Foodiva's Kitchen: #BakeTogether - Spiced Up and Stormy #Irene Double Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cookies

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#BakeTogether - Spiced Up and Stormy #Irene Double Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cookies

Stop with the labels, we are not jam jars.
~ Caroline Casey

For those who were affected by Hurricane Irene a mere fortnight or so ago, it will be a while before they shall be able to forget the image below and the limitless power of Mother Nature. Despite humankind's incredible intelligence and technological prowess, something like this reminds us all of how helpless we are when pitted against such powerful forces of nature.

Swirly clouds of Hurricane Irene
Source: Wikipedia

And so it came to be that for this month's #BakeTogether with Abby Dodge, we are invited to make cookies to commemorate the visit of tempestuous Irene. Abby herself was affected when the hurricane's perilous path left her area without any power and impacted her community in many other ways. 

Abby being Abby, she created a rather special recipe and called it #Irene Double Chocolate Mousse Cookie. One look at her photos had me drooling...the cookies were loaded, no, overloaded with chocolatey goodness! Of course, we are given leeway to play around with her recipe and make the cookies uniquely ours.

My secret ingredients - all spice and white chocolate chunks

As you can see, my version of the #Irene cookies look similar to Abby's yet they are differences. We have the same 'eye-of-the-storm' chocolate filling in the middle but while Abby's cookies are all chocolate, my cookies are two-toned with a swirly pattern mimicking the hurricane clouds. I also added all-spice powder and substituted Nutella for the bittersweet chocolate in the cookie dough, and these provided deliciously interesting notes to the cookies. 

Instead of drizzling melted white chocolate on top of the baked cookies as per Abby's, I decided to sprinkle little cubes of white chocolate just before the dough went into the oven. The cubes sunk slightly into the dough, but I liked that effect, imagining the white chocolate bits as nations underneath the hurricane as it passed over them. If it's tough being reminded of Irene in this way, just remember, this is just a harmless cookie. And forgive me too, for my imagination does get the better of me sometimes :-\.

Mini-Irenes, waiting for their you.

I guess I shouldn't underestimate the human capacity to thrive after aversive, traumatizing events. Look at what happened after 9-11 (gosh, 10 years ago this weekend!), after the global financial crisis, after the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the hurricanes, the fires, the deaths.... life went on. Human resilience is such an amazing thing, and this video I'm about to share with you demonstrates the immense strength and capacity (not to mention dogged stubbornness) of the human spirit. Enjoy Caroline Casey's inspiring talk, "Looking Past Limits".

This post is also linked to Full Plate Thursday.

Spiced Up and Stormy #Irene Double Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cookies
(Adapted from Abby Dodge’s #BakeTogether)
Makes about 3 dozen 2-inch cookies.

Chocolate cookies
1 1/3 cups (170g/6oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon all spice powder**
8 tablespoons (113g/4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar*
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract*
2 1/2 tablespoons (43g/1 1/2oz) Nutella**
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted*
50g white chocolate, cut into small, 1/2cm cubes**

* original amounts altered
**New addition

Bittersweet chocolate filling
85g (3oz) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons (57g/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line 2 or more cookie sheets with parchment or non-stick baking liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and all-spice. Whisk until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until well blended, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and the beater.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing until blended after each addition. Add the vanilla along with the last egg. Continue mixing on medium until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the mixture is well blended, about 1 minute. Divide the batter into 2 equal portions.
5. To one portion, add the Nutella and cocoa powder, mix until just blended, about 30 seconds. Leave the second portion plain.
6. Take a teaspoon of each batter and place on the baking sheet, either side by side or on top of each other. Using a toothpick or a skewer, swirl the two doughs together in concentric circles. Arrange cookie dough about 1 1/2 inches apart on the sheets, as they will expand considerably in the oven. Sprinkle about 3 pieces of white chocolate cubes on top of dough, pressing in slightly. Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes.
7. When the cookies are just out from the oven, make a small, deep well in the center of the cookies using the rounded side of a 1/2 teaspoon measure. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
8. In the meantime, melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave or in a medium melt bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool and slightly thickened.
9. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measure, fill the dent in the cookies with the chocolate filling and serve immediately or cover and keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month before filling and serving.

Desserts, Cookies, Chocolate


Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I love how you took Irene to heart and made these look like the storm from above. So very clever you are!

That little kick of spice? Nice!

Foodiva said...

