I remember when I was in high school, my mother once tried to convince me to go out with the dorky son of one of her bridge buddies. “What does he look like?” I asked. She replied, “Looks aren’t everything. He’s got such a great personality!” I knew I was doomed. Trust me. When words like that come out of your mother’s mouth, run for the hills!
Why am I bringing this up now? Because that is exactly what I would tell you if you asked me about this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Cafe Volcano Cookies. They’re not much to look at, but they have lots of personality.
Cafe Volcano cookies are little brownish lumps of craggy, crispy, crunchy and nutty deliciousness. And, you can count the number of ingredients needed to make them on one hand. They’re a kind of meringue cookie, but there is no actual meringue involved. All you do is heat some toasted nuts, sugar, espresso powder and egg whites together in a pan, plop little spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet and bake. That’s it! No sifting, creaming, beating, whipping, whisking, folding or chilling necessary. It literally doesn’t get any easier than this, unless you just buy your cookies at the store. And even then, you’d have to take the time to drive there.
Dorie’s original recipe calls for a combination of walnuts and almonds. I swapped out pecans for the walnuts because I’m a Southern gal and I like pecans better. I also used some of my divine Valrhona cocoa powder instead of espresso powder, because…well, because I just felt like it. I think it gave my volcano cookies even more personality!
I honestly have to say that I wasn’t really expecting much from these cookies. I made them almost begrudgingly because, you know, it was Tuesday and all. But, when I took my first bite, I was very pleasantly surprised. Somewhere along the very short path from start to finish, the ingredients were transformed. I didn’t get the mouthful of chewy, sweet nuts I anticipated, but rather a light as air, crackly cookie that shattered upon contact with my teeth and soon dissolved into sweet nothingness. Dorie calls theses the “Pop Rocks” of cookies. I didn’t notice any fizzy explosions in my mouth, but I can definitely see where she’s coming from.
Cafe Volcano Cookies are a lot like the classic Italian cookie, Brutti ma Buoni, which means “ugly, but good”, except that they’re even simpler to make. And, they might even be just a tad bit uglier. While it’s true that these cookies won’t win any beauty pageants, I think they’re a shoo in for the Miss Congeniality award.
Many thanks to MacDuff of Lonely Sidecar for choosing such a tasty and easy recipe for this week. If you’d like to make your own Cafe Volcano Cookies, you can find the recipe here. And of course, stop by the TWD site to see lots and lots more “great personality” cookies!