Go Canucks, Go!
I’m not ordinarily superstitious, but these are extenuating circumstances. My colleagues proclaimed many weeks ago that they would grow out their beards so long as the Canucks were in the playoffs. Ahem…that is, the males on staff, of course.
At one time in my youth, during the Canucks’ first run at the Stanley Cup in the 80’s, I was such an avid fan I used to listen to every single game (there were only 80 in a season at the time) on CKNW. I did strange things during the playoffs to ensure that they would win. At one point during that infamous Stanley Cup run, I had my mom trim my hair every time they lost because right after I cut my hair, they won a game. I was looking mighty punk-rock after a while.
I was such a great Canucks Booster that I owned a Canucks Cookbook (yes, believe it or not I still have it), I attended all sorts of fan events and sought their pics and autographs at gas stations, around the Coliseum, and at my high school ice rink, where they used to hold their practices. I even *gasp* skipped one block once to watch them practice. I still have stashed away in a shoebox all sorts of autographed hockey cards from the 80’s and 90’s with newspaper clippings and other Canuck paraphernalia. Though I was definitely not a stalker--I somehow even managed to find out what types of cars each Canuck drove. My girlfriends hung around the Coliseum a lot and watched as the players would come and go. They told me. I swear! and I knew their hockey stats, marital status and other such trivia by heart. I could name most players in the NHL on sight of their jersey number and I even knew heights, weights and some of the birthdays of my favourite hockey players. Ah, youth! I was a passionate Canucks fan, to put it mildly.
Nowadays, I seem to have fallen off the bandwagon. I still watch games on t.v. here and there and attend perhaps one game a season (gratis! from hubby's excellent behind-the-home-bench-so-close-you-can-smell-the-players-company seats) but I watch primarily playoff games. Every year, I enter the hockey pool at work --and never win! but alas, I am not as fervent a “believer” as I used to be.
What has all this hockey stuff got to do with my batch of White Chocolate Walnut Cookies? Well, last night during the 7th game of the Canucks’ nail-biting overtime win against the Chicago Black Hawks, I was baking a batch of these cookies. You know how players and fans have their superstitions about doing the same things to ensure good luck (or ward off back luck)? Well, now I have this overwhelming feeling that I have to bake cookies every time they play to ensure they have a win. It’s not as if I could try growing a beard anyway.
If they make it all the way to the final round of the playoffs for the Stanley Cup, I’m either going to get really really fat or preferably, my colleagues are going to be extremely happy after every game as they would undoubtedly reap the edible rewards.
I used Callebaut White Chocolate Chunks and Walnut Halves for these cookies. The recipe is unique in that it employs only bread flour. This, along with honey (I used Manuka honey—tres expensive! but that’s all I had at home) will ensure a cookie that will be soft and stay soft… if they can last that long. You can substitute the walnuts with macadamias or pecans but the walnuts added a faintly bitter edge that can temper the cloying sweetness that you can sometimes get with white chocolate.
This recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Professional Pastry Chef, by Bo Friberg. I've had this book for years. It's like a Baking Bible to me. I have also made the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and it rocks! The book is a behemoth that is fully 5.5 cm thick (2 1/4 inches)! The only drawback is that there aren’t tons of pictures. There are a few pages of pictures that intersperse sections of the book, but by no means is every recipe illustrated with a photo. I’m a sucker for pictures, I must admit. However, if every recipe were illustrated the book would have to be produced in a few volumes instead.
So here I am providing you with a series of pictures for this particular photo-less recipe. And here’s the recipe. I didn’t adapt anything other than the timing. I baked them 13 minutes whereas the recipe calls for 15 minutes. I like my cookies very soft and under-baked (yum! cookie dough!) As well, I saved two-thirds of the dough in rolls of parchment in the refrigerator because I like my cookies freshly baked. I’ll let you know how the aged dough tastes after Thursday’s game!
My advice is for you to weigh your ingredients like I did to achieve consistent results to the recipe.
CHUNKY WHITE-CHOCOLATE WALNUT COOKIES
from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg
yield: 60 cookies, approximately 2 3/4 inches (7 cm) in diameter.
- 14 oz (400 g) white chocolate [I used Callebaut White Chocolate Chunks]
- 12 oz (340 g) walnuts [I used halves, which I carefully incorporated into each cookie by hand as I was forming them]
- 8 oz (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 oz (225 g ) light brown sugar
- 6 oz (170 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temp
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) or 3 oz (85 g) honey [I used Manuka Honey]
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 lb 2 oz (510 g) bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking soda
- Chop the white chocolate and the walnuts into raisin-sized pieces and set aside. [I used Callebaut White Chocolate Chunks that are the perfect size already and Walnut halves, which I refused to chop because they were so gosh-darned pretty]
- Using the dough hook at low to medium speed, mix together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt until well combined. Add the eggs, honey and vanilla.
- Sift together the flour and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in the chopped walnuts and white chocolate. Chill the dough if it is too soft to form.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, approximately 1 pound 9 oz (710 g) each. Roll each piece into a 20-inch (50 cm) rope; use flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Cut each rope into 20 pieces and place them, staggered, on sheet pans lined with baking paper or Silpats.
- Bake the cookies at 350 degreesF (175 degrees C) just until they start to colour, about 15 minutes [13 minutes for mine]. They taste best if still somewhat soft in the centre.