Ever wonder about the origins of Black Forest Cake? No, me neither. BUT – I’m going to tell you anyway. Our good friends at wikipedia explain that:
The cake is named not directly after the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) mountain range in southwestern Germany but rather from the specialty liquor of that region, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser) and distilled from tart cherries. This is the ingredient, with its distinctive cherry pit flavor and alcoholic content, that gives the cake its flavour. Cherries, cream, and Kirschwasser were first combined in the form of a dessert in which cooked cherries were served with cream and Kirschwasser, while a cake combining cherries, biscuit and cream (but without Kirschwasser) probably originated in Germany.
Wikipedia also tells us that:
Typically, Black Forest cake consists of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. Then the cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. In some European traditions sour cherries are used both between the layers and for decorating the top. Traditionally, Kirschwasser (a clear liquor distilled from tart cherries) is added to the cake, although other liquors are also used (such as rum, which is common in Austrian recipes). In the United States, Black Forest cake is most often prepared without alcohol. German statutory interpretation states Kirschwasser as a mandatory ingredient, otherwise the cake is legally not allowed to be marketed as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.
Interesting. I guess I’ve broken a German law here, because I would definitely market these cookies as “Black Forest”. Oh well, the German authorities can come take me away, these are good enough to go to jail for. Cherries, dark chocolate and whipped cream…absolute cookie heaven.
Here’s the story: I had some time alone in the kitchen this weekend and a bag of these great cherry chips that I found on a recent trip to Grand Forks (for those of you not from Winnipeg, Grand Forks is our closest US shopping destination).
I had no idea what I might use these in, when it dawned on me – they seem like a great way to infuse a deep cherry flavour into a chocolate chip cookie, no? Well that’s exactly what I did. My problem became: how do I incorporate the whipped cream? Well the answer to that problem is courtesy of Fran – the wonderful friend of mine who does my nails. She is also the inspiration behind The Boxing Glove Cake. Fran thought it might be a good idea to make a sandwich cookie. Oh, and how right she was.
I made a dark chocolate cookie, incorporating the cherry chips together with some shredded coconut and Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips (I know, I took some liberties with the addition of coconut, but you have to trust me on this one – it brings it all together). I first tried making a small brownie shaped cookie, which I topped with a dollop of whipped cream (“dollop” is such a funny word, isn’t it? Say it a few times in a row to yourself, you’ll see what I mean).
Then I decided to trust Fran’s cookie instinct and do the sandwich thing. She was right – this was the way to go.
In order to get the whipped cream to “play” nicely between the layers of cookie without soggying them up – I used some whipped cream stabilizer (if you’ve never tried it, you should, it really works wonderfully).
Have I mentioned I haven’t put away my Christmas decorations yet? Yikes.
Anyway… here they are, the Black Forest May Long Cookies. I think they’re beautiful. The ECBF says they are the best thing I’ve ever made – huge praise don’t you think? He can sometimes be a little bit brutally critical of my baking – all in an effort to make me a better baker. I would really like for him to be a better dishwasher. Or a better thing putter away-er. That’s where I get to be critical. But we’re all trying here, right? That’s what counts.
As a complete aside, you may have noticed a slight improvement in my picture-taking skills. It’s true, I had the benefit of my class last weekend AND, this weekend I had the pleasure of having dinner with a friend and her husband – who is a real-life photographer! Of course we brought our cameras, and I’m pleased to tell you that he shared a few tips and tricks with me. Keep your fingers crossed that my pictures continue to get less fuzzy. I am learning. I am determined. I will get better.