I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dance for Your Dessert

Have you ever been karaoking? If not, add it to your to-do list and check it off as soon as you can, because it is simply awesome. Grab a group of friends who don't mind making a fool of themselves and can't sing [if they do know how to sing, it's fine, but it's always more fun when they are tone-deaf so you can point and laugh at their stentorian off-key voice]. And bust out the cheesy music.

This is exactly what my committee and I did a couple weeks ago. And not only did we get in touch with our inner 90s, but we also upped the fun factor by being slightly under the influence.

But only slightly.

The night played out with mass singing, screaming, dancing on the table and television stand [true story], and a midnight run to Safeway for a gallon of milk, 4 boxes of cereal, and 5 packs of gum, all of which got open and consumed.

But I came prepared for my gargantuan appetite with these cookies I call drunchie crunchies. A simple snack made with almonds and chocolate, they are delicious, especially after a good night out.

The best thing about these cookies is that when they warm, the insides taste like pudding, and the nuts are filling without being overly so. You can substitute in any type of nuts if you don't like almonds; just make sure that you chop them up so that the cookies look prettier. I really want to add some sea salt to these next time to see if it brings out the chocolate more.

Because there is no flour in theses cookies, there is no gluten to hold them together. That means the cookies will expand like a balloon, so make sure that you don't have too many on one baking sheet. I ended up using three baking trays for one batch, but trust me, after singing 'A Whole New World' and dancing on top of television, the cleanup is worth it.

Drunchie Crunchies

3 cups / 11 oz / 310 g sliced almonds, toasted, cooled, and coursely chopped
4 cups / 1 lb / 453 g confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons / 2 oz / 60 g unsweetened cocoa powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 320F / 160C degrees and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the almonds, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 12 -15 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

Makes 18 large cookies.