A Virtual Valentine Party {Recipe & Giveaway}

I’m not one for heart-shaped boxes, chocolates, or cupid-clad anything, but I always look forward to Valentine’s Day because it’s a reminder to commemorate the people you most adore. To celebrate the upcoming holiday of the loved and beloved, I’ve joined some like-minded food friends for a a virtual Valentine’s party where we’ll each cook and share with you a recipe from my friend, Sarah Copeland’s, new book, The Newlywed Cookbook. It’s a deliciously romantic, user-friendly book filled with ideas for cooking for those you love. For the party, I’ll be baking her Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies which have quickly become a favorite of all those I love.

Before I write the word love one more time and I lose you to an overload of sappiness, let me share with you a bit about Sarah. We met the first time I stepped in the Food Network Test Kitchens and immediately had a connection. Perhaps because we both directed test kitchens or, as I like to think, because we’re kindred spirits since we both strive to punctuate our lives with gatherings that involve lovingly-prepared, handcrafted food.

Photos by Sara Remington

Photos by Sara Remington

Despite Sarah’s low-key, behind-the-scenes profile, it is apparent to everyone who knows her that she has an exceptional talent. You see, Sarah’s style doesn’t end in the kitchen: she has a seemingly impossibly charming, romantic style that makes you believe she might have kitchen help in the form of singing bluebirds a la Snow White. But she combines that style with a contemporary, practical approach to cooking that’s aspirational yet approachable. She has a clear focus on seasonality and sustainability, which stems as much from her passion for cooking as from her accomplishments as an urban gardener.

Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before she published a book and here it finally is, The Newlywed CookbookThis book came about from her firsthand experience as a newlywed during which time she has learned to cook for her husband and all the new friends and family she adopted as a result of their union. At its core, The Newlywed Cookbook is a gorgeous, deliciously romantic perspective on how to share good food with the people you cherish most. The book is filled with luxurious-sounding yet doable recipes like Oatmeal Yogurt Pancakes with Blackberry Crush, Grilled Lamb Chops with Melted Polenta, Roasted Beets with Ricotta and Pistachios, and Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Marmalade.

Photos by Sara Remington

Photos by Sara Remington

For our virtual Valentine’s party, I’m literally taking a page from her book and cherishing my loved ones by baking up a batch of her Thousand-layer Chocolate Chip Cookies. They take a bit more effort than your average stir and drop cookie, but the extra effort reflects how much love is put into their preparation. After a few rolls of the pin and a few minutes in the oven, you have a delicately layered delight everyone can smile about.

Speaking of which, I have one more thing to help you smile: Chronicle Books has graciously passed on a copy of the book to give away. So, between today and February 13, 2012, you can register here for a chance to win (details below). And, if you need any convincing as to why you’d want the book, whip up a batch of these cookies because they — along with the stunning photos, delicious food styling, and show-stopping design — should be more than enough.


Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

From The Newlywed Cookbook
Reprinted with permission from Sarah Copeland (of Edible Living) and Chronicle Books

Imagine the countertop of your favorite bakery piled high with generous stacks of crunchy cookies marbled with sheets of chocolate. Now imagine that in your very own kitchen. These beauties are worth the extra effort you put into them. The layered chocolate provides unparalleled texture, flavor, and a bakery-style finish that will make you very proud to call these your chocolate chip cookie.

Makes 20 cookies/biscuits

  • 1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup/150 g packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup/150 g granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups/280 g all-purpose/plain flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
  • 9 oz/255 g high-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp fleur de sel {optional}

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Line two baking sheet/trays with parchment/baking paper.

Cream butter and both sugars together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, two at a time, followed by vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture on low speed until just mixed. Stop and scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is evenly incorporated and give the dough a final mix.

Divide the dough into 3 portions. Put each dough portion on large piece of plastic wrap/cling film, and pat into a 4-by-6-in/10-by-15-cm rectangle. Wrap and refrigerate on a flat shelf in the fridge until well chilled, about 30 minutes. {This helps to set the butter and make the dough easier to work with. Chilling cookie dough also helps cookies/biscuits keep their shape when they bake, the secret of most fine bakeries!}

Meanwhile, coarsely chop the chocolate into thin shards using a serrated knife. Set aside.

When the dough is chilled, lay one portion on a lightly floured countertop. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate and top with another piece of dough. Repeat with remaining chocolate and dough until you have a slab of dough with two layers of chocolate. Dust lightly and evenly with flour and roll gently with a rolling pin into a large 9-by 6-in/23-by-15-cm rectangle that’s about 1 1/2 in/ 4 cm thick.

Using a 2-in/5-cm round cookie or biscuit cutter or a thin rimmed glass, cut out ten rounds of dough. Gather the scraps together, pat lightly, and cut out remaining cookies.

Divide half of the cookies/biscuits between the 2 prepared baking sheet/trays, leaving about 3 in/7.5 cm between cookies/biscuits since they will spread. Brush the tops of each cookie with the beaten egg, and with a light hand, sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt, or leave plain.

Bake until the cookies are set, 12 to 15 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through top to bottom if you’re baking two sheets at a time. Let cookies/biscuits cool slightly, about 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies with a thin spatula to a wire rack to cool completely {or, just slide the parchment/baking paper directly onto the cooling rack}. Let the baking sheets/trays cool completely before using to bake the remaining dough (lining with more parchment/baking paper if needed). Bake as directed, switching sheets top to bottom half way through baking, and cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Photos by Sara Remington

Photos by Sara Remington


Giveaway Details

Prize:

To help you celebrate Valentine’s Day, Chronicle Books is providing one (1) lucky reader with a copy of just-released, The Newlywed Cookbook, by Sarah Copeland.

Duration:

This giveaway is open to USA visitors and will be open until Monday, February 13th, 11:59pm PST.

Who Can Enter:

Open only to residents of the USA 18 years old and older.

How to Enter:

Leave a comment below — one entry per email address only please.

How Winner Will Be Chosen:

The winner will be chosen at Random.org and will be notified via email, so please make sure the email address you list in the comment section is correct. You will have 48 hours to respond to me, or a new winner will be chosen.

Technical Issues:

Only one comment per person will be considered and any duplicate comments will be deleted.


Fine Print: I am hosting this giveaway so you can experience this book for yourself. I am in no way being compensated for this giveaway and Chronicle Books has generously provided the prize copy of the book.


Photos are by Sara Remington and styling by Sarah Copeland and are copyrighted material.

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