with Sour Cherries and Szechuan Pepper
The first We Should Cocoa challenge of the year is hosted by Linzi at Lancashire Food, and she has, most appropriately for the New Year, challenged us all to bake with a new ingredient - something that we haven't used with chocolate before.
this one on the Cookie Madness site. I kept all the dough ingredient quantities the same, but I used sunflower oil, light muscovado sugar and spelt flour. I left out the vanilla extract and added 1 teaspoon of ground Szechuan peppercorns (sieved after grinding to remove husks) and the finely grated zest of a tangerine. I added 80g chopped plain chocolate and instead of nuts I used 70g dried sour cherries, which I soaked in the juice from the tangerine while preparing the other ingredients, then drained before using.
The result was a soft chewy cookie packed with chocolate and fruit flavours, together with that distinctive flavour that spelt flour gives. There was a hint of warmth from the pepper, but I think I had been too conservative with the amount of pepper I used. I'd been guided by the only similar recipe I could find which used half a teaspoon. I estimate that was the amount I used after sieving the ground peppercorns. It was still a useful exercise, as it hasn't put me off the combination and I want to try it again with more pepper.
We Should Cocoa is the brainchild of Choclette, at Chocolate Log Blog, and the full set of rules can be found on her blog. Briefly, the aim is to produce something containing some form of chocolate plus the chosen ingredient or task for the month. The host (in this case, Linzi, see above) posts a round-up of all the entries at the end of the month.