Category: Cookies

Cooking with Jean-Luc Rocha

This summer, we had several friends staying at Château Cordeillan-Bages , a beautiful ‘relais-château‘ located in the heart of Médoc. They loved every moment of their stay, but most importantly, they adored the hotel’s restaurant, headed by chef Jean-Luc Rocha. When I told them that I had the chance to meet him and cook by his side, they couldn’t wait to see the recipes and try them out.

Jean-Luc’s predecessor for nine years was chef Thierry Marx – a household name is French gastronomy. Upon his departure, Jean-Luc managed to immediately maintain the prestige of the château’s restaurant and preserve the two Michelin stars. Jean-Luc is a real maestro at his work – his innovative modern touch reflects his passion and love for fine cuisine.

Chef Jean-Luc Rocha

For ‘Manger’, Jean-Luc will be sharing his seasonal recipes. Today he chose two desserts very close to his childhood and his heart – ‘the riz au lait‘ just like his grandmother made, with sprinkled Moroccan cinnamon (she had a talent for making beautiful forms and figures by sprinkling cinnamon). And an elegant set of ‘black and white’ ‘sablés‘ biscuits, something he enjoys making at home with his kids as well as at the restaurant.

I felt incredibly lucky getting cooking tips from such a grand chef – his creativity is boundless. Just as he finished making the riz au lait, he decided to make another ‘last-minute’ dessert – a gastronomical version of ‘riz au lait’. Take half the portion of the warm riz au lait and blend in a food processor for 3 minutes until the texture is smooth like cream. Transfer to a ‘whipping cream dispenser’ and chill for 1 hour. In ramequins, place 3 tbsp of chilled ‘riz au lait’, then squeeze an adequate amount of the ‘blended‘ riz-au lait in the shape of a spiraled meringue. Sprinkle with orange and lemon zest.

Riz au lait (serves 4)

130 g arborio rice (rinsed in cold water and drained)
10 scrapes of orange zest
10 scrapes of lemon zest
500 g double cream
600 g milk
1 vanilla pod (split open and scraped – optional)
120 g egg yolk
140 g caster sugar
Ground cinnamon for decorating (optional)

Rinse the rice in cold water and drain. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy. Set aside.
Mix the rice, orange/lemon zest, cream, vanilla and milk in a saucepan and bring to a soft boil on a low heat for 20 minutes. Off the heat, add the egg yolks and sugar mix to the rice, return to a low heat on and off stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes. Finally, add one pinch of fleur de sel/salt. Set aside and chill before serving. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon to decorate. You can create figures of your choice by sprinkling lightly using your fingertips (see photos).

Black and White Sablés

Plain dough
150 g plain flour (sifted)
100 g butter (softened at room temperature)
50 g icing/confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp egg

In a food processor, combine and mix sifted flour, butter and icing sugar. Mix for 3 minutes, then add 2 tbsp of egg and mix for 10 seconds. Roll in a shape of a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Cocoa dough
115 g plain flour (sifted)
75 g butter (softened at room temperature)
38 g icing/confectioner’s sugar
12 g cocoa powder
2 tbsp egg

In a food processor, mix sifted flour and cocoa powder. Add the icing sugar, followed by the butter. Mix for 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of egg and mix 10 more seconds.

Preheat oven to 170 C.
On a slightly floured parchment paper covered surface, roll the plain dough and the cocoa dough separately to a 1 cm/half-inch thickness. Tip: You can use a 1 cm thick cubic bar to align the dough on both sides to create an even dough (sold at your local hardware store). With a sharp knife or dough cutter, cut 1 cm thick strips. Align each strips to your liking (3 strips on three rows). Roll the aligned strips in the parchment paper to secure the strips and transfer to the refrigerator or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Slice ‘sablés’ and place on baking sheet in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on thickness of ‘sablés’). Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve.

Home-made ‘Oreo’ cookies

This is a relatively easy recipe for ‘Oreo’ cookie lovers. These cookies are delicious and look amazing! This is a ‘must-try’ recipe. My kids love these home-made ‘Oreos’. A real treat!
Last saturday I dedicated a whole afternoon trying out various ‘Oreo’ recipes