From the start of my blogging days, I have been very vocal about my relationship with Jehanne
. I don't think I need to elaborate so much on it again now! It started off with some "hi-bye" chats which went on to become definitely the most cherished relationship that I have developed through blogging. Despite being a busy doctor and a mother of one, I really admire her humble nature and enthusiasm to try different aspects of cooking. I really loved the fact that she had done a guest post for me
when I was hardly three months into blogging and I was literally a nothing! More than that, she suggested me to do a guest post for her blog
as well, which literally left a lump in my throat for many many days to come... I really must say...
When her four mini-cookbooks
were released, she promised me to post me a set of book for my keeping, even though I was ready to buy them from Amazon. She posted them in June and after almost five weeks of waiting, finally I received the books by end of July. You wouldn't believe how relieved we both were! As per her, she had sent the books through fast post, but then it looked no closer to fast!!!! Hehe... We both had a good laugh regarding it.
You can see from the cover itself how colorful they look! I opened the envelope in the office itself and kept staring at her pictures, even though it was Ramadan!!!! I gleamed about it to my colleagues, who equally were awed by her food photography. When I took the books home, Rasha asked me, "Ummi, who gave you the books?" I smiled and replied, "Ummi's friend sent it to me for my birthday." She was really cross with me for that, literally due to jealousy!!! Hehe... Jehanne knew exactly where she had to place her personal message for me - yes, in the sweet and dessert book!!! So much so for my basic character... hehe...
After flipping through the books atleast four times, I finally decided to try the Date Walnut Loaf Cake. One, because all the ingredients were readily available and two, it was an eggless bake! After Iftar time, I set out to pull in all the ingredients and make the cake. I followed everything exactly, but unfortunately, my batter was just unpliabale! I then added 1/4 cup of warm milk to loosen up the batter and then proceeded with baking. Instead of the normal 40 minutes it should have taken, it took my oven double the time to bake! Seriously, I really do not trust my oven. I have always had to bake some extra time, however I found this time taken a way bit too much. I immediately messaged Jehanne about my findings. I finally did have the baked cake, which tasted really good. I had guests the same night who got the cake served to them with their tea and they definitely enjoyed it. But I was still worried about the time taken. Jehanne, the perfectionist that she is, got so worried about my mishap that without even looking at the time difference, she went ahead to bake the cake again as per her book specifications and kept sending me step by step to show me how the whole thing would have looked like. She went on to post the recipe that she had made for me on her blog as well
... This is how my cake looked like, which was perfectly normal...
I thought the reasons why my cake took longer to bake maybe because I used the dates I had instead of Medjool - the dates I used were not really high on moisture. So the water I added to the dates for soaking it did not really give the consistency. Instead of rolled oats, I used instant oats, but I guess that shouldn't have been the problem. So more of any reason, I would put it on the dates that I used, for giving me a tough batter, that I had to add milk to loosen up. Whatever said and done, the cake was really good and we wiped it all out in the next couple of days for Suhoor!
When I explained all this to Jehanne, she told me to go ahead with the recipe and write down honestly what I felt about my experience. I have honestly said it, but I really did not want to stop with trying only this one. Moreover, if I am not 100% satisfied, I normally refrain from blogging about it. I guess all of you do. So I took my own time to again browse through and finally my eyes fell on the Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies, that I baked and loved it equally!!!! It isn't that she has only sweet dishes in her books, she has quite good savory recipes as well. One that I am eyeing is the Healthy Chicken Korma, which I would really want to try, but somehow I guess the time has not come. The soups that she has featured are also lovely. The problem is with our tongues. If it was just us and the kids, I would have definitely tried a different recipe from her book, as my HD is very much open to all kinds of tastes. He is a person of experiment. However, I may not get the same response from the rest of the family.
So I decided to stick to this recipe. I went shopping for the pecans, I already had some cooking dark chocolate sitting in my pantry threatening me to expire in the next couple of months if not used soon. One thing that really attracted me is that it uses olive oil and I really wanted to know how it tastes like. Sometime back, I had baked a chocolate olive oil cake for my friend's family and he told me that it tasted "different". Jehanne also warned me regarding the taste the olive oil may leave. But still I just went ahead and baked it.
Believe me, nobody understood that it had olive oil in it till I told them it did! The day it was baked, my D, B and umma along with kids munched on some. I emailed a picture to Jehanne as to how my final cookies looked like and she was really excited. I brought a few for my colleagues who also enjoyed it. Overall, it was a really satisfactory bake! Go to see on the blog, it is only my second cookie recipe after the Custard Cookies
I posted sometime back. I somehow don't know why I have never been into making cookies, but now I feel since my kids love to eat biscuits, I should be actively baking at home, so that they munch on home made goodies rather than the store bought ones.
Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies
180 ml extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vanilla flavor
1 cup salted pecans, chopped coarsely
100 gm 56% dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Spread parchment paper on a baking tray and set aside.
Mix the oil and brown sugar till well combined. Add in the egg and mix again. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and vanilla flavor well. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well. Finally add in the pecans and chocolate and mix.
Shape into cookies and keep on the baking tray with small spaces in between. Bake the cookies for around 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store in airtight container and use within one month.
1. I used light brown sugar, the original recipe had dark brown sugar - explains the color difference!
2. I didn't have vanilla essence, so I used vanilla flavor. If using vanilla essence, the quantity is 1 tsp.
3. Since I used salted pecans, I didn't add any salt to the cookie dough. If using fresh pecan, then roast them lightly before chopping them and add 1/2 tsp salt.
4. Jehanne suggests sprinkling sea salt on the top of the cookies before baking, which I didn't do. So if you do like to make it that way, then do try it.
5. The recipe states baking for 15 minutes, but I baked 18 minutes as I don't trust my oven!!! :)
6. As per the book, the recipe makes 24 cookies, I got exactly 28.
Let me thank Jehanne once again for the books received - I promise you dear, that I will relish them for my lifetime and continuously tell my kids very fondly about it... :)