Friday, January 1, 2010

Mignardise- A New Year Nibble

Definition- french for "delicate fondling"

Mignardise are the tiny, bite-sized desserts that often follow a meal at high-end restaurants. They frequently include tiny cookies or chocolates, as well as other edible delights. These are also referred to on occasion as "friandise".

Friandises are larger and it is also a blanket term for sweets.

Mignardise are served with coffee after a meal or presented as an amuse-bouche before a meal. Friandise are generally bought at a sweet counter or at the supermarket as treats for consumption throughout the day.

My fondest memory of 'mignardise' was at Alain Ducasse in NYC- famed mantra of “60% ingredients and 40% technique”; utmost in contemporary dinning experiences. The whole dinning experience was wonderful, but at the end when they set down that plate of yummy sweet gelĂ©es, truffles, and macarons.

Just when you think you cannot eat another bite a bag of hearty sized brioche is given for the road. 

Ah the memory of Christmas eve...wait...stop! Okay I admit its the New Years Day, and you are so over the holiday stuff. I do have to tie in the whole post theme. I agree, so let's skip to...I was reminded by hubby when we returned from his family's a few days back that the bag full commercial chocolate bars found in our stockings are not of his liking. He has developed a rather extreme case of 'food snobbery' over the years, and believe one should not waste calories on un-extraordinary experiences.

I how ever could not resist the chocolate call, and nibbled on one illegal contraband in secret (as I thought about what to do with all the candy). All in the name of creative investigation, right?

So far this is the first of what I came up with...Double Chocolate Blueberry Drop Cookies.

Chewy, gooey, and a touch of the Ghiradelli chocolate, and hubby's favorite little blue power packed berries. Even he could not refuse to eat them. Extra contraband ingredient. Shhh, what he does not know will not hurt him right! I might not be able to top Alain Ducasse, but I can sure try...

What ever your choice of mignardise on this first day of the New Year, make it a good bite!

Double Chocolate Blueberry Drop Cookies
Joy of Cooking, 1967, Irma S. Rombauer and her sister Marion

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (Ghiradelli)
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
* 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans, optional (2 chocolate bars in pieces)
*1 cup blueberries


Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

On low speed, beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well blended and smooth. Stir in chopped walnuts (blueberries and chocolate bar pieces).

This is an extra step not in the book- I chilled the dough for thirty minutes, since I would be handling it before baking.

Drop chocolate cookie dough onto greased baking sheets by rounded tablespoons, about 2 inches apart. (1 inch rounds)

Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes, or until set. If desired, sprinkle with a little granulated sugar while they're hot. (I skipped this part)

Cool on pans on rack for about 5 minutes; transfer chocolate cookies to rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 to 5 dozen chocolate cookies.