Author Archives: Rowena

About Rowena

Hobbyist gardener, enthusiast in cooking different cuisines, smitten with dogs of all shapes and sizes, and travels occasionally when the mood hits.

Ruby chocolate, ginger & brazil nut cookies (no press!)

Callebaut’s ruby chocolate is still quite the novelty if you consider the steep price and having to purchase them online, but I’m still convinced of the slightly tart and fruity flavor, and let’s face it – that color of pink!

I’ve been working on this recipe to get the sweetness from the sugar and ruby chocolate in line. With ruby chocolate, my regular chocolate chip recipe yielded a cookie that was achingly sweet. Now that I know less sugar doesn’t drastically change the dough that much, I’ll stick with this version from now on. The addition of powdered ginger compliments ruby chocolate’s fruity notes so you get a taste of sweet, tart, fruit, and spice all in one bite.


2.5 kilos of Callebaut ruby chocolate – 55 euros when last purchased in March

Makes approximately 30-32 cookies

140 grams butter at room temperature (5 ounces or 1¼ stick butter)
90 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon)
90 grams coarse brown sugar (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
240 grams all-purpose/tipo “00” flour (1.75 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon powdered ginger (1/2 teaspoon for a more subtle flavor)
150 grams chocolate chips (1 cup)
15 brazil nuts, shelled and chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F; fan on.
Cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
Sift together flour, baking powder and powdered ginger.
Gently stir the dry ingredients into creamed mixture and beat to combine well.
Stir in ruby chocolate chips and brazil nuts.
Place heaped tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared cookie sheets.
No need to press but if you like flatter cookies, press gently as dough will spread slightly.
Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes, turning cookie sheets halfway through baking.
Cool and store in an airtight tin, or freeze for later.

Hydrangea in bloom, minazuki, and a very hot June

Where did the time go? Or perhaps I should say ‘how have you been holding up in this awful heat?’ Italy has been experiencing a hotter than usual month of June with daily temps within the range of 32°C-40°C, depending on when and where the sun shines. This heat has had great affect on me wanting to be anywhere other than next to the fan, but after MotH set up the kiddie pool under the big patio umbrella today, I think we’ll be seeing more wrinkled toes from here on out.

Anyway, before June goes sayonara I want to share somthing that I read in the spring/summer edition of Kateigaho. Kateigaho is a highly interesting and sublimely visual digital magazine on Japanese culture, and if you grow hydrangeas, you might want to do this just for fun. Love good luck charms? Well, you can make a talisman, or a whole bunch of them, with hydrangea blooms. Take a slip of paper and write down your name and birthdate as you imagine a wish. Next, wrap the paper around the flower stem, fasten tightly with string, and suspend it at the entrance of your home. I rather like the one I made as it looks way better hanging upside down rather than wilting on the bush in this miserable h-h-h-HEAT!

And one last thing before I run off to dip my toes into the pool. I’ve been waiting for June 30th to make minazuki, a rice flour and azuki bean dessert that is meant to suggest cool fragments of ice. The last day of June particularly stood out in my mind as it marks a summer rite and you can read about it here Kyoto’s minazuki recipe. There’s another recipe for minazuki and 2 more delicious treats at Japanese sweets. I didn’t have enough rice flour and blended 50/50 rice with all-purpose. The 300cc water is a tad over 1 cup. So glad I found azuki beans at the healthfood store to cook and make my own sweet red beans. Eating minazuki with a cold glass of shakerato really hit the spot; I’ll have to make it again but with the addition of matcha tea powder to the rice flour batter. What a cool summer treat!