Thank you, Barb. Swirled cookies are hardly original but for Irene, they were completely appropriate! Ooh, the all spice was the 'everything nice' about this cookie :-).

Three-Cookies said...

These cookies are crazy! Spiced, swirled and then topped with ganache. The next step would be to sandwich with some luscious filling, then add to your red velvet ice cream:)

Lilly said...

Maya seems like you need some help eating these cookies!

Erin said...

You had me at Nutella.....delicious! And these look so cool!

Tina said...

I really like this post: the video was inspiring, the swirled cookie's appearance is perfectly related to the storm and you used some of my favorite flavors to make this cookie. Buzz buzz!

Foodiva said...

Three Cookies, OMG, you have just gone two steps further with your amazing suggestions! This is why I need brilliant friends like you around :-).

Foodiva said...

Yes Lilly, can YOU please help me? I know you want to! LOL.

Foodiva said...

Erin, Nutella solves everything bad in the world, don't you agree? ;-)

Foodiva said...

Tina, thanks for the buzz love. These cookies look and taste great, and I'm glad you found the video inspiring too. I never tire of watching things like that over and over again because it reminds me how vulnerable we all are, but oh, how great it is to be human and always be true to yourself!

PFx said...

Oh I see what you did there! The swirling effect to represent the hurricane. ;P Hahaha. Just to prove how resilient we are huh?
Just where about do you get your awesome bits of words from? I love it! Seemingly to intermittently colour my days.

Foodiva said...

Pierre, yes resilience. You and your hungry heart must know what that's like, right? ;-). So glad you enjoyed the post, the words and the video - it all comes from here (pointing at chest - what's inside, not on it). Btw, the cookies weren't too bad either...haha!

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely swirls and colour Maya

Foodiva said...

Thank you so much, Akheela!

Anonymous said...

How are you my foodie friend? What is the world coming too? Are we in the midst of some type of new revolution, global warming?

Anonymous said...

These look sinful! Great post!

Lisa~~ said...

Nutella & allspice sounds like a winning combo. The cookies really do look like the storm, very creative and fun.

Cook Lisa Cook

Sandra said...

Awesome combination of flavors and spices..Love how you got inspired with latest storm..these look beautiful, and very delicious!!!

Anonymous said...

Okay - these are cool! Unfortunately, I'm allergic to allspice, so I'd have to run away from them like I would have it Irene hit Florida!

...but I wish I could have some!

Christine's Pantry said...

Great post. Love it.

Von said...

I LOVE how you guys made cookies to commemorate the storm- such a creative idea! The cookies look delicious too- I love nutella!

Lizzy said...

Your Irene cookies are fabulous!!! Your artistic talent always has me awestruck...just beautiful as well as delicious!!!

Aarthi said...

That looks really delicious...Yummy...I would love to try this..


Roxana GreenGirl said...

being affected by the hurricane I know it's going to be a while until I forget that image. What a wonderful idea, wish I was home to bake for of these two tone cookies!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Very creative :)

Baker Street said...

Lovely combination of flavors. Love how you incorporated Irene and made your cookies look like that. Well Done.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Another creative recipe and delicious cookies Maya! Nice swirls on cookies!

Anonymous said...

What beautiful cookies! They really do look like the eye of a hurricane. I'm so glad I found your blog, so many great posts!!!!

Foodiva said...

Thanks everyone, for all your awesome comments. I've been quite busy but will catch up with your blogs soon!

Miz Helen said...

Those cookies are just beautiful and they look so delicious! I can't wait to try your recipe, yummy.Hope you will have a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Foodiva said...

Miz Helen, it's been my great pleasure. I've also enjoyed all the other contributions!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Irene cookies! Love love love the swirly hurricane clouds. This is a much better way to envision the storm, streaked with Nutella and allspice... Kind of like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (or cookies). That melted chocolate center has got me drooling already!

Elsa said...

Yum!! I have ALL of the ingredients but not the white chocolate!! :-/ I'll have to pick some up next time I go shopping. My husband will especially love this recipe since he adores nutella.

Miz Helen said...

Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your Red Plate.
Miz Helen

Kudos Kitchen said...

Oh wow! Love your creative take on the hurricane theme. Your cookies look yummy and the addition of allspice is very intriguing!
BTW, your blog header is so cute! If you ever want a ceramic trivet or wine glass hand painted with your design, please contact me. It would be adorable!

Muffin Tin said...

Really like the swirl effect you created with the cookies. Nutella is always a winning choice.

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