Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pastry Class: Road Trip Cookies (Biscuits aux M&Ms)

A friend of mine recently left Paris to seek the greener pastures of food tourism (or I should say to go study those greener pastures). Amongst other impacts, this left an empty spot at the Centre Vercingétorix where she taught pastry class on Saturdays. Whereas I'd have preferred that she stayed in Paris, if she had to leave and if her old job needed to be filled, I was glad she offered my name as her replacement.

Now it's my turn to teach pastry class at the Centre Vercingétorix in the 14th arrondissement. There are 12 students. They simply want to learn more about making pastries, desserts and sweets things. It's nothing high strung - nothing requiring students to be's a community center offering classes to residents of the city. Key words here include pastry. I like those words!

For last week's class, I opted for a simple & manageable idea: cookies. We are, after all, still getting acclimated to the kitchen, its limited amenities & to each other! The class was divided into three groups, each with a different recipe in hand (two American & one French). See if you can pick out the French cookie (!) - the choices are: chocolate chip, sablé chocolat, and Road Trip Cookies. Gee I wonder...

Everyone in the class liked all three recipes, but it was unanimous - the favorite was the Road Trip cookie, which I'm loosely translating to Biscuits aux M&Ms....or Biscuits de la route, if you prefer! Because of its popularity that day, I thought it would be a good recipe to post. Hope you like it.

Adapted from the Cookbook: Death by Chocolate - Cookies
Author: Marcel Desaulniers (Despite the rather french sounding name, he is an American chef and part-owner of The Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia).

Ingredients - for 55 small cookies

chocolate bar, (64% cocoa minimum) 170 g
flour (2 ½ cups) 340 g
baking soda (1 tsp) 6 g
salt ( ½ tsp) 6 g
granulated sugar (¾ cup) 160 g
dark brown sugar (¾ cup) 160 g
butter, room temp (¼ lb) 115 g
eggs (jumbo) 2
vanilla extract (2 tsp) 15 g
Peanut M&Ms* 200 g

1st step. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie**. Set aside.

2nd step. Weigh out the flour, baking soda & salt. Sift them & set aside.

3rd step. Weigh the sugars (granulated & brown) and the butter in a big bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add the vanill & the melted chocolate & stir to incorporate.

4th step. Add the dry ingredients (from the 2nd step) to the wet ingredients (of the 3rd step) and stir with a wooden spoon. Form the dough into balls and let rest in the fridge at least 30 minutes.

5th step. Cook the cookies in a pre-heated oven at 175°C for 11 - 13 minutes on prepared cookie sheets (with parchment paper, Silpat or greased). Remove to cooling rack.

* the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cup of peanut M&Ms. I used only a cup, or about 200g. I thought it was plenty of peanut, but feel free to add more than my suggested amount!
** bain marie = pan of simmering water over which you place a bowl for melting the chocolate. The water should not boil. The choclate melts faster when broken into pieces first.




Guillemette said...

I haven't seen those green pastures yet, but I'm studying them closely, that's for sure!
Glad to see you enjoy this new experience; these cookies look yummie!

girlcookinparis said...

Salut! Good luck with all the studying....I know it's not easy to leave the kitchen behind! Someday you'll be able to combine it all into something great! Let me know if you ever try making these cookies. Yes, they are très miam! :)

Jane said...

Yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I'll try this myself. You're good! Good luck on all your endeavors. By the way, I found a fantastic Paris adventure that might interest you too. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

girlcookinparis said...

Hi Jane, Thanks for your message & you'll have to let me know how you like them! Also, THANKS for the link. I checked it out. Very interesting! Happy Sunday! diane