Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Forest for the Cherries

Ever since my discovery of National Hot Tea Month, World Nutella Day and National Almond Day, I was curious to see what other days and months of the year were dedicated to food and drink. Apparently, EVERY day or month has also been dedicated in honor of food. Petitions to declare a commemorative event are introduced by constituents, trade associations, hobbyists, etc. and the Senate issues commemorative proclamations, which do not have the force of law. Some state legislatures and governors also proclaim special observances, which is, I guess, why there can be two National Guacamole Days. Who are these Congresspeople using their time and power to proclaim food holidays? I'll leave that investigative journalism for the professionals.

Some of these proclamations are obvious--March 17th is Corned Beef and Cabbage Day, for example. But some, like March 15th assigned as National Pears Hélène Day, just make me wonder. I don't wonder for too long, though, because as a food blogger this works out great for me. Endless inspiration! And this is why, dear readers, I would like to wish you a Happy Black Forest Cake Day, and bring you this recipe from Martha Stewart for Black Forest Cookies.

Black Forest Cake comes from--you guessed it--the Black Forest region of Germany. Though "black forest" these days can be used to refer to any combination of chocolate and cherry, the original cake ("Schwarzwälderkirschtorte" in German) may date from as early as the 16th century. The black forest region is known for its sour cherries and a double-distilled, clear cherry brandy called Kirsch, and the black forest cake is typically made from chocolate cake layered with these cherries and whipped cream. I've actually been looking for a recipe to use up some leftover heavy cream, so I used this opportunity to make homemade whipped cream for black forest cookie towers. For those of you also in the Washington, DC region cherry blossom festival season is kicking off, and these cherry-studded cookies would be a great addition to any festival parties you might be attending.

For a list of national food holidays, click here

Black Forest Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz semi- or bittersweet chocolate chopped (or chips)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
12 oz semisweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 cups dried cherries

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Place chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in sugars, then eggs, until smooth.
3. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in chocolate chunks and cherries; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of the dough and refrigerate until firm, 30-45 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop mounds of dough equal to 2 level tablespoons about 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake just until edges are firm (but not darkening) 11-13 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. National guacamole day is my new favorite day