I knew, when I read that these biscuits were on the Baking Bible 'quick and easy' list, that that probably wasn't true. For a start Rose calls them My Chocolate Chip Cookies. If they're Rose's specialty then there's going to be something extra good about them, right? Plus if you've been following the Alpha Bakers for a while you'll know that Rose just can't help herself but add in some fancy step. And I was right. Not only do you have to make beurre noisette (browned butter) you also have to skin walnuts - two baking tasks which require the baker to exercise the highest degree of zen.
I cut out one of the zen-requiring tasks by not including the walnuts which made this recipe pretty easy, although a mishap with the butter added some time and severely tested my patience. In the end I liked these biscuits but they didn't wow me. I really felt like I wanted to add more flour to these since they seemed a bit insubstantial for my taste. This has not stopped me 'sampling' quite a few of them 'to see if I like them'. Rose notes that if you leave the dough in the fridge for a day or two it will make the biscuits thinner and crispier. I quite like doughier biscuits and I needed to finish baking these on the weekend so I baked them after a few hours of cooling. They were crunchy on the day I made them but after a night in the fridge had gone a bit soft. Unfortunately with the heat and the insects you can't leave chocolate biscuits out of the fridge here.
I was making the Bread Bible Challah recipe while I clarified the butter for these biscuits (you have to do something else at the same time because it takes sooooo long). I was feeling pretty smug about my browned butter since I'd been very patient and let it slowly clarify and brown. Then the bowl slipped out of my hand and I spilled the majority of the butter down the bench and all over the floor, my feet and the kitchen rug. Not only did I have to scavenge more butter out of the freezer (due to unusually low stocks of unsalted butter in my fridge) I had to clean greasy butter off the bench, the cupboards, the floor, my thongs*, my feet and the kitchen rug. The second lot of butter was less 'browned' than the first since my patience had worn a little thin.
*these are shoes in Australia not underwear just in case you were wondering about my choice of baking attire.
Look Mum, no walnuts! Why would you sully chocolate with nuts, I ask you? I added a few more chocolate chips to compensate. The lack of walnuts removed the guilt I might have felt had I used the walnuts and not bothered skinning them (an awful job which I just might consider undertaking if the Queen was coming to tea, or Rose, for that matter*).
*You're welcome for tea anytime Rose.
The finished biscuit dough could only be described as a blob. It seemed unlikely that it would allow itself to be turned into biscuits. However I have seen the Miracle of the Fridge before, where mixes and doughs become something entirely different after a spell in the cold. One thing about cooking with Rose is that she pretty much never leads you astray; so when things are looking doubtful the possibilities are either a) it's going to turn out all right or b) you've mucked it up yourself (and need to take evasive action). I didn't think I'd made any mistakes this time so I wrapped up the blob and put it in the fridge not too worried about its future.
And hallelujah! little biscuits emerged from the blob. I cooked them for the full 12 minutes but I'm wondering if I could have baked them for a bit longer to maintain the crunch past day 1. I didn't have any complaints at work so I think you could call them a success.
Next week is a rest week for the Alpha Bakers (phew!). But if I'm feeling enthusiastic on the weekend I might try to catch up on the Renee Fleming Golden Chiffon cake which I missed out on making just before Christmas.