Monday, 17 May 2010

Cocoa Nibbed Cookies & A Woodland Walk


It was the 1st of May, a traditional day off for the workers, so a group of us did just that and went off to explore Trenant Wood and to enjoy the bluebells which we hoped would be flowering there. This wood is a relatively recent acquisition of the Woodland Trust and lies at the confluence of the East and West Looe rivers. I had never been there before so was looking forward to this walk with eager anticipation.


Supplies of the edible variety were of course necessary, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get out my newly acquired copy of Adventures in Chocolate and have a go at making some cocoa nib cookies to accompany us on the trek. As I haven't yet mastered the art of tempering, I decided not to drench the cookies in chocolate as the recipe suggested, but other than that I tried to follow the recipe as stated - although I made only half the quantity.
  • Melted 110g unsalted butter in a pan with 75g demerara sugar and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
  • Mixed in 125g wholemeal spelt flour, 50g cocoa powder, a 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and an egg.
  • Stirred in 30g cocoa nibs.
  • Scooped spoonfuls (14) of the mixture and placed onto lined baking trays leaving plenty of room between them. Now this is where it all started to go wrong. The butter had separated out (I assumed it was because there was too much of it) so there was grease everywhere!
  • Baked for 8 mins at 180C. The butter carried on going everywhere, so the oven smelt of burnt butter and the cookies didn't spread at all, so there was no need to place them well apart as stated in the recipe.

Despite the over abundance of butter and not being impressed with Paul's recipe writing skills, I wasn't too disappointed. These cookies were really good - very adult, being rich and chocolatey and not too sweet with an impressively dark appearance to match. They had a great crunch and extra chocolate hit both coming from the cocoa nibs. I'm sure a coating of rich dark chocolate would have been delicious, but they stood up well to being unadorned. They were certainly appreciated at the time.


Amazingly, despite the lowering clouds, we were not rained upon. It was a wonderful walk through ancient woodland in a spectacular setting. There were views across the river to the woods on the other side as well as plenty of bird life to observe on the river itself. The woods were lovely although the bluebells were only just starting to come out, courtesy of the late spring. Luckily, there were plenty of other flowers to admire and the trees were in various stages of coming into leaf giving a rich tapestry of shapes and colours to draw the eye. Of course we said we would return to see the bluebells out, but CT and I haven't managed it yet!

18 comments:

  1. What a wonderful place. Shame about the butter, but it sounds as they redeemed themselves in the end, they look delicious.

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  2. Fascinating recipe! Where did you get cocoa nibs from?

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  3. Beautiful and scrumptious cookies..

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  4. Beautiful place and cookies looks yummy...

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  5. Looks like a beautiful place to go walking. Looks like the cookies turned out in spite of the butter not cooperating at first. They look delicious!

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  6. Kath - yes it is a wonderful place - my photographs don't do it justice of course. I always get wrapped up in the walk and looking at things and forget to take photographs.

    Caked Crusader - I got them from a health food shop. they tend to be cheaper brought that way. You can by them through places like Hotel Chocolat, but they are a lot more expensive.

    Thank you Priya & Sushma

    Bridgett - thank you. I think I need your eye for photography to actually show off the area properly.

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  7. Lovely photos, Choclette! I'm curious what happened with the recipe, although when I think about it, I've never seen a cookie recipe that called for melted butter. Brownie and cake, yes, but not a cookie, which basically has to keep its shape - in most cases, cookie recipes call for not overbeating the butter so as to avoid melting it!

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  8. Celia - aghh, you might have cracked it there. So you don't think it was because there was too much butter? I might try this again using the creaming method.

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  9. Just caught up with the last of the Bristol bluebells this morning, they are already going over. I can't bear it! Looks like a beautiful place, your cookie experience reminds me of the one and only time I tried to make brandy snaps, butter leaking everywhere, now lost in the mists of time. I have a packet of those choc nibs from the wholefood shop, and I don't know quite what to do with them and a piece of raw chocolate and some cocoa butter, all sitting there, waiting for Chocot!

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  10. I love bluebells, but for me it's the primroses I can't bear to see finish. Yes, I too have got some raw chocolate making ingredients that have been sitting in my cupboard for some time. I am intending to use them .... sometime!

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  11. deserted standing tree attracts me,choco chips, i have never tried so far...may be soon will give it a try!

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  12. Ananda, most of the walk was really pretty, but this was such a contrast I actually thought to get my camera out.

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  13. Ooooooooooooh they do look good! And the walk looks very pretty too. I have some cocoa nibs lurking at the back of my cupboard that I have been trying to come up with a new use for so will defo be giving these a try. Thanks for sharing ;0)

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  14. Lovely scenery and lovely cookies for the walk. The cookies look crunchy and delicious. I don't mind to keep walking if I have such mouth-watering cookies in my hand :D

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  15. The cookies still look really good, despite the complications. I'm so jealous of your walk, I bet it was lovely taking all the scenery in :)

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  16. Chele - if you do try these, I'd suggest creaming butter and sugar rather than melting it - that might work better.

    MaryMoh - thank you. It's certainly nice to have good things to eat when on a walk.

    Catherine - it was a lovely walk. I'm really bad at remembering to take photos, so it was a lot better than it looks here.

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  17. Choclette, I just made these cookies and boy were they messy to shape. Tasty nonetheless. Other recipes I have for cookies call for melted, cooled butter. I think if the butter had been cool maybe it would have worked better. Must try again.

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  18. Gillian, if I make this again, I will just use unmelted butter - I'm sure therein lay the problem. When you say cooled melted butter, do you mean semi solid consistency?

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