J and I went out to breakfast last Friday morning. For as long as we have lived in Seattle we haven't ever made the trek to Cafe Besalu and after eating there this morning I can't believe we have missed this place. I have read people's ravings over their croissants and everything else that Chef James Miller bakes. He was nominated in 2008 and 2010 by the James Beard Foundation for Best Pastry Chef. After tasting his pastries this morning he should have won both times. I don't have enough adjectives to describe the lightness, the butteryness, the crunch and the absolutely incredible flavor of his pastries. It's probably a good thing that I don't live in Ballard or else I would be eating croissants and pain au chocolate all day every day from Cafe Besalu.
Hazelnut Twist from Cafe BesaluI've been working on my croissant and pain au chocolate recipes and techniques for some time now and if I can create a pastry half as good as Chef Miller's I will count myself successful. Are you wondering why I've been working on my techniques ? No ? Yes ? Well remember back on Valentine's Day I posted this horoscope:
Creative projects that you may have been working on for a while could prove especially ego boosting, Cancer. You're doing a great job. A change of employment and increase in income may be in the works. If you don't feel passionate about what you're doing, expect the chance to become involved in an enterprise that you do feel strongly about. New ideas and opportunities could change your life.
It's time for that change of employment and time to feel passionate about what I am doing. I have given my notice at the reservation office and sometime mid-May I will be the pastry chef for Taya Parker Pastries in Issaquah , WA. It's a brand new bakery with a target opening date of May 16th. Do you know how excited I am ? You can't even imagine-I'm still pinching myself. I wake up in the middle of the night with recipes running through my head along with a zillion other things. Jennifer the owner who has hired me is going to be a wonderful boss. The most positive person I have ever met with nothing but success on her mind and a fabulous can do attitude. I'm honored that she has the faith in me to make her business a success. So stay tuned for our menu and opening date.
Needless to say besides croissants and pain Au chocolate I have been testing and working on recipes for all kinds of goodies. I've been experimenting with my chocolate chip cookie recipe and stumbled across an old post on Smitten Kitchen regarding favorite chocolate chip cookies. I cannot believe I have not tried this recipe. They are crisp on the outside, all caramel flavored around the edges and all soft and chewy in the center-the best way for a chocolate chip cookie to be. I had to send the platter in to J's office or else I would have sat there and finished off every single cookie.
Both of us kept sneaking into the kitchen and taking another cookie off the platter,telling each other that it was the last one but we couldn't stop. They are addictive and I will never use another recipe for chocolate chip cookies. David Lebovitz you are my hero-thank you for The Great Book of Chocolate and thank you for this delectable cookie.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
from The Great Book of Chocolate
by David Lebovitz
Makes 20 cookies, or more if you use a small cookie scoop. I doubled the recipe and got about 3 -4 doz medium size cookies.
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt or 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (Deb option)
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (130 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
***Refrigerate the completed dough for 24-48hrs before baking. It allows the flavors to develop and results in an even more delicious cookie. I lined a cake pan with parchment paper, scooped and leveled out the dough into the pan and covered everything tightly with plastic wrap. It was easy to dip and scoop from the pan when I was ready to bake the cookies.
Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.
Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (5cm) balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days-trust me they won't last 3 days.