Friday, March 15, 2019

The Temescal

Did I mention in my last post that I'm coming up with new cookie recipes at a rate of one per month right now because I donated a six-month subscription to my kids' school fundraiser back in November? It's provided pretty good motivation to keep going and there are no shortage of Oakland neighborhoods from which to draw inspiration!

Without further delay, here is the 7th cookie in this project, The Temescal: an Ethiopian-spiced, Stracciatella-style Chocolate Chip Cookie, inspired by what was once a predominantly Italian-American community until the late 1960s (not unlike neighboring Rockridge, which I'll get to next) combined with its more recent concentrations of Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants and restaurants.

First, to make ras el hanout combine 1 teaspoon each cumin, ground ginger, and salt with 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, coriander, allspice, and cloves, plus 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, cardamom, turmeric, and black pepper (you can store the leftover spice blend in airtight container at room temperature for up to one month).

Now that you have the Ethiopian spice blend on hand, you can get to baking!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ras el hanout (see above - feel free to use more if you prefer a spicier cookie!)
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
1 oz (2 tbsp) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup shaved dark chocolate (or you can use a food processor like I did)

Preheat oven to 360F/180C and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Whisk sifted flour, salt, baking soda, and ras el hanout together in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and fold until just combined, then add the shaved chocolate and fold until just incorporated.

Place heaping tablespoons of dough (or use a #40 cookie scoop) onto the sheet, leaving a little space between. Bake for about 12 minutes until starting to brown at edges. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe makes about two dozen cookies - enjoy a couple with a cup of turmeric tea!

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