When I travel, I collect matchboxes, photos, and (like many cooks) recipes. Sometimes it’s an easy matter of recreating from memory a dish I ate in a restaurant (I still make the smoked trout, sliced almond, and mozzarella pizza that wowed me at a brewpub in Bozeman, Montana, years ago). Other times, a recipe is required to clone a favorite eating experience.
Such was the case on a recent trip to Las Vegas, after I experienced the chocolate nirvana that is the Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies made by Francois Payard. I had heard about this cookie for years (we chocoholics have our own network) and despite living a short train ride from Payard’s Manhattan store, it was only when walking by his boutique in Ceasar’s Palace casino that I finally was able to indulge.
On returning home, it didn’t take much searching online to find a copy of Payard’s fudgy, decadent cookies. Sunday morning, when most people were probably whipping up omelets or pancakes (or just trying to get through the paper), I decided it was time for a batch. The batter came together easily; after just 14 minutes in the oven, I had a recreation of the crisp-outside, gooey-inside cookies I had last enjoyed in the heat of the Vegas desert. Besides flourless, they are also butterless, using only egg whites, which gives them a macaroon-like exterior.
Have you had luck recreating a dish you loved at a restaurant? Tell me about it!