It was the 1st of May, a traditional day off for the workers, so a group of us did just that and went off to explore Trenant Wood and to enjoy the bluebells which we hoped would be flowering there. This wood is a relatively recent acquisition of the Woodland Trust and lies at the confluence of the East and West Looe rivers. I had never been there before so was looking forward to this walk with eager anticipation.
Supplies of the edible variety were of course necessary, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get out my newly acquired copy of Adventures in Chocolate and have a go at making some cocoa nib cookies to accompany us on the trek. As I haven't yet mastered the art of tempering, I decided not to drench the cookies in chocolate as the recipe suggested, but other than that I tried to follow the recipe as stated - although I made only half the quantity.
- Melted 110g unsalted butter in a pan with 75g demerara sugar and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
- Mixed in 125g wholemeal spelt flour, 50g cocoa powder, a 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and an egg.
- Stirred in 30g cocoa nibs.
- Scooped spoonfuls (14) of the mixture and placed onto lined baking trays leaving plenty of room between them. Now this is where it all started to go wrong. The butter had separated out (I assumed it was because there was too much of it) so there was grease everywhere!
- Baked for 8 mins at 180C. The butter carried on going everywhere, so the oven smelt of burnt butter and the cookies didn't spread at all, so there was no need to place them well apart as stated in the recipe.
Despite the over abundance of butter and not being impressed with Paul's recipe writing skills, I wasn't too disappointed. These cookies were really good - very adult, being rich and chocolatey and not too sweet with an impressively dark appearance to match. They had a great crunch and extra chocolate hit both coming from the cocoa nibs. I'm sure a coating of rich dark chocolate would have been delicious, but they stood up well to being unadorned. They were certainly appreciated at the time.
Amazingly, despite the lowering clouds, we were not rained upon. It was a wonderful walk through ancient woodland in a spectacular setting. There were views across the river to the woods on the other side as well as plenty of bird life to observe on the river itself. The woods were lovely although the bluebells were only just starting to come out, courtesy of the late spring. Luckily, there were plenty of other flowers to admire and the trees were in various stages of coming into leaf giving a rich tapestry of shapes and colours to draw the eye. Of course we said we would return to see the bluebells out, but CT and I haven't managed it yet!