There is a lovely restaurant called Powder that I take my mother to when I visit. It helps that it’s close to where she lives, because if I visit at any time between October and May, who knows how much snow I have to contend with getting anywhere not close.
My mother lives in Park City, Utah, which is known for its powder-like snow, thus the name of the restaurant. The restaurant is in the Waldorf Astoria, which doesn’t really seem to fit in my mind with the quaintness of Park City. The Waldorf makes me think of New York City for some reason.
In any case, when I last visited Mom in December, we dined at Powder and luckily didn’t have to deal with a blizzard.
The food has always been superb there, and the service slow but good. It seems like we have always ordered their charcuterie and cheese platter to start. Here are three of them I happened to document.
The first hurdle is always my mother fainting over how the waiter pronounces charcuterie. Being French, it’s still hard for her, even after 66 years of living in the U.S., to hear French words mis-pronounced. I’ve given up trying to convince her that charcuterie is a difficult word for Americans to say.
Also being French, my mother has a daily chocolate requirement, or at least enjoys a sweet after lunch. So after our cheese and you-know-what goodies, including an outstanding paté, we perused Powder’s dessert menu.
I ordered the Chocolate Dirt Pudding, but without the mint ice cream. She thought it would be too rich, like that’s ever stopped her!
This is what it looked like, after we both attacked it like we were starving. Not the prettiest dessert, but the black cherry fudge sauce was indescribable. Neither of us tasted the cherry part, interestingly enough, but it didn’t matter. The sauce, which was really a pudding, was fabulous.
After getting back home, I looked into Colpa Degno cookies, which were the crumbled “dirt” on the pudding. Turns out the name roughly translates to “worth the guilt.”
From Food52: Created by Megan Fitzroy Phelan, currently an owner of Richmond, Virginia’s lauded Longoven restaurant, and formerly a Sullivan Street pastry chef, these cookies are small and addictive and so delightful that they are well worth any remorse you might feel from eating a half dozen or so.
The actual cookie recipe is in this book:
I’m not much of a cookie or dessert maker, but I really wanted to recreate the dessert, including the mint ice cream, for my husband’s birthday. He loves chocolate and mint together, and he deserves a sin-worthy treat! And it all started with my making Colpa Degno.
Colpa Degno Cookies Makes 2 dozen cookies
1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 scant cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Whites from 2 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (100 g) milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup (100 g) dark chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt with a fork in a medium bowl to combine.
Whisk together the egg whites and the vanilla with a fork in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg whites; stir the mixture with the fork until it just begins to come together.
Add the chocolates and stir until well combined. The dough will be extremely sticky and as dark as black licorice.
At the bakery, we use a #60 scoop (like a small ice cream scoop) to scoop and ball these, but an ordinary 1 tablespoon measuring spoon works well too.
Pack the batter into the spoon by squashing and dragging the spoon against the inside of the bowl to make sure the rounds of dough are tight and compact – if the dough is too loosely packed, the cookies tend to really spread out and separate as they bake.
Place the rounds of dough on the parchment-lined cookie sheet a good 3” apart and bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are glossy and set.
When the cookies are done, they will be quite gooey, but they will continue to cook as they cool.
Once they’ve cooled off enough to eat, they should be soft and chewy – if they’re hard or crisp, they’ve baked too much.
Cool the cookies on the paper, set on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.