“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” ~Fawn Weaver
It’s not often your friend gets married on your birthday. (Yes, my birthday. The big 4-0!) And we got invited. But it’s not like we live in the same state, let alone the same city! What to do? Attend their party or my own? Wouldn’t that be a way to celebrate in style? A toddler-free interstate trip! I did consider attending, but no; the budget wouldn’t stretch to accommodate it. Instead, I’m making cookies. Cookies for a friend’s wedding. I’m hoping she likes them.
This particular friend and I met when we were both single and preparing to go work overseas. Once on the field, we were able to meet up several times, as we lived in neighbouring countries. And whilst my sojourn lasted only two years, she stayed for nine. While I learned a smattering of street Thai, she became fluent in Khmer, was (is) able to read it, prepare sermons and preach in it. Her commitment to the ‘least of these’ was inspirational, and I followed her progress with interest.
Imagine my surprise then, when, on a quick visit home, over a coffee and while we were discussing her plans for ‘repatriation’ and the possibility of marriage, she suggested cryptically that she might bring a husband home with her when she returned. Huh?! Long story short, she had fallen in love with a co-worker, they were already dating, and had plans to get married and settle in Australia together. Fast forward eighteen months, and it’s happening now!
There were any number of cookie recipes I could have chosen as a gift, but this one seems appropriate. I’m told that although the groom is Cambodian, he was given a Thai name and spent most of his life living near the Thai-Cambodian border. With that in mind, these cookies were designed and inspired by the five-fold complexity of Thai flavours: sugar for sweet, lime for sour, chilli for spicy, a sprinkling of sea salt, and last but not least, lots of dark chocolate for bitter.
A toast to the happy couple and the bright future that is ahead of them!
I’ve made several batches of these, and can say with some authority that 70% dark chocolate works best, for that soft brownie texture. Also, making them with GF flour is totally an option, as is making them without chilli. Let me know your favourite versions in the comments!
Makes about 24 cookies
200g (8oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
150g (2/3 cup) dark chocolate chips
60g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 medium eggs
120g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
Zest of one lime, finely grated (approx 2 teaspoons)
20g (just less than 3 tablespoons) white spelt flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
For dipping (prik glua)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, crushed
1 teaspoon dried/roasted chilli flakes
Combine lime zest and caster sugar in shallow dish; rub in with your fingertips to ensure they are well incorporated. Set aside.
In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, gently melt together the chocolate and butter until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. In a separate bowl with a whisk or electric mixer, beat together the eggs and lime-infused sugar until thick and creamy and then fold in the melted chocolate. In small bowl, sift together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in dark chocolate chips.
Chill the dough for about an hour and then preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper or a silicon mat.
Scoop dough by level tablespoon, then roll into balls. Dip the balls in shallow dish with sugar-salt-chilli mixture; swirl to coat. Place balls on lined baking sheet; flatten slightly. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes until firm and shiny. Allow to set a little before transferring to a wire rack to cool.