Tarragon & Chocolate -- Who Knew?

Saturday, June 24, 2006
This is the first year we have tarragon in the garden. Michael tried to grow it from seed, but nothing ever germinated so we ended up buying a small plant that was about 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide. It has since branched out quite a lot and we now have plenty to cook with.

Tarragon has a flavor that is similar to anise or licorice, so I was wondering what I could make with it. I know it's a nice complement to chicken or seafood, but I wondered about using it in a dessert. (Leave it to me to think about dessert before the main course.)

Searching around the Web, I found that Chockylit's Cupcake Bakeshop has a delectable-looking recipe for Chocolate Tarragon Cupcakes with Tarragon Cream Cheese Frosting. These looked and sounded absolutely divine to me, but I was worried about having chocolate cupcakes in the apartment all weekend. I know I wouldn't have enough willpower to refrain from eating too many of them. I have such a weakness for any kind of chocolate cake, and with cream cheese frosting, too? Forget it.

I was really intrigued by the tarragon-chocolate combination, though, so I continued my search and found a recipe for Chocolate Tarragon Biscotti. I thought I could show more restraint with these, and perhaps even have them around to enjoy for several days.

The recipe I used is by Renee Van Hoy of Renee's Tea Party and can be found here. I made a few changes to it -- adding more tarragon and using only half the sugar.

Here is the recipe, with my modifications.

Chocolate Tarragon Biscotti
2 cups flour
1/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TBsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the wet mixture and the chocolate chips to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Turn the dough onto a piece of wax paper and divide into two portions. Knead each portion a few times and place on the baking sheet. Shape each portion into a log approximately 8 inches long, two inches wide. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. Place on a cutting board and trim off the ends. Slice the logs into 3/4 inch slices. Put the slices back on the cookie sheet and bake for 5 - 10 minutes more. Longer cooking will result in a crisper cookie. Makes 20 biscotti. They will keep for several days in a sealed container.

These were so delicious and smelled so good! They taste very similar to an anise cookie, but are even better because of the chocolate. I will definitely make these again.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Virginie of Absolutely Green in Nantes, France. Visit her site on Monday for a recap of everyone's recipes.


Blogger Virginie said...

This so so incredible : cookies with tarragon and chocolate ! I love the tarragon and the chocolate but have never thought about mmixing them together. I must try this. Thank you for posting it.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Sigruns German Garden said...

Christa, you have asked my about this Garden Hohenstein in the Back Forest. It is in Tutschfelden, nearby the Golf place. There are signposts on the street. You can find it, if you want. Before september you can contact me, and I can ask, when the garden is open. It is not open each day, but all 14 days.


7:08 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thank you, Sigrun. I'll be in touch before our trip. I think we'll be going in late September.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not have put the two together--tarragon & chocolate, but you have proven it is an excellent combination. I want to try this recipe. All your photos make everything look scrumptious!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Judith, I never would have put the two together either, but it's true -- they make a good combination. It was nice to try out something a little different. My husband and I really like these. The only thing I would change is to bake them a little longer next time, to make them crispier.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Very interesting post. I haven't ever tried growing tarragon. I keep meaning to, but I always forget it when I plant the herbs. I don't like the dried tarragon much, but the fresh is great.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

this is an interesting recipe indeed. i have a weekly post about great recipes in the blogosphere and would love to link your post in this week. maybe use your photo (with credits) as well. let me know if this is a problem for you.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles Palmer (a wonderful chef from NYC) in his segment for Julia Childs did a wonderful Warm Chocolate tarragon cake served beautifully with cream, choclate sauce, and divine cookies. You should check out PBS and watch it. Great combination!!!

5:02 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thanks for letting me know about that episode on PBS. I'll have to look it up. I'd love to see it!

8:56 PM  

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