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Dorie Dreams Of Cookies

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Apr 20, 2020
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When you decide to bake something, where do you start? Most of us google around, then pick one of the first recipes that pops up. But experienced home bakers often turn to Dorie Greenspan, author of Everyday Dorie and a dozen other cookbooks. "Dorie does rock solid recipes," says Chandra Ram, who judges the prestigious IACP Cookbook Awards. So what's Dorie doing that makes her recipes better than others? This week, in a show taped pre-quarantine, we travel to her home in Connecticut to find out. We watch her test a recipe, and get a look at her butter fridge. This episode is a companion piece to our recent show, "The Art — And Joy — Of Recipe Writing." So check that one out if you want to hear more about how great recipes are written, as well as the story of the woman who created Joy of Cooking, despite finding no joy in cooking.

In the 1990s, Dorie began working with Julia Child. The two bonded over Dorie's Fifteen-Minute Magic Cake, where the entire cake is made in the food processor. Julia and Dorie formed a deep connection, and would talk on the phone every morning. And in terms of their approach to recipe writing, they were a perfect match. They were both very detailed and wanted to make sure that their recipes worked for home cooks. "We are so lucky because we work in food," Julia told Dorie. "We will always be learning."

Here's the recipe for the nubbly nugget cookies that Dorie made in the episode.

Nubbly Nuggets

A push-button cookie that manages to be both unassuming and seductive. It’s very much like an old-fashioned macaroon, but with more flavors and a more interesting texture, and just a little like a truffle. The cookies are made in a food processor and include almonds – I usually start with whole, skin-on almonds – unsweetened coconut, chopped dark chocolate, a bit of cinnamon (if you’d like) and some sugar. When the mixture is sandy, you pulse in egg whites – they’re what give the cookies a slight crust – and scoop the dough out onto a baking sheet. You get a lot of pleasure for what amounts to about 5 minutes of work.

Makes about 30 cookies

4 1/2 ounces (125 grams; about 1 cup whole and about 1 1/4 cups slivered or sliced) almonds, whole
1 1/4 cups (100 grams) shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup (60 grams) coarsely chopped semi- or bittersweet chocolate
3 large egg whites, stirred just enough to break them up

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate and egg whites in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is sandy – it’s okay if you’ve got a few larger bits. Drop in the chocolate and pulse a few times to chop. Add the egg whites in three additions, pulsing after each, until the dough, which will look like a paste, holds together.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls or use a small cookie scoop, one with a capacity of about 2 teaspoons (my preferred method), leaving an inch between each mound of dough.

Bake the cookies for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they feel just firm when gently pressed and, most important, can be peeled away from the paper or mat. Place the baking sheet on a rack and let the cookies come to room temperature before serving or storing them.

Storing: The cookies will keep for up to 4 days in a covered container at room temperature.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music: (order TK)

- "Birthday Party" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "The Huxtables" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Summer Getaway" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan

- "Cracker Jack" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Trip With You" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

Photos courtesy of Dan Pashman.

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