This last month was a complete blur, beginning with packing up our house and moving. On moving day I slipped out to attend a Jam Party hosted by the lovely Azmina, attended by Lisa, Stephanie, Jean, and Liren. We had such a great time and made so many tasty jams, and it was probably a great thing I was there and not at my house with the movers because they brought too small of a truck and ended up leaving part of my belongings behind. We have decided that the bad luck that is following us around is Rusty and I will have to elaborate more on what I plan on doing about that later.
In the midst of the chaos, I was asked by a friend who owns a local orchard to start supplying them with jams for sale. I made 40 jars for him and they were gone in no time, so in the spring I will start again, and I'm thinking that is going to keep me pretty busy.
This month ended on a good note though, I dropped my daughter off this morning for her first day of high school. It's been a much harder road with her than my older daughter, keeping her on the right path and steering her towards choices that will make her successful later in life. But then again, I'm pretty sure it said nowhere in the parenting handbook that this was going to be an easy job.
One of the people who couldn't make it to the party was Patty, she has become a dear friend to me and while I was missing her I recalled the Speculoo Cookies with Nutella she gave me at Christmas time. Spicy, crunchy and just try and stop yourself at one. I was thinking of her when I wrote this recipe.
Speculoos Cookies - A'la Patty
1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Flake sea salt
6 ounces dark chocolate
Combine the cookie butter and shortening in the bowl of a mixer, mix for a few seconds until combined. Add the egg, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and mix until combined.
Make balls with the dough using a rounded teaspoon full of dough. Place the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar into a small bowl and roll the balls into the sugar and place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. I like to put one dozen per cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes. Cut a large bar of dark chocolate into small chunks, enough for each cookie. Add a chunk of dark chocolate to the top of each cookie and press down a bit. Return to the oven and cook for 3 more minutes.
When you remove the cookies from the oven sprinkle each one with a scant amount of sea salt. 5 or 6 pieces per cookie. Let cookies cool on a rack. You can omit the salt, but for me my favorite part of a chocolate chip cookie is when I get a hit of salt in a bite.
Makes 24-30 cookies, depending on the size of them.