This past summer, Amy Guittard, part of the fifth generation of the Guittard family to run Guittard Chocolate, contacted us via Instagram. She wanted to send us a big box of chocolate. Not being the type to decline chocolate, I gave her our address. A couple weeks later, a box arrived on our doorstep. It was full of chocolate baking bars, wafers, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder--a baker's dream come true.
A few months later, we had the pleasure of meeting Amy in person. There's just something really gratifying about meeting someone else who works for a well-established family business. They get it. "It" being the joys and frustrations of working with family, maintaining and updating an established brand, and the constant pressure to live up to or exceed the expectations of those who have gone before you.
But more than that, Guittard chocolate is good. Really good. For generations now, the Rombauer-Becker family has refused to endorse products for money. We don't do sponsored posts on our website. We don't even have ads. This stems from a belief that as the caretakers of a cookbook and brand that is all about teaching people how to cook, we need to be impartial. We won't allow money to influence our recommendations, and we don't feel that advertising has a place on our website or in our book. But that also means that when we really love something--whether it's a product or a tool or an ingredient--we can recommend it wholeheartedly and from a place of honesty rather than one of monetary gain. That's how we feel about Guittard chocolate. We recommend it because it's not just great chocolate, it's great chocolate from an American family business whose sense of ethics is intact.
Why we picked this cookbook
The short version? Because it's all about the chocolate and the recipes work. We love family recipes, and when the family in question has 5 generations of chocolate making expertise under its belt, well you have our attention. This book is great because it features simple family favorites as well as more complex, modern desserts. There's also a whole chapter on chocolate goodies for breakfast. Because of course.
Why we chose this recipe
With the holidays coming up, I always get an urge to bake cookies. There's almost nothing that's more satisfying to bake. And among my favorite cookies of all time is the roll cookie--cookies that are formed by rolling the dough into a log, chilling it, and cutting off slices. The resulting cookies always look clean and beautiful, and you can pack a lot of flavor into them.
These cookies are lovely. Not too sweet with good chocolate flavor coming from cocoa powder and the irresistible nuttiness of pistachios. They also snuck 1/2 cup of rye flour into this cookie, which makes me really happy. The flavor of the rye doesn't stand out, but it adds another subtle layer of flavor where normally there would just be tasteless white flour. A light sprinkling of fleur de sel finishes the cookies perfectly. These are pretty enough to gift, and their beauty is all natural.
How to enter this contest
Simply click on this link and enter your name and email address in the form. A winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. This giveaway is extra special because Guittard will not only send the winner a copy of their beautiful cookbook, but also a box full of chocolate baking goodies! Good luck!
Reprinted with permission from Guittard Chocolate Cookbook by Amy Guittard (Chronicle Books). Copyright (c) 2015.
Author's headnote: I often pick flavor combinations based on taste rather than aesthetics, so it's an extra bonus when the ingredient pairing is as pretty as it is in this cookie. Because this is a slice and bake cookie, you can freeze the dough, if wrapped airtight, for up to two months. You don't even need to defrost before slicing and baking, which means you can produce a spontaneous midnight snack that's as easy as it is impressive.
1 cup [120 g] all-purpose flour
1/2 cup [60 g] light rye flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup [50 g] Guittard Cocoa Rouge (Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/2 cup [55 g] butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup [150 g] firmly packed light brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup [60 g] shelled, chopped unsalted pistachio nuts
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling
1. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, light rye flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, and the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flout mixture until combined. Fold in the pistachios.
3. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log, about 2 inches [5 cm] wide by 10 inches [25 cm] long. Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or freeze for up to 2 months.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (If the dough has been in the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.) Unwrap the dough and cut it into 1/2-inch [12-mm] slices. Set the dough slices on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch [2.5 cm] between the cookies. Sprinkle each cookie with fleur de sel.
6. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the centers appear set. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.