We are on the home stretch on our time in NZ! And OH MAN I am not looking forward to going back to NYC. I love our life there, but there's just something about New Zealand thats so much more 'home'. Hopefully if we get all of our ducks in a line we can move home in a few years - we have already put some of the wheels in motion in order to move so the next few years will be focussing on getting everything together to make the move. We met with a mortgage consultant today - even though we are married, live in a different country and have a business, the concept of borrowing money feels like EXTREME adulting in comparison! It also gives me a great excuse to look at real estate on the internet, which is easily one of my favourite activities, along with making pinterest boards about my future kitchen!
Another thing that has been so amazing about being home is the food. The first week was filled with fresh fruit, real fruit ice cream and all the things we had missed, then I went down to Wellington for a few days. For those not from New Zealand, Wellington is the capital city, and has an amazing food scene. I was staying with a friend who is just as interested in eating as I am, so we had an incredible time trying all of the new places that have popped up since I was here last!
While I was there I was also lucky enough to be a small part of a pretty awesome collaboration that was happening! If you haven't heard of the shoe brand Allbirds, you owe it to yourself to do a sneaky wee google. They are a San Francisco / New Zealand based business who make crazy awesome shoes from Merino wool! I have a couple of pairs - they are crazy comfy, and the companies morals and ethics are incredible. I was lucky enough to come across the lovely Lucy on Instagram, and after a bit of back and forth we worked out that we would both be in Wellington at the same time so should probably do something exciting together!
Allbirds did a special collaboration with three amazing Wellington based businesses - Coffee Supreme, Wellington Chocolate Factory, and Garage Project Beer. They had a bunch of events, and designed a shoe inspired by each company! I was there for the launch party right at the beginning, which was a huge amount of fun. My wee contribution was to design a cookie recipe which would be the takeaway 'goodie bag' of the evening - something which encompassed all three of these companies and the amazing product that they create.
And this was the result! I went with a dark chocolate cookie, which has a solid amount of dark beer in it, making it soft and almost whoopie pie-ish, sandwiched together with a coffee infused german buttercream. The cookie is rich and dark, with a teeny hint of beer, and the buttercream is not too sweet and silky in texture, so ties everything together perfectly. I developed the recipe and then Lucy had a local bakery in Wellington make them. This was my first time developing a recipe for someone else to make on a large scale so I was a little nervous but they turned out amazingly!
Thanks so much to Allbirds for having me! I had the best time ever.
Chocolate stout cookies with coffee german buttercream
- Makes approx 12 sandwich cookies -
1 1/2 cups (375ml) stout beer
10.5 oz/300g Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 cup (160g) All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature.
3/4 cup (150g) packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
Coffee german buttercream
1 cup (250ml) whole milk, plus extra to top up if necessary.
30g fresh coffee beans, coarsely ground
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp (20g) cornflour
1 egg yolk
1 lb/450g unsalted butter, at room temperature.
- PROCESS -
In a medium pot, heat the stout over medium heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes watching closely to ensure that it does not boil over, until it has reduced to half a cup. Set aside to cool.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until melted, taking care not to get any water in the chocolate. Remove the bowl from the pot, and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric hand held mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla, egg and egg yolk, and beat well. Add melted dark chocolate and beat until incorporated, scraping the bowl down well. With the mixer on low, add a third of the flour mixture, alternating with half of the cooled stout and repeat, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low until well incorporated, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl well. Chill the mixture for approximately an hour, or until firm, stirring every 15 minutes or so to ensure that it cools evenly. Toward the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 350˚f/180˚c and line three baking trays with parchment paper.
Using a cookie scoop (I use a #30 / 1.5 Tbsp size), Scoop out mounds of dough onto the prepared baking tray, leaving about 10cm between each one to allow for spreading. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Cool on the tray for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
In a medium pan over a low heat, heat the milk until it is almost boiling. Remove the heat, add the coffee, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a very fine mesh strainer, and return the infused milk to the pot, topping up to make one cup if necessary. Return to almost boiling.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cornflour, egg and egg yolk, and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the sugar and egg mixture. Whisk until combined, then return to the pot with the rest of the milk. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens, then cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl, place plastic wrap on the surface, and leave to cool completely, using an ice bath to speed up this process if necessary.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cooled pastry cream mixture until it is smooth and creamy. With the mixture on high, add the butter a chunk at a time, and mix until the buttercream is homogenous and smooth. Swap the mixer to the paddle attachment and beat for 1-2 minutes until creamy and silky.
Using an offset spatula or a piping bag fitted with a round attachment, place a small amount of buttercream on one cookie, and top with another, pressing lightly to stick. Chill, removing from the fridge approx 45 minutes before serving.