For Easter this year, with no Atul around and just starting to discover that Mumbai does have some good food joints (Thanks to @finelychopped’s food walks ) I decided to skip the elaborate brunch and bake some Chocolate babka and hazelnut meringue cookies for friends. The babka is one of my favourite breads. Rich, buttery, soft and oozing chocolate, it’s a great celebration bread to have at your coffee table or give away to friends.
But its these amazing little cookies below, bursting with chocolate and hzelnut that I want to thrust into the limelight today. If you have a cake mixer or an egg beater, you can bake them a jiffy with absolutely stellar results. Chewy, gooey dalmatian-like outside and utterly chocolatey with dark chocolate chunks hidden inside, the cookie gets its best hit from the gorgeous hazelnut in my opinion.. Either ways, this is a recipe to please. (By the way cooking Babka and the cookies together is a great idea since you would have leftover whites from the babka which are perfect to make the meringue for the cookies.)
Hazelnut Chocolate Dalmatian Cookies
Yes, this is a bit of a throwback to my post on meringues but I did warn you guys that I am in a meringue phase. And this is such a brilliant little gem of a recipe, I do think it deserves its own post. The technique is mostly the same and I would suggest you read the post to understand a bit on meringues. Remember, the bottom line, if there is even bit of fat or moisture in your egg whites (bits of yolk, oil or butter floating around or water drop lets) they will not whip. If you get that sorted, there is no reason you can’t have these little beauties as and when you wish. Give this one a go – I am confident you will fall in love.
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar (you could add upto double of that for stiffer cookies but I hate oversweet cookies)
1.5 cups dark chocolate chips, miniature chips or finely diced semi or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 (or a bit more) hazelnuts or walnuts
Preheat oven to 150 c.
1. Add your peeled hazelnuts to a dry frypan and stir over low to medium heat on the stove top till they start getting golden. The oils will release and the nuts will also get shiny at this point. Let cool and chop roughly.
2. Chop up your chocolate to little pieces – about .75 cm cubes or so. (or be all frou frou and use the little chips.. am not sure why but I feel somewhat disdainful about those nifty little things)
3. Into a large bowl, add in your egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and sugar. Whisk with a clean, dry egg beater till get soft peaks. What that means is on lifting the beater out of the mixture, your will get little mountains but their tips will curl down. Add in the vanilla, and whisk again till you have stiff peaks which means that this times, the tips of the mountains hold up and don’t curl down. The meringue at this point should be glossy and have absolutely no undissolved grainy sugar particles when you run it between your fingers.
4. Gently fold in the chocolate and nuts with a flat spoon without mixing too much.
5. Drop in tablespoon sized mounds onto a parchment lined sheet and Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Or until the cookies are just a tad golden and the underside of the cookie is nicely light golden. The cookies will be dry outside but not hard. They will get a bit crisper as they cool but these are chewy cookies.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool. I find that meringues sometimes stick to the paper but tend to get easier to remove as they cool. So don’t be like me, learn to be patient and get rewarded with lovely little Dalmatian like cookies.