Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate-Coated Life


I'm not a fan of sugar coating.  By that, I mean I don't like caramel apples and I like to know the truth about things -- plain and simple. I appreciate honesty and directness.  For example, no one ever tells you how hard it's going to be when you become a parent.  Now that I have a two year old, I don't like to "sugar coat" things around expectant parents.  Yes, you're going to have a gorgeous, bouncing baby that coos at you and parenting is the most beautiful experience a person can have.  But guess what?  At times, it will also make the toughest thing you've ever done in your life before parenthood seem ridiculously easy.

On the other hand, I do like things to be chocolate coated.  Unlike sugar, which is just sweet for the sake of being sweet, chocolate is complex.  More like real life.  It can be bitter on top of being sweet.  At times it can be a little salty, or overpowering.  Just like the real emotions we experience every day.


In the age of "self branding," people have a tendancy to sugar coat their lives.  Everyone is beautiful, no one gets sick, argues, loses their patience or struggles.  It doesn't do justice to what we all really deal with in everyday life.  Things taste better when they've got some depth and character, don't you think? So let's skip the sugar coating and go for the 85% dark, organic, single origin chocolate.


Chocolate Covered Log Cookies
The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

A soft, orange scented cookie, topped with rich, intense chocolate and rolled in festive chopped pistachios.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest (zest from 1/2 a large orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1 cup finely chopped pecans (you could also use walnuts, pecans or toasted hazelnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Gradually beat in the sugar and cream until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the orange zest and the vanilla extract until well combined.  Gradually add the flour until blended (dough will be a little crumbly).
Make a ball with the dough, flatten it, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or over night.
Remove dough from refrigerator and let soften for 5-10 minutes.  Taking small pieces of the dough, roll them into balls and then 3-inch logs.  Place logs onto un-greased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between cookies for expansion.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.  Cool the cookies on sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate.  When cookies have cooled for about 15 minutes, dip them halfway in the chocolate, then roll in chopped nuts.  Allow them to set for 15 minutes before serving.


  1. What gorgeous photos and an absolutely delicious cookie! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. I just ate mine a few minutes ago--it was lovely! So tender, and not too sweet. Mmm. (And I'm with you on telling it straight to new parents.)

  3. Depth, yes. Character, yes. Nicole's chocolate covered cookies, absolutely yes.

  4. Love this cookies. They look great and I am sure the combination of chocolate, orange and pistachio make them irresistible.

    By the way I don't like sweet for the sake of sweetness either....

  5. You should hear the discussions we have around the dinner table. I agree completely.

  6. I've been thinking a lot about parenthood (the journey to getting there, in particular). Life and emotions are complex, like chocolate - I love that one, Nicole. And these cookies look like the perfect festive treat for my Christmas party this weekend!

  7. Mango Queen, thanks for visiting and nice meeting you on Sunday

    Debbie-Glad you got to have one! I got in line late and missed a lot of the best cookies there! :(

    Pola, we're on the same page!

    Tracy - I wish someone would start a blog about REAL life - there seem to be so many fake lifestyle blogs- why do i even read them? curiosity I guess...

    Sarah- I hope you try them for your party! Enjoy!! It IS a journey to parenthood - believe me it's the best, but just be prepared to keep it real :)

  8. Nicole: I am with you. Sugar coating is never good...that sugar melts sooner than you know it (I like when people tell me straight up what it's all about: like in parenthood). And I agree that chocolate is like character, and real life: bitter-sweet, an intense rush, a punch in the guts, and lots of serotonin when things go well. I think I would love this cookies with pistachios.

  9. So true! I got tired of parents almost wickedly warning me "get your sleep now..." when I was pregnant (as if I could stockpile for later) but I find myself doing the same thing. Also, I like caramel and I like apples but, well, not really together.

  10. Oooh, I saw these at the start of the swap! They were all gone by the time I got there--I'm sure they were yummy. :)

  11. I think that not sugar coating the truth and always chocolate coating desserts should be a copywrited motto or something! These are right up my dark-chocolate-loving alley.

  12. You are so right Nicole.

    Chocolate is my vice. Thank you for a great recipe.

    PS Have I ever told you how much I love the way you write? :)

  13. Jen, I think it IS my new motto :)

    Magda- you are so kind to say that.

  14. Yep, on with the chocolate coating!

  15. I couldn't agree more, life is sweet, salty, spicy, bitter. Sometimes bland. But it is a feast.

  16. I think that you need to write that real lifestyle blog--wait, you are. love reading your writing.


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