And my super-duper all terrain buggy? It inches along bumpily along pavements in Mitte that have now been transformed into a veritable off-road environment.
So say by some through some extraordinary feat of planning, I’ve negotiated all these snow induced challenges and am ready to conquer the day…?
The sun sets half an hour after I finally make it out the door.
This is number two in the roll call. High maintenance biscuit this one. Not like the Anisplatzchen. Chocolate Shortbread Nuggets, they are called. Butter, cocoa, flour, rice flour and sugar (no eggs or liquid) dipped in chocolate. The method is simple, cut in the dry ingredients and bake. But cutting up the biscuits, drying them (twice) and then dipping them in chocolate takes the better part of one hour plus the 1 hour they baked. Don’t embark on this cookie journey without a timer! Trust me, you will forget about them at some point and chocolate cookies burn extra fast!
Oh and I saw a great film on DVD this weekend called The Visitor, I recommend it. I provided the link but the trailer shows you the whole movie in 1 minute and kind of stifles out all the magic. So just rent it, watch it and tell me what you think?
Chocolate Shortbread nuggets adapted from Carole Walter’s Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets
70g rice flour
60g Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sparkling white sugar
120g 70% chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Pre-heat oven to 150ºC and place the shelf in the center of the oven. Line a 22cm pan with heavy-duty tin foil, or two sheets of regular tin foil.
2. Sieve the flour, rice flour, cocoa and salt together three times. (Don’t skip this, you are adding air to the flour!)
3. Mix the butter in a stand mixture or with an electric hand mixer on medium-low until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar gradually and then mix for q minute longer, scraping the side of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
4. If using a small bowl, transfer to a larger wider bowl for ease of mixing and cut half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it is almost incorporated. Work in the remaining dry ingredients by hand, adding in five or six additions. All the flour does not have to be incorporated after each addition. Gently knead the mixture just until a smooth dough is formed. Be careful not to overwork the dough, as this will result in a tough cookie.
5. Press the dough into the pan. Be sure the dough is pushed into the corners and is even throughout.
6. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until set on top. Take out and let rest for 5 minutes. Using a dough scraper (or a wallpaper scraper, which is what I used), cut straight down through the dough at about 2.5 cm. Then turn the tray around and cut the dough at 5 cm intervals so you have small rectangles that you can eat in two bites.
7. Sprinkle the pan with sparkling white sugar (I just used some brown sugar with large crystals that I had in the cupboard). Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the tin foil with the biscuits onto a large baking sheet and spread out the biscuits. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes to crisp and dry the cookies.
9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
10. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and stir in the vegetable oil. While the cookies are still tepid, dip each cookie into the chocolate. Place on a cooling rack and allow to stand until the chocolate sets.
Can be stored in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks.