In this series:
Gift #1: Something with Peanut Butter
Gift #2: Cookies for the Adults
Gift #3: Salads + Spreadable Edibles
Gift #4: A Christmas Bread
Gift #5: Fabulous, Flaky Pastries
Gift #6: Cookies + Milk
Gift #7: Double Dips
Gift #8: The Dessert Comes First book – Signed + FREE Shipping!
Gift #9: A Bounty of Bread
Gift #10: A Chewy Cookie That Stays Chewy
The immediate appeal of these cookies is their attractiveness. Meticulously packaged and beribboned, the clear cellophane shines enticingly. It’s almost enough to make me forget all the people I need to gift and focus only on gifting myself with these sweets.
And then there’s that label, Love & Butter. Like the packaging, it beguiles. Penny Tan, the maker of these cookies, explains that, “I bake with all the love I have for my family, they are my first target audience. ‘Butter’ because that’s my indulgence of choice, a word that represents the real thing, the whole food ingredients that I use in everything I bake or cook.”
L-R: Sea Salt Toffee & Walnuts, Cacao Nibs with 65% Dark Chocolate, Double Chocolate with 65% Dark Chunks
Penny’s signature cookie is the Cacao Nibs with 65% Dark Chocolate. An inspired creation from her visit to the Malagos Farm in Davao, the sweet is pocked with cacao nibs. Roasted cacao beans split from their husks and fragmented, they are a superfood loaded with antioxidants. The cookie itself is only slightly sweet but resonates with soft echoes of smoke and chocolate.
I ask Penny why her cookies are so dark, almost burnt. Turns out that she uses the darkest brown sugar she can find – “…I like the more complex dark molasses background taste they give…” –expressing a preference for a darker aesthetic. In addition, she advocates using the best local ingredients, her way of supporting Philippine artisanal industries.
Aside from her highest regard for the Malagos Farm – “…they are true tree to bar chocolate makers…” – she asserts, Penny sources sea salt from Ilocos for her Sea Salt Toffee & Walnuts cookies. These are slightly chewier than the cookies with cacao nibs, and while the saltiness isn’t that evident, there’s an unexplainable addictiveness to this particular variant.
Penny bakes her cookies with European-style 82% butter; butter of this sort retains optimal butterfat and is slow-churned for less moisture (water). Less moisture encourages loftier cakes, flakier pastries, and in this case, a moister cookie with bite. The Double Chocolate with 65% Dark Chunks reminds me of that existential theory that anything that makes [me] happy is probably good for me. Apparently, it makes everyone else happy too, and I end up having to hide a few from view.
I say that these cookies are for adults because they’re endowed with ingredients best appreciated perhaps by more mature palates: nibs, dark chocolate, less sugar, etc.; yet just one of the many attributes that make these cookies unique.
Give these cookies to fellow adult cookie monsters. They’ll eat ‘em and then they’ll be gone. That’s what makes these cookies a gift.
Love & Butter: Provisions & Fine Treats by Penny Tan
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