Clotilde’s Very Chocolate Cookie Recipe
I’m glad I’m not the only one around here who experiences what I call “Only in France” moments.
Recently I met up with Clotilde, who writes the popular Chocolate & Zucchini blog, for a drink one afternoon. I ordered a glass of wine and she, a mineral water. Although there was a large, unopened bottle of Badoit sparkling water standing prominently behind the bar, ripe for the taking, the serveuse told us they didn’t have any bottled water.
Of course, neither one of us questioned that. But when she left to fetch our drinks, we both looked at each other, wrinkled up our perplexed faces, then shrugged it off. It’s nice to know the locals find things as curious around here as I do.
Speaking of curious French things, if you’re a regular reader of Chocolate & Zucchini, you’re privy to her charming stories about her life in Paris accompanied by recipes. And you unless you’ve been hiding like a bottle of Badoit behind the bar, you’ve likely heard of her new book: Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.
Turning the pages and reading about her life in Montmarte is like spending the day with une vraie Parisienne, which seem to be an endless quest of finding the best markets and sourcing ingredients then taking them home and making them into fabulous dinners to share with friends and her lucky neighbors.
Before I met Clotilde, I was certain she was some burly truck-driver from Wisconsin pulling a fast one over on us all.
But when we met face-to-face, she was even more charming if that’s possible, than she is on her site. And when she handed me a galley of her book (a rough, pre-publication examplaire of her efforts) and asked me to write a quote, I was delighted to do so. When I got home, I parked myself on the couch and read it cover-to-cover. It was wonderful.
For anyone who’s skeptical about the direction of French cuisine among the next generation (and I’m not naming any names), Clotilde’s recipes are a refreshing breath of sensible air. Her cooking is seasonal, market-fresh and many of her takes on the French classics have just a bit of a personal twist that ushers them deliciously into the next generation.
There’s lots of recipes that I want to try, and not just the desserts. Aside from the Honey Financiers and her famously-simple Yogurt Cake, as soon as the weather gets cooler, I’m firing up the oven to make her beer-enriched Flemish Carbonades and the Lamb and Prune Meatballs using the super-plump and moist pruneaux d’Agen.
I wanted to make her Very Chocolate Cookies for the very longest of times, except I had, like, fourteen batches of chocolate cookie dough in the freezer leftover from some recipe testing I was doing and I didn’t want to launch another batch without using up what I had first.
But even I can’t resist the charms of a young French woman. And soon the temptation became too great; her darned book on my coffee table was staring at me night and day, saying “When are you going to make those Triple Chocolate Cookies?”
And really, who could resist the image of the dark-as-nuit chocolate cookie teetering on the edge of a cold glass of milk?
So I got out the chocolate and started chopping away.
*I asked Clotilde why she chose to use some whole-wheat flour in this recipe. Though she was busy polishing her Birkenstocks, she hitched up her draw-string pants and told me simply that she liked the flavor. Since I had some leftover from my No-Knead bread fiascos, I put it to use. I would imagine you could use 100% all-purpose flour.
** Chocolate extract is an interesting product which I was introduced to after I’d written my first book. I got a letter from Ben Katzenstein who attended the college as I did although we never met, and he mentioned his family had a company that made extracts, Star Kay White. So he offered to send me some samples. I fell in love with their chocolate extract, which is made by steeping cocoa beans in alcohol—it adds another chocolate-flavored dimension to baked goods and ice creams and I find myself adding half-capful or so to most chocolate things I make.