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This Little Piggy Went to a Cookie... "Haute-meal Cookies" (with Bacon!) & a Review of Michel Richard's "Sweet Magic"

Posted Dec 10 2010 3:32am
Michel Richard, the owner/chef of Cironelle and Central Michael Richard in Washington, D.C. began his career in the pastry kitchen before switching gears to award-winning chef. In " Sweet Magic: Easy Recipes for Delectable Desserts ", he journeys back to his first love, desserts. "Sweet Magic" explores the world of flour and butter, as well as shares the author's insights and experiences with memories and anecdotes about each of the delicious-sounding recipes. There are 50 recipes to choose from in the book, including Mulled Cider and Rum Risotto, Apricot Chocolate Layer Cake, Triple-Chocolate Flourless Christmas Log, Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, Baked Doughnuts, and Almond Macadamia Brownies with Chocolate Nutella Glaze.


I enjoyed the recipe anecdotes and stories--I like cookbooks that tell you something about the recipe you are going to make. I also liked the illustrations in the book--done by the multi-talented Richard. I would however have loved some photos of at least some of the completed desserts in the book because when you have such a talented pastry artist sharing recipes, you want to see his work beyond drawings. Overall, it is an enjoyable book and good for any baker, dessert lover or foodie who wants guidance from an expert.


To "road test" this book, I chose the recipe that first caught my eye, his "Haute-meal Cookies." I love sweet/salty combinations and the fact that these cookies contained bacon sold me on them.

Richard says, "Peter Kaminsky, who wrote a whole book about pigs, believes that there is nothing in the world that can't be improved with a little bacon. Recently he came back from a visit with some fishermen and chefs in South Carolina. He told me about a wonderful chef named Jeremiah Bacon, who made ice cream with bacon. I thought Peter was joking--but he never jokes about bacon. "Michel, bacon has a sweet, salty, funky taste. A 'grand chef' (which is how he always refers to me) could become a cookie immortal if he created a bacon cookie." I accepted the challenge, and in solving it, I believe I finally succeeded in my own long search for a new kind of oatmeal cookie."

Haute-meal Cookies
"Sweet Magic" by Michel Richard
(Makes 24 Cookies)

1 stick plus 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, dark
1 egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 strips bacon, cooked until just crisp, patted dry, and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup pecans, roasted and coarsely chopped
flaky sea salt (fleur de sel, optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and cream and mix until well incorporated. Add the oats, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, bacon, and pecans and continue mixing just until blended. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill it for at least 1 hour (longer is fine too).

Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment. With a small scoop or spoon, form 1 1/2-inch balls and place them in staggered rows on the sheet, as the cookies will spread when they bake. Top each cookie with a tiny pinch of flaky salt (or skip this if you don't have any--they will still be delicious). Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, until slightly golden brown around the edges. Cool them for a few minutes in the an before transferring them to a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Notes/Results: These cookies could easily become addictive. They are a nice mixture of the sweet from the brown sugar and vanilla, the crunch of chopped toasted pecans, and of course the salty little hits of bacon within and the flakes of fleur del sel on top. The combination really works. The recipe was easy and I only have one complaint--the part about the dough chilling for one hour before baking should be moved up to the beginning of the recipe or highlighted. Granted I am a notorious recipe skimmer, but if the first step of a recipe says to preheat the oven, I am expecting to pop the cookies into it right after I mix them up. Because I had plans and didn't have time to wait, I ended up chilling the dough overnight and baking them the next day, which worked fine, once I got the dough back to room temperature. I did have to press down the cookies to flatten them out slightly, as my first batch in the oven did not spread at all, but the taste and texture were good. Flattened out and made thinner, they were even better. I did want to experiment with adding a bit of chocolate so I took the last bit of dough and threw in some chocolate chips and baked a few up. Even better--I was afraid it would be over-kill but the chocolate added another dimension. I will make these again (actually next week for a holiday cookie exchange) with the added chocolate. ;-)


******Reminders: Giveaway & Iron Foodie 2010 Votes*******

Speaking of cookies, don't forget to enter my Tate's Bake Shop Giveaway to win a copy of the "Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook" and an assortment of 3 of their most popular cookies--Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, and White Chocolate Macadamia. Find the entry details here and enter by Sunday in order to win!

Also, and I plan to only bug you subtly at the end of posts, ;-) but if you haven't yet voted for a Marx Foods/Foodie BlogRoll Iron Foodie 2010 entry, I would love it if you would go to the poll at Marx Foods here and give my Two Pepper Seared Ahi with Avocado-Dulse Yogurt Sauce, Porcini-Dulse Brown Rice & Smoky Lotus Chips a vote. It's really easy to do--just a click next to Kahakai Kitchen. Mahalo for your support!

Happy Aloha Friday!
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