Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day: Chocolate Puffs
Just like last year, this year my Valentine is out of town for work. I dropped him at the airport on Monday morning, and even though we'll have to wait until the weekend to celebrate, I prepared a special sweet treat for my husband Lulu that he can enjoy during his business trip. I packed a bag of these chocolate puffs in his suitcase, and once he landed, I sent him a message to tell him his favorite chocolate treats were waiting for him.
The secret to making these soft, fluffy French cookies is to use finely ground steel cut oats, which was provided by Bob's Red Mill. I met their reps during the Fancy Food Show at their booth in San Francisco. The dough is flavored with cocoa powder and I added chocolate chips to reinforce the chocolate flavor.
Give this sweet treat to your sweetheart; I guarantee it will be a hit!
Yields: 68 cookies2 whole eggs, at room temperature
2½ cups steel cut oats
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preparing the dry ingredients:
In a food processor (I used the dry container of the Vitamix blender), combine the all-purpose flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cocoa powder and the steel cut oats. Blend until it becomes a fine mill.
For the wet ingredients:
Using an electric hand-held mixer, whisk the eggs with ½ cup granulated sugar until you get a pale yellow color. Add vanilla extract and set aside.
Cream the softened butter with ½ cup brown sugar.
Pour in the sweetened butter into the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula until the batter is smooth, then add the chocolate chips and the remaining ½ cup brown sugar. Mix until evenly distributed. Chill in the refrigerator (up to 1 week).
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
When you're ready to bake the chocolate puffs, place them on several (I used 4) parchment paper (or silicone mat)-lined baking sheets. Make sure they're spaced out so they won't touch each other as they expand while baking. Using the bottom of a cup, lightly flatten the balls.
Bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove the chocolate puffs from the oven and let them cool a little.
Serve with a nice hot tea.
Sifting dry ingredients helps get rid of lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's an important step for all your baking so you get a fluffy result.
You can store the baked cookies in an airtight metal tin for up to 3-4 days to keep them fresh. Our cookies never last that long!