Successful Stampede party last night, which the dishwasher is still working on the last remains of. I’m sure the house won’t be back in order yet (which suggests it ever was) by the time we leave for Tofino next weekend, but we may make enough from bottle returns to pay for our trip. Luckily, last week I was the big winner of the CBC beer pool – every summer, everyone who wants to play brings in a 6-pack of interesting beer. I went home with 23 of them. It was a Stampede miracle.
We paid homage to the midway with homemade corn dogs, mini donuts and churros, and added something new to the menu: taco in a bag. This was last year’s midway newbie – a bag of zesty cheese Doritos, cut open in the front as if it were one of those mini boxes of cereal you used to take camping when you were a kid, and topped with a spoonful of seasoned ground beef (I sautéed mine with onions, garlic, chili powder and cumin), some neon cheese sauce (Mike talked me into letting him buy a 1 kg jar of Whiz, which we microwaved, and I must admit it worked perfectly – taco in a bag doesn’t have the same gross-out factor made with homemade cheese sauce started with a roux), shredded lettuce, salsa and sour cream. You then eat it however you can manage – with a fork, your fingers; towards the end of the night I saw someone close up the bag, mash it up with his hands and then upend the contents into his mouth.
We plowed through 48 tacos in a bag (although I suspect some of the kids were just eating the chips), somewhere in the vicinity of 70 corn dogs (they were gone before 8pm) and double batches of churros and mini donuts, doused in buckets of cinnamon sugar. And as I was calculating just how many people might show up (and remembering how warm mini donuts have in the past been received like a swarm of locusts, I made a quick batch of World Peace Cookies, which I had needed an excuse to make; plus, logs of dark chocolate dough in the fridge ready to pull out, slice and bake and serve warm while people milled about seemed like a really good idea. We went through all three, obviously, except for a small stump of one I found in the fridge this morning, which after coming home from the Stampede I sliced, baked and devoured warm on the couch.
(Dinner itself was roasted chick peas with garlic and chard. I love that stuff. Mike does too – so much so that he suggested we choose a night of the week and actually implement RCPWG&C night, like meatloaf night. Are we getting old?) Here is the original recipe – I have since streamlined it to just roasting a rinsed, drained 19 oz. can of chick peas in my cast iron skillet with lots of olive oil and whole cloves of garlic at 450°F until golden, then tearing up most of a large bunch of chard, ribs removed, and adding it to the pan on the stovetop with salt and pepper. Add a splash of liquid if you like, lid it for about 10 minutes to help it wilt. So much better than the sum of its parts.
Honestly, these very nearly brought tears to my eyes; I highly recommend making them for anyone who needs cheering up or impressing. I don’t know the origins of the recipe’s name, but I was certainly at peace, until there came to be only one left and I got all panicky that they were almost gone and I might not have them again for awhile. So I plotted taking a stash of dough to Tofino, which would be a very bad idea considering my past record of cookie dough consumption during late-night games of Scrabble.
World Peace/Korova Cookies
Not quite as heavy as shortbread, with the texture of a sable and flavour of a brownie (I brought out my Bernard Callebaut cocoa for this one); adapted from Paris Sweets, by Dorie Greenspan, by way of SmittenKitchen
I doubled the recipe because it’s exactly the same amount of work to mix up twice the amount of dough, and why wouldn’t you when it gets shaped into logs and shuffled into the fridge to slice and bake later anyway? You never know when you’re going to need to pull out the troops to help settle the unrest.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. fine salt or fleur de sel
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups good-quality chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars for a few minutes, until nice and light. Add the salt and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes more.
Add the flour mixture and stir by hand or beat on low speed just until it starts to come together; add the chocolate and stir or beat just until everything is incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto the counter, gather it into a ball or rough log, and divide it into three pieces. Shape each piece into a log that’s roughly 1 1/2 iinches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or freeze for up to 4 months. (You don’t even need to defrost it before baking — just slice frozen logs and bake as you normally would.)
Place a rack in middle of the oven and preheat it to 325°F. Cut the logs into 1/2″ slices with a sharp knife (if they crack, just squeeze them back together) and arrange onto a baking sheet (no need to spray or line it), spacing them about an inch apart.
Bake for 12 minutes – they won’t be firm, and it will be hard to tell if they’re done, because they’re so dark. Don’t sweat it. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack. Eat warm, or cool completely.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.
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