Dom from Belleau Kitchen hosts random recipes which is a great idea to use more of your recipe books. I tend to get recipes online or from other blogs and as my cookbook collection has grown exponentially last year, I really wanted to use more of my cookbooks this year. The challenge for this month is simple - choose a random recipe from your newest book and blog about it. My newest cookbook is Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking. I have to admit I was nervous about joining this challenge particularly with this book as I feared my random recipe would be too challenging. As instructed, I closed my eyes and randomly opened the book to page 42-43 which is Chocolate-Orange Pinwheels and Checkerboards. My first thought was 'oh no, this looks complicated and time consuming!' (Dom - I have to admit I was very tempted to cheat and turn the page but the next recipe is apricot pecan rugelach! Lesson is don't cheat!)
Anyway I decided I would tackle the recipe but only managed to make the checkerboards which to me were more challenging than the pinwheels. I've never made these before and have always wanted to as they look so cute. I'm glad I tried it but I'm not sure I would make them again as they do require quite a bit of time and patience. They did taste good though so it was worth the effort and the friend that I ended up giving them to really enjoyed them.
The recipe offers a few flavour variations and I chose to make chocolate-coffee for mine. I've probably made it sound more complicated than it really is! Has anyone else tried making these?
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma essentials of baking
155g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
30g chocolate, melted
125g butter, softened
1 large egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 teaspoon of hot water
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and continue beating.
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix well.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Place one half in a separate bowl and stir in the coffee dissolved in hot water.
- Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to the other half and mix well.
- Form each dough into a 5 inch square and wrap separately in cling film.
- Refrigerate until firm (about 45 minutes).
- Remove the dough from the fridge.
- Cut each piece of dough into 6 strips.
- One at a time, roll each strip into a rope, flouring your hands lightly, if necessary.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a fork until foamy.
- Lay 3 ropes parallel to each other alternating the colours (see picture above) and press the ropes together.
- Brush the top with egg white.
- Place a second set of 3 ropes of alternating colours on top of the first set of 3, press them together and brush with egg white.
- Repeat until you have a stack of 4 rows, always alternating the colours so that a checkerboard pattern is visible when the stack is viewed from the end.
- Do not brush the top row with egg white.
- Trim the ends evenly, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Slice the cookies and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 8 - 12 minutes until the edges just begin to turn light golden.
- Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.