I really truly thought this would be the summer of “calm”. Nothing to do but lazy sea-side Mediterranean days, with a cold frappe and some light summer reading. Errrr. Nope. While entirely enjoyable, the summer is proving to be holy-cow busy. Basically I’ve been working, moved apartments (which always sort of does my head in) and have been traveling about … all within the same three week period … for various reasons. As someone who I can’t remember once said: life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. And that’s something I definitely can relate to this summer. But, who can’t, I suppose.
That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying this summer’s adventures. In fact, I’ve been enjoying this summer A LOT. About a week ago I was flown to Poland by the Cyprus Food Museum. It’s the first time that I have flown and stayed anywhere not Cyprus or Canada for a very long time. So I was kid-level excited. In addition, I was asked to give a presentation about Cyprus Food Photography for an EU seminar called “Building Culinary Bridges” taking place in Augustow, Poland which is funded by the EU (Leonardo program I think). The aim of the program is to ultimately help those persons in the culinary industry looking for jobs in other countries, to get these jobs. It was a fantastic opportunity and proved enjoyable in so many ways.
Thank you Cyprus Food Museum for this wonderful opportunity. (The Cyprus Food Museum is truly doing wonderful things for Cyprus food, including an annual competition for kids who learn traditional recipes from their elders, and I really applaud them.) I have to say that I am pretty easy to please as one of my highlights was learning how to milk a cow. We also visited a traditional herring smokehouse and tried some wonderufl homemade food, as well as learned how to make traditional Polish food, and so some beautiful scenery. We spent a few days in Augustow, Poland and I put together a little story on a new social media app called “Steller” (which I am kinda obsessed with at the moment because you can create little picture story flip books) if you want to see more of my trip (search for “afroditeskitsche”). I arrived back on Sunday night at 5am, finished moving house on Monday and then flew to Canada on Tuesday, and drank several coffees before, during and after.
So it’s been busy, but everything got done, which is usually how things pan out. Now I am sitting in my living room in Victoria, BC eating homemade blueberry muffins and typing this post. This was one of the last things I cooked in my old apartment when I was preparing something to eat for those helping us move. My chosen theme was “fast-easy-food-to-make-that-friends-will-want-to-eat-so-will-come-help-us-move-…-please“. So I made chocolate chip cookies.
This had the added bonus that I was able to use up the leftover village flour I had in my cupboard. I posted a recipe the other day (“katimeri” aka Cyprus crepe/pancake things) and had lots of questions asking me what “Cyprus Village Flour” is. It is durum flour which is a little yellow in colour. It’s used to make breads and is high in protein, but low in gluten. This is the flour I used to make these cookies. It is traditionally used in Cyprus to make traditional Cypriot foods, but it is actually a pretty great flour to work with for a number of unexpected recipes. You just have to understand a little bit about how it works in recipes to figure out new uses for it. This is one of them.
My perfect cookie recipe has to be Jacques Torres’ cookie recipe. They come out perfect every time and are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I followed this recipe, but made one adjustment and substituted the bread flour with Mitsides Village flour as I was curious to see if Village flour would work here. And it totally did.
In fact, I liked using Village flour for these cookies, because they help make the cookies dense and chewy on the inside. If you can’t find Village flour, you can simply follow the Jacques Torres recipe exactly as it calls for bread flour. Also note that you have to rest the dough 24 hours in the fridge before baking these. It actually sounds a bit silly, but in fact it makes a difference as I was (obviously) super eager to eat these and just shoved a whole rack in the oven. They were still delicious, but there is a certain “softer” chewiness that comes with letting the dough rest I found. Also if you like the cookies chewy and gooey (which I do) then make sure you take them out at 11 minutes. They will still be a bit gooey, but they will firm up a bit. Also, I’ve made this recipe more than once (like 5 times) and since I am a chocolate fiend I just throw in huge pieces of Valrhona chocolate – the original recipe calls for more grams, but I found when I added 400g of chocolate or more the texture of the cookies started to change and I actually really like the way the dough tastes in these cookies. So that’s it for now. I will hopefully get to enjoy a few more frappes now that I am in Canada and the gorgeous Canadian summer foods and will be back soon with some yummy recipes. Until then. Happy Summer! … oh yeah, and I forgot to say, I combined the cookies with this homemade chocolate ice cream too (no shame here) and it was delicious!
For the recipe in Greek, click here and go to the “Taste Magazine” link!
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
1⅔ cups Mitsides Cyprus village flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons coarse salt
280 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 & 1/4 cups & 2 tbs light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
200 grams good quality chocolate chips (more or less depending on how chocolate you like the cookies)
1. In a medium sized bowl, combine together the pastry flour, village flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with a fork to combine.
2. In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fully (about 4 to 5 minutes).
3. Add one egg at a time to the butter mixture, mixing well to incorporate before adding the next.
4. Add the vanilla extract to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
5. Add the flour in four parts. If using a handheld mixer, switch to a “dough” hook to incorporate the flour until just combined.
6. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a “dough” hook until mixed throughout the dough.
7. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours before making.
8. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175C.
9. Scoop 1 large tablespoon of dough per cookie onto a baking sheet.
10. Bake for about 11 minutes until the edges begin to slightly brown if you prefer gooey cookies, up to about 15 minutes if you prefer harder cookies.
11. Let cool slightly before enjoying.