I started writing this post a week ago, pretty much to the minute, and then, as so often happens, got distracted by life (including, but not limited to, a rather epic communal hangover after a night of karaoke in Greenwich Village, some pretty bad jetlag and a very long trip to the US embassy).
Last week though, I was sat in my company’s office in New York City. If I angled my head slightly, I could see the Chrysler building from my desk. My morning commute had involved coming up out of the subway at the foot of the Empire State Building and walking up Fifth Avenue, stopping off at one of the many, many Starbucks en route to grab some breakfast and a green tea lemonade.
I’ve always wanted to live in New York City. From the moment of my first visit, in February 1996, I was enthralled. I remember sitting in the back of a yellow cab as we drove from the airport to Manhattan and thinking that New York was absolutely exactly how I thought it would be, but somehow better than anything I could have possibly imagined. The more I got to know the city, the more it captivated me.
There have been plenty of times when I could have moved to the city. At one point, when I was a teenager, it looked like we might have to relocate for my father’s work. I researched university options and, a few years later, thought about going to law school in New York. If I wanted it, I could probably pursue a transfer with my company. I’ve never quite had the courage to make that leap though and how, I think it’s probably unlikely that I ever will. I have too many ties to my life in London to feel like I can just pick up my life and start again somewhere else and I’m in awe of those people who are brave enough to do just that.
That said, I find myself in the slightly surreal (and exhausting) position of most likely working in my favourite place for the next couple of months. There will be a bit of back and forth and many flights across the Atlantic (hurrah for air miles!) but I’m hoping to get a bit of downtime to actually experience life in the city – from a well-deserved happy hour after work on Friday and weekend trips to neighbouring states to, hopefully, getting to meet/catch up with some of the lovely friends I’ve made through this blog. I’m feeling pretty lucky right now.
During the afore-mentioned trip to Starbucks last week, I was tempted by one of their giant flourless chocolate cookies. I managed to resist partly because my consumption of Mega M&M’s was slightly out of control but mainly because I knew there was a batch of this undoubtedly far superior flourless salted dark chocolate cookie dough sitting in my freezer in London, just waiting to be popped into the oven.
These cookies are primarily chocolate and, for that reason, you should definitely use your favourite chocolate for these. I’m a Lindt 70% girl myself. The original recipe calls for chocolate chips and walnuts which you can add(and would be delicious) but there is something so decadent about just having a pure chocolate-y cookie. On the day they’re baked, they have a crisp, shiny shell. Over the next couple of days, they mellow into what is clearly more akin to a brownie than a cookie. Either way, they’re pretty darn good.
I guess these are more like a brownie than a cookie really; they certainly have a more brownie like texture after a day or two. For that reason, they lend themselves well to the inclusion of chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts, as in the original recipe. That said, I do like the hit of bitter/salty/sweet you get with them in this form. It's probably worth tasting the mixture as you go along a) because cookie dough is the best and b) so that you can work out how much salt you prefer - the recipe as written was just right for me.
- 200g (8oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 60g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 medium eggs
- 120g (2/3 cup) dark brown sugar
- 20g (just under 3 tablespoons) cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus extra for sprinkling if you feel like it.
- In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, gently melt together the chocolate and butter until smooth and set aside to cool slight. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy and then fold in the melted chocolate. Finally, fold in the cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder and salt.
- Chill the dough for about an hour and then preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper or a silicon mat.
- Scoop tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays and gently flatten. Scatter sea salt over the top if you like and bake for about 10 - 12 minutes until firm and shiny. Allow to set a little before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Adapted from Ghirardelli's Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookie