Like lots of folks, the longer this quarantining lasts, the more I’m missing my friends. I still love some aspects of being at home (mostly related to sleeping more and not packing a lunch every day). But, I really miss my people.
Last weekend 6 of us – three couples – enacted a plan that was weeks in the making. We decided to have a virtual wine tasting, just like the ones my pal Stephanie used to hold at her house. Stephanie picked up (and portioned out) the wines, and I made foods to pair. At a set time, Stephanie came by to drop off 2 sets of wines, and picked up her bag of food. I took one set of wine, and then, the other couple stopped by to pick up their portion of food and wine (we’ll rotate responsibilities in the future, so one couple will always have “off”).
Then, two hours later, we all met up on Zoom, drank wine, enjoyed food, and caught up. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. It was the closest to feeling like I was actually with my friends in forever, I think in part because we were having some of the same experiences (food and wine), at the same time (almost like being together for reals!). We also got a bit boozy and that was pretty fun too. For more details on what we tasted, check out Stephanie’s blog, My Wine Tribe!
Since we were tasting “comfort” wines (big reds like Zinfandel and Cabs), I made a menu to pair – spicy mixed nuts; beets and blue cheese salad; a mushroom galette; and these Tiny, Salty, Chocolatey Cookies. The recipe comes from my #1 Quarantine Distraction Technique: spending time in the kitchen with this cookbook (I’ve made many a delicious recipe, for folks who are interested!)
As the name of the cookie notes, the cookies are deeply chocolatey, lightly sweet with a hint of salt. Quick to bake, the brown butter gives the cookies a rich depth, and a perfect end to a meal.
As I mentioned earlier, our house was the pick up/drop off point for the food and wine. There was a magical moment where all three couples (minus one husband) were standing outside, at the same time, many feet apart from one another. It was the most in-person time I’ve had with my friends in for what feels like forever, and it was a dream (I got a little sweaty, I was so excited).
Here’s us, thrilled be nearby one another (I’m in the apron, obviously):
Also, here’s the food, all set up in our living room:
And here we all are, *almost* together:
I don’t have a photos of us eating the Tiny, Salty Chocolatey Cookies, but promise they were met with rave reviews!
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 67% cacao), chopped
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat, swirling, until starting to foam and brown, 3 to 4 minutes (which the butter from time to time so that the solids don’t stick to the bottom of the pot). Let cool.
Whisk (or sift) the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl, ridding it of as many lumps as possible.
Using a spatula, mix in the egg whites, whole egg, and browned butter, stirring until you’ve got a good, smooth-ish mixture (and small lumps will take care of themselves), followed by the chocolate and any nuts you may want to add.
Using a spoon, drop quarter-sized blobs of dough (the texture is somewhere between a dough and a batter), spacing about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet (they spread a lot). Sprinkle with flaky salt and bake until the cookies have flattened considerably and look baked through and a little wrinkled, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool before eating so they can firm up.
Strudel and Streusel are two friends living in different cities, sharing a love of baking (and butter) through this blog. With Streusel in Denver, and Strudel in Seattle, we've found our little site to be a great way to stay in touch, share recipes we love, and talk about experiences in our respective cities.