Gluten Free Beacon Hill Cookies

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beacon Hill Cookies
Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, home to such notable Americans as Louisa May Alcott, authoress of Little Women, the poets Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath and politicians John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and the actress Uma Thurman. For decades, Beacon Hill has showered greatness in the world in the form of dynamic individuals. Not to be ignored, however, is a little-known dessert hailing from that metropolis of culture and history, a tiny beacon that packs a delectable punch, the Beacon Hill Cookie.

Unlike most other cookies, the BHC cooks in just 10 minutes, which, in the cookie-world is instant gratification. Even better it is whipped up from ingredients that already occupy our kitchens. All you need is chocolate, egg whites, sugar, cocoa powder and nuts (if you're so obliged). The meringue-based center of this cookie makes it super rich and chewy, a naughty treat in the middle of so much chocolate! The basic flavors in this cookie mean that you can make however many substitutes needed to created your perfect beacon.

I am preparing to go out of town for a week and am scrounging to use up ingredients from my fridge that won't keep while I'm away. A recent purchaser of Jaros and Beer's Waste Not Want Not, I have become leftover savvy and am attempting to minimize the number of ingredients I throw away. With three spare eggs in my fridge and an already opened chocolate bar, I decided to try the Beacon Hill Cookies.

I used the richest dark chocolate you can imagine. A chocolate bar that boasted of being 70% cocoa. Which means Bitter! with a capital B.

Here's my method:

To get started I broke the chocolate to make it easier to melt and melted it over a bain-marie. While this was melting, I used an electric blender/whisk to whisk two eggs whites to form the base of a meringue. Carrying on in the traditional meringue sense, I folded in my sugar. Once the chocolate was melted, I mixed in about two ounces of cocoa powder. Then, I added a spoonful of meringue to the chocolate pot and used the electric whisk/mixer to get things going. From there, I folded in the rest of the meringue and added in my nuts. I used walnuts as that's what I had on hand. I spooned the mixture onto a cookie sheet and baked in a medium-to-high-heat oven for about 10 minutes.

Lots of Beacon Hill Cookie recipes call for the use of cream of tartar, but I didn't have any on hand, so I just went without and they turned out fine. I think in the future, I will use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, though. I have an inkling that this recipe (with some modifications) would make an excellent chocolate souffle. I might have a go at that as well.

I forgot to take pictures during the process and these cookies now are a day old and have been placed into a Tupperware container to keep, so they've lost a bit of their shape, but none of their flavor!

A few tips:
1. When making your meringue, don't feel obliged to buy caster or super fine sugar. Simply pour the required amount of sugar into a blender and pulse until the sugar is slightly powdery and finer. This literally takes two seconds.
2. Although most Beacon Hill Cookie recipes call for hazelnuts, use whatever nut you prefer to have with chocolate instead. The nuts do a good job of cutting down on the sharpness of the chocolate, especially if you use super dark chocolate.
3. No cocoa powder? Don't fret. Open up a packet of hot cocoa and experiment with that!

Before I go, I'm going to be taking a week long hiatus from the blog as I'll be on holiday in Spain. I will return, though!

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