induced caffeine headiness!

Dave's Blog said...

I have a solution to your freezer issue.

Mail the contents to Gosnold St, Hull, Ma

Vee said...

Hey Ana,

Thanks! I'm from Charlotte, actually, and am moving there to work with Urbana Cityspa & Teabar, where I got my start with tea. I already know a lot of people there, and finding good tea shouldn't be an issue. :) Still, I'll miss certain things about NYC!

So sorry to hear about your freezer! One suggestion that may help -- take your tea out. Freezing it doesn't help it. Actually, I wrote an article about tea storage a while back. In case you're interested: http://veetea.com/site/articles/Storing-Your-Tea

BTW, I contacted David's Tea for press releases (based on your recommendation). Seems like a very cool business! Thanks for the link!


ana dane said...

solutions- i like those. thank you.

and just for the record, there's no tea in the freezer- it stays in the fridge, where it remains fresh and quite happy.

AC said...

just to clarify...you freeze the dough and not the actual baked goods right?

my freezer has room if you need some. just make sure to include baking directions. haaaaa!

p.s. the word verification below says "merafera" what a nice non-word. i will have to make up a meaning!

ana dane said...

it's almost always the completed baked goods- that way i don't have to do anything other try to wait five minutes for it to thaw out.

merafera (n): a small, spiraling sea creature native to arctic waters

AC said...

love it!