I can never tell if a recipe is going to be a success.
Oh, I know whether not it's going to be successful - once it's on the stove or in the oven, I can gauge if things went right or wrong - but predicting the reception it will get is entirely another matter. De gustibus non est disputandum and all that.
I'd like to say I know when I've created winning recipes, but the truth is, I'm always surprised. Recipes I love sometimes get only lukewarm responses. And recipes I haven't been very happy with have garnered rave reviews.
And sometimes there are recipes I improvise that get a response I would never have anticipated.
I moved again at the end of last month. Knowing that (heavy) kitchen equipment and supplies make up the bulk of my wordly goods, I figured I should at least try to cut down on some of the stuff in my pantry. In the runup to moving day, I baked a lot of cookies.
For one batch, I thought I'd make a basic cookie dough and use up the ends of several chocolate bars. Unfortunately, in the course of packing up my kitchen, I misplaced the vanilla, and so I added a generous measure of Frangelico instead. After a moment's consideration, I threw in some cocoa powder too.
They baked up just fine, smelling pleasantly of chocolate. I expected that they'd be perfectly serviceable cookies. Nothing too unusual, but a decent accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea.
Then I started offering them to people. They took seconds. They took thirds. Some of them even asked me if they could find the recipe on my blog.
I was startled. I was surprised. Maybe even a little flabbergasted. I wouldn't have called it an extraordinary recipe.
But here it is, by popular demand. And if someone has a surefire way of determining when a recipe will be a smashing success, please, do let me know.
(Sorry, no photos. They were all eaten before I could muster the energy to fight with my digital camera.)
Chocolate-Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
(Makes one dozen. Dough will freeze.)
In a bowl, cream together one stick of butter and half a cup of brown sugar. Beat in one egg.
Stir in one tablespoon Frangelico, a quarter-teaspoon salt, and three tablespoons cocoa powder; mix until the cocoa powder is fully incorporated.
Stir in one teaspoon baking powder. Fold in one cup of flour until you have a smooth, thick dough.
Stir in one cup of chocolate chunks or chips (milk or dark, your choice), and half a cup of hazelnuts, if you'd like them.
Chill the dough in the fridge until firm, then divide into a dozen balls (dough may be frozen at this point.)
To bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the cookie dough balls on the baking sheets, and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake the cookies for twelve to fifteen minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool for five minutes on baking sheets before transferring to a cooling rack.