Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Chocolate Sambuca Crinkle Cookies (Page 671)


  • Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008 -- 10pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

This was yet another recipe in the series of anise-flavored cookies in The Book. There are a few culinary techniques that The Book is pretty exited about. One: deep-frying. Two: Caramel. Three: Adding anise. Ok, maybe that last one isn't really a "technique" but nonetheless, The Book is seriously pro-anise. Now, I am seriously pro-deep-frying, and also pro-caramel, but anise? Not so much. So I see "1/2 cup sambuca or other anise-flavored liqueur" in the ingredients list for a batch of cookies and I put off making them for two and half years, even though "12 ounces good bittersweet chocolate" is also on the ingredients list. But the time has come when beggars can't be choosers -- the cookie choices are running low, and desperate times call for anise-flavored cookies.

So how were they? Well, imagine a piece of black licorice dipped in chocolate. It pretty much tasted like that. If that sounds good to you, more power to you. If it doesn't, I'm with you on that one. The thing that was deeply sad about these cookies is that aside from the licorice flavor, they were awesome. The texture was perfect: soft on the inside, with a thin, slightly crunchy exterior. They were moist and chewy -- absolute perfection texture-wise. I tried (with minimal success) to mentally block out the licorice flavor, and what was left was also deliciously flavored. The cookies were rich and chocolatey, and the not-terribly-sweet interior was complemented perfectly by the powdered sugar coated exterior. Plus, they were pretty. So pretty in fact that I kept eating them, only to be disappointed over and over again by the anise. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with these cookies, going back again and again only to be hurt again and again. (To be fair, the relationship probably seemed abusive from the perspective of the cookies too, since I was eating them...) So would I make these again? Well, no. But would it be easy to make a delicious cookie from this recipe? Yes! My inclination would be to replace all the sambuca with kahlua, which seems bound to produce an amazing treat. Or Grand Marnier... Basically, pick your favorite liqueur, ask yourself, "Would this be good with chocolate?" If yes, throw it in instead of the sambuca. And if your favorite liqueur is sambuca, and you think that sounds good with chocolate, no doubt you will love this recipe as written!

Here is the recipe.


Magdalen said...

I love the idea of being in an abusive relationship with a food. Wait, that came out wrong! What I mean is, the concept perfectly captures that experience of eating something over and over again even though you don't like it. I often think I'm eating it up just to get rid of it.

And anyway, I hate anise too. I'll keep in mind to substitute some other liqueur if I make these cookies.

Jessica said...

I, too, hate anise. It's amazing how you find themes in cookbooks after you read through them the ten thousandth time.

Kahlua, Frangelica, Godiva, Bailey's, so many amazing choices that would be great in a chocolate cookie!

Teena said...

I am glad to have some fellow anise-haters on my side! I am trying to have an attitude adjustment about anise and embrace it, but even the smell makes my stomach turn. It's the only food smell that I am sensitive to in that way!

Anonymous said...

I made these with Kahlua because that's what I have on hand and they are fantastic. It's pure love and no abuse at all. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've noticed an unusual fondness for cranberries in The Book as well.

Teena said...

Anon: That's good to hear! I will definitely have to try them with Kahlua!

I too have noticed that The Book has a thing for cranberries. Luckily, I like cranberries quite a bit!

Anonymous said...

That was me, Caroline, there.

Now I am trying to remember if I made any other comments here.

Teena said...

Welcome Caroline!