Tuck Sparkle Cookies and Homemade Butterscotch Sauce into Gift Baskets

The Canadian Press, December 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

Tuck Sparkle Cookies and Homemade Butterscotch Sauce into Gift Baskets


Edible bliss: Sparkle cookies, butterscotch sauce

--

Chef Michael Smith likes to tuck a few of his favourite creations into Christmas gift baskets presented to family and friends. Here are recipes for two treats that recipients look forward to each year -- Sparkle Cookies and Butterscotch Sundae Sauce.

Sparkle Cookies

Every now and then you stumble onto a bit of perfection, Smith writes in his seventh cookbook, "Back to Basics."

"Years ago my buddy, renowned Vancouver pastry chef Thomas Haas, introduced me to these cookies. I promptly introduced them to everyone I know -- they've been a staple in my holiday gift baskets ever since -- and now I'm proudly telling the world: these are the best cookies I've ever baked. Thanks, Thomas, for sharing them!"

500 g (1 lb) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

5 ml (1 tsp) pure orange extract

4 eggs

250 ml (1 cup) sugar, plus more for rolling

500 ml (2 cups) ground almonds

30 ml (2 tbsp) cocoa powder

Set up a double boiler to melt chocolate while insulating it from direct, damaging heat by placing a large heatproof bowl over a smaller pot of barely simmering water. Place chocolate and butter in bowl and gently stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in vanilla and orange extracts, then remove bowl from over water.

Into a large bowl, toss eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer on the highest speed until sugar is smoothly dissolved and mixture thickens dramatically into smooth ribbons that fall from beater, no more than 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together ground almonds and cocoa powder.

Pour egg mixture over chocolate mixture, then sprinkle with almond mixture. Fold together with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and firm, several hours or even overnight.

Heat oven to 160 C (325 F) and turn on convection fan if you have one. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper or a non-stick liner.

Pour a little sugar into a shallow dish. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough and roll them into 2.5-cm (1-inch) balls. Toss balls in sugar, evenly coating with sparkly bits. Arrange 2. …

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