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Midnight Snack from the Donatello Room Service, San Francisco CA

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The Donatello is part of the Shell Vacations Hospitality group.  August’s parents do the time-share thing, and they offered us a room for the weekend leading up to the Chocolate Salon.  We didn’t get to bed early since we were up writing each night, and we had to get up early since we wanted to do breakfast each morning, so we technically didn’t get many hours of sleep… but we slept so well.  The bed was luxuriously comfortable.  August liked stretching out on the sectional couch to work on the weekend’s posts, and Zach got a kick out of the TV in the bathroom mirror – he got up before August to let her sleep just a little more each day, and he was able to watch some programming while showering without disturbing her.  The mini bar with a fridge, a coffee maker, and a microwave was a plus, and the complimentary Le Belge chocolate bars, Wolfgang Puck coffee, popcorn, and water bottles were greatly appreciated.  Furthermore, being on the corner of Post and Mason, it was very easy to hail a taxi every time we stepped out since we left our car with the valet.

Room service comes out of the kitchen of Zingari, the in-house Italian restaurant.  Last night, right before room service closed at 10:30, we ordered dessert.  We were too stuffed at the table at Incanto to consider anything there, so we waited until back in the room and after having digested a bit.  We both selected chocolate, and while both plates were garnished the same, the two desserts were polarized.

white chocolate profiteroles

white chocolate profiteroles

Zach’s profiteroles were filled with milk chocolate mousse, then coated with whipped cream, and liberally dusted with cocoa powder.  They didn’t match the menu description as being filled with the mousse and “white chocolate sauce & milk chocolate curls,” but it was still decent.

chocolate mousse cake

chocolate mousse cake

The liberal amount of cocoa powder was more appropriate for this darker chocolate dessert.  August likes white chocolate, but she prefers more bitterness (just like how she likes her beer).  This mousse cake was made with bittersweet chocolate, supported by a moist chocolate wafer crust.  If there was only one dessert she could have for the rest of her life, it would be something ganache-y like this.

We had met Peter the concierge Friday evening, who was a wealth of knowledge about the services of the Donatello as well as the ins and outs of the City.  The next time we’re in town (and August’s parents can swing us a room), we’re very much looking forward to our stay, further exploring the gastronomy of San Francisco.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

cran cookies 008Chef Zach came up with this idea long before attending the California Culinary Academy.  The history is that Zach does not like regular chocolate chip cookies.  White chocolate must be paired with something for it is too sweet on its own, and macadamia nuts are already commonly used with white chocolate.  For something different, he came up with white chocolate and cranberries.  Many have asked for this recipe over the years, and finally he is ready to share it here at Seasoning And Salt.

Makes 30-36 cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white chocolate chips

2 cups dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups softened salted butter

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1 1/4 cups white sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat conventional oven to 335 degrees F; convection ovens, preheat to 320 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda with a sifter or a fine pasta strainer; set aside.  Crack the eggs into a small bowl; set aside.

Add butter and sugars to a mixing bowl (separate from the flour and egg bowls).  Mix on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for one minute.  Add the eggs, one at a time, with at least 10 seconds in between to allow the eggs to combine properly with the butter and sugars.  Add the vanilla after adding the eggs.  Mix for another three minutes on medium-high speed until butter mixture is light and fluffy.

Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture.  Resume mixing, beginning at the lowest speed possible.  After about 15 seconds, when the flour starts to combine into the butter, add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Continue mixing on the lowest speed for about one to 1 1/2 minutes until the flour and butter mixtures are completely combined.  You will know when it is done, because the dough will not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl.

Using an average-size ice cream scoop, portion out 12 cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet (you will need three sheets).  Bake for 16 minutes.  Let the cookies rest for about five minutes after leaving the oven, then de-pan and transfer them to a cooling rack.