Friday, January 2, 2009

To Err is Human - The Mistake Divine!

Now that we are happily into the New Year, it's time to put away the soap box and get back to business. I thought we should start the New Year with some sweetness, so here is a recipe for a chocolate layer cookies that have now been named Melissa's Chocolate Clouds.

When I was in New Jersey with David, my dear friend Camille, let me go through her recipe box where I found a recipe for a chocolate layer cookie. I decided to make the cookies right before Christmas, and being in the usual rush that I always am, broke my own cardinal rule and didn't read through the recipe. When I went to find my 9 x 13-inch pan (having rearranged my closets a few weeks before) I couldn't find where I put it. I decided to use a pyrex baking pan but the dimensions were a little off. So, the recipe didn't go exactly as planned. In addition, when I copied the recipe, the original recipe stated to mix the ingredients for the filling in one bowl and the crust in another. It never said to melt the filling mix, but something didn't seem right to me, so I decided to go ahead and melt it first. The end result was a delicious cookie that happened by mistake.

My friend Lorraine and her daughter Melissa stopped by and I had them taste the cookie. Melissa said they were so delicious, it was a chocolate dream, a chocolate cloud, and so I renamed this version after Melissa.

So here is some advice for all the novice cooks and bakers out there, even the best chefs and most experienced cooks make their share of mistakes, and sometimes, something very delicious come out of it. Don't be afraid to try something, the worst that could happen is you throw it out and order a pizza, or stop at the bakery and buy a cake! Never let the thought of failure stand in your way!

So Melissa, this one's for you

Here is the recipe for Melissa's Chocolate Clouds:

Melissa’s Chocolate Clouds

Filling Ingredients:

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
1 (5 ounce can) evaporated milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1-teaspoon rum extract (I used brandy extract)

Crust ingredients:

3 cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1-teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter – softened
2 eggs

Combine all the filling ingredients except the walnuts in a medium saucepan and set aside.
Combine all the crust ingredients and gently mix to form a dough and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Over low to medium heat in the top of a double boiler if you have one, (if you don’t have a double boiler, you can do it in a saucepan, just stir constantly and watch carefully) melt all the ingredients for the filling together until it become a smooth mixture. Fold in the walnuts.
Press ½ of the crust into a 9 x 13-inch pan. Top with the filling mixture. Put the remaining crust mixture over the top of the filling. The first time I made these, I didn’t have the right size pan and ran a little short of crust mixture to completely cover the chocolate so I made if more like a crumb mixture and it was perfect. Everyone liked it better that way, so that’s how I make them now.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

What you will need for the Melissa's Chocolate Cloud Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the chocolate chip pieces, cream cheese,
evaporated milk (I held the extract here and
added it after I melted the chocolate, but you
can add it now if you want to, it won't make a
difference in the taste)
together is a medium size saucepan and set aside

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt,
unsalted butter, and eggs together in a bowl
(here is a hint if you forget to soften the
butter - use a cheese grater to grate the
butter in and it works just as well)

Press together to form a dough

Divide the dough in half

Press 1/2 of the dough into your pan,
I sprayed mine with PAM first

Melt the chocolate mix over the top of a
double boiler or very carefully in a
regular saucepan over low heat
if you don't have a
double boiler

Stir until the chocolate mix is well blended
but be careful not to over cook

Stir in the extract if you haven't already added it

Stir in the nuts

Blend the mixture well

Spread the chocolate over the crust layer

Take the remaining crust mixture
and place it over the chocolate
This is where I made my mistake -
for some reason, there wasn't enough
crust to cover, so I crumbled it on
and baked it anyway - it came out like a
crumb mixture

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown

Let cool thoroughly

Cut in small squares, as it is very rich

You could also sprinkle them with
a little confectioners' sugar
if you want to

Place on a serving plate and enjoy!

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