Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Early this morning, more than 100 people were killed or injured at an Orlando, Florida gay hotspot simply for who they loved. The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub is another in a long string of attacks against the LGBTQ community – in fact, there have been more than 10 transgender people murdered in the United States in the first five months of 2016 alone.

As President Obama said:

This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.

So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.

I cannot fathom such hate any more than I understand the fear mongering and ugly lies spread by those who seek special legal protection for discrimination based on religious belief. Not understanding, I have turned to baking and hope that bittersweet chocolate can give me some solace, even if it can’t fill the hole in my heart.

This started as a recipe from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company that I’ve added Creme de Cacao and pecans.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cookies

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli Bittersweet Baking Chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Creme de Cacao (or vanilla extract)
1/3 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
2 -3 tablespoons flake sea salt

In  a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Remove from heat. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. In another bowl, mix together sugar and eggs, combine thoroughly and slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir to combine. Add Creme de Cacao or vanilla extract and mix. Stir in flour mixture. Cool for a few minutes (if batter is warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Chill for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Top each cookie lightly with a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Do not over bake cookies as they will continue to cook once removed from the oven. Cookies should be soft and gooey in the center.

Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page taking donations to help the Pulse shooting victims. In addition, I ask for you to please stand with the LGBTQ community and not against us. We are not the demons the religious extremists have tried to make us out to be. We are your brothers and your sisters and we, too, want to live our lives without fear.

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