My grandmothers have given up guessing what I’d like for Christmas. They have also, incidentally and for varying reasons, given up buying me anything for Christmas. That responsibility goes to my parents. While this may seem impersonal, it could be worse. It means that instead of pretending to like the earrings that I got (I once received earrings without having piereced ears. It was a bit awkward when they wanted to see what they looked like on) I can openly gush about what I received. This year, I’m openly gushing about my new camera and Bouchon bakery cookbook. Let’s ignore the fact that there was a sticker on the camera box from my dad’s favorite electronics store and that, upon opening, he was the one who immediately started telling me about all the cool features. I’m used to it.
I told my parents that I would like the Bouchon Bakery cookbook for Christmas; however when I didn’t receive it on Christmas morning, I thought the window for getting it had passed. Oh well, I thought, I have so many other cookbooks, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway. Then, lo and behold, my grandmother ended up gifting me it. To say I was surprised was an understatement. My grandmother is more Sandra Lee (or, let’s be honest, Sara Lee) than Thomas Keller.
I ate at Bouchon bakery before I knew it was cool. My high school was right by the Time Warner Center and my friends and I would sometimes stop by after school for their Oreos and peanut butter sandwich cookies. When my parents stopped by for parent-teacher-student (I went to a really progressive school) conferences, we would pick up a baguette for dinner. Back then, I didn’t know who Thomas Keller was. The extent of my baking ability came from helping my mom make butterscotch brownies from a reproduction of the Betty Crocker Cooky Book.
Well, I’m in love with the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, just about as much as I am in love with these bouchons. They’re impossibly easy to make and are much more impressive than they look. They have the rich-chocolatey flavor of a brownie, but are lighter. Despite their lightness, they aren’t cakey but perfectly rich and fudgy. This partly has to do with the 1:1 ratio of coco powder and flour. It also has to do with using top-notch coco powder (I used Valrhona. Do it.).
I made the bouchon in mini-cupcake holders because I don’t have a bouchon mold and I’m not about to buy one. This didn’t alter the baking time at all, but may have altered the texture just a touch. Still, they’re rich and impressive, perfect for serving for dessert at a dinner party or offering guests who come over in the afternoon. I could imagine them with coffee, tea or, if you are feeling decadent, with hot chocolate.
Bouchon bakery has a special place in my personal history and now the cookbook has a special place on my shelf. Even if I had to repeat the name of my present so my grandmother knew what she was gifting me.
Do you have any bakery, restaurant or hang out that reminds you of growing up? Have you been back for nostalgia purposes?