Smitten Kitchen doesn't need introductions. The award-winning blog by New Yorker Deb Perelman is one of the most successful food websites in the blogosphere. Her recipes are a mix of hearty dinner dishes, light pastries and sweet baking goodness, presented with beautiful photos and introduced by tales of family life and a pinch of Deb's sense of humour.
You read the Smitten Kitchen blog and you want to be Deb's best friend. Or at least a good enough friend to be invited over to her home for dinner! :)
I am sure most of you already know her and are a fan of her food blog. I have been using the Smitten Kitchen recipes ever since starting my blog; some are a bit tricky, other are very easy, and overall I find them very reliable. I never feel the need to tweak them, they are perfect as they are.
I love how her photography is simple and not over-styled: usually they are just close-ups of the food against her graphite kitchen counter. All posts are accompanied by step-by-step photos, which I am too lazy/busy to do for my blog, but I find very useful when following recipes from other blogs.
Anyway, the point of this long introduction is that I met Deb last week. In London. At her cookbook launch. And she loved the cookies I made using one of her recipes! Woop! :)
The event was organised by Toast and hosted at Hide Gallery in Bermondsey. I missed out on one of the tickets (which sold out in less than an hour!), but luckily the organisers invited me to attend the event as one of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook recipe testers!
I was asked to prepare two batches of Brownie Roll-Out Cookies for the party and I was obviously under pressure, knowing that seventy bloggers and passionate bakers would try my cookies, not to mention possibly Deb herself!
I made a first batch of cookies a few days before the event, just to test the recipe out. Once the dough was ready, I rolled it out to a 5mm depth, cut out the cookies and baked them for 8 minutes. They smelled and tasted delicious, but they were too thin and not as soft as a chocolate brownie, which is what the recipe aims to recreate.
So the night before the Smitten Kitchen book launch I prepared the cookie dough again and in less than 30 minutes I had enough dough to make five dozens of cookies! They are really easy and quick to make. I wrapped it in cling film, put it in the fridge and went to bed.
The next morning I woke up at 6am and before the sun came up I had rolled out, cut out and baked 60 cookies! I rolled out the dough 1cm thick this time and baked the cookies for 10 minutes. The result was so much better: the cookies were puffy and soft in the centre, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Everyone at the launch was very kind and told me they loved my cookies, including Deb! I was very enthusiastic with the result and I spent the past week eating the left-overs: toasted and dipped in my breakfast coffee; or with a thin layer of hazelnut spread; or sandwiched with clotted cream ice-cream…choose your favourite way to enjoy these cookies, the possibilities are endless!
- 375g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 225g lightly salted butter, softened
- 300g sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g unsweetened cocoa
Whisk the sifted flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in a mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven at 175 ºC. Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter. Cut the cookies out and brush extra deposits of flour off the top (although the flour will disappear once baked). Work quickly as the dough becomes sticky as it warms up.
Bake the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (depending how thick your cookies are) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Special thanks to Sarah and the Toast team for inviting me to the book launch!