Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bouquet of Breadsticks and a Complex Cookie

Well, have you all squirreled away your assorted flower arrangements, boxes of chocolate and shiny jewels for Thursday? I myself was scrambling a little bit for ideas, seeing as I'm a poor (part-time) student and Andrew is like every other man I try to shop for in the fact that he is impossible to deal with in that department! Even though I'm sure he'd love anything I got him, I'm a little pickier in that respect. I don't want to give him just anything, and I have some big shoes to fill if I ever want to live up to his past habits of gift giving (on our first Valentine's Day (just over a month into our relationship), he gave me a 14 K gold heart necklace, my birthday following, a pair of diamond earrings!). Yeah. Holy crap is right. I'm marrying a god.

So I turned to my forte: the kitchen. He had been hinting (read: begging) for me to make him the breadsticks that I had done for him before, and so bake them I did. I added paprika for a beautiful rosy colour, and shaped them into swirly flower stems. I'm planning on tying them up with a little ribbon and giving them as a breadstick bouquet. Add that to this cake, a chocolate Bavarian Cream (on the right) and a Creme Caramel that I made in class, a sushi lunch (on me!) and a few of the cookies I'm sharing with you today, and I think he may be a happy camper.

But enough sappy stuff. These are some seriously crazy cookies. I was given one of my favourite orders to fill for the bakery on my last visit to my chiropractor - a free-for-all creativity outlet! The only criteria: 12 muffins, 24 cookies, Valentine's theme, no nuts. Excellent. The first thing I cranked out was a batch of cookies strawberry-vanilla sugar cookie pinwheels (which I forgot to photograph) that I dubbed "Rosebuds". Next came a batch of red velvet muffins that I will fill and frost with a buttercream a la Hostess, followed by some strawberry-banana oatmeal muffins, each topped with a strawberry half.
The dilemma lay in the final 12 cookies. I knew that for kids, chocolate generally rules, but chocolate chip cookies didn't seem festive enough to me. So taking a "brownie-like" chocolate cookie recipe, I threw in chocolate chips, Smarties and a few dried cherries. Now they're colourful pieces of decadence, like gem-studded earth, or rock in a way. Now how is that for gorgeous imagery? In fact, this photo of the seriously rich cookies is on it's way over to Jugalbandi's event CLICK, which is focusing this month on all things flour.
Complex Cookies
Serves 24
1/2 cup stick margarine, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nestle Smarties or M&Ms
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  1. Cream margarine and sugars until fluffy.
  2. Whisk together vanilla, cornstarch and water until well combined, stir into creamed mixture.
  3. Whisk together flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add to creamed mixture and blend in.
  5. Fold in chips, M&Ms and cherries.
  6. Wrap securely in cling wrap, refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F, lightly grease 2 baking sheets or preferably line with parchment paper.
  8. Shape into balls and place 1 1/2" apart on sheets.
  9. Bake 12 minutes, cool on sheets 2-3 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 140.9
Total Fat: 5.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Sodium: 49.5 mg
Total Carbs: 22.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 1.9 g
For more amazing (and sweet) Valentine's Day ideas check out Farmgirl Fare and her Valentine's Day Treats Recipe Roundup on FoodieView. I was one of the lucky ones featured this go-around, and I feel so special! Thanks Susan!

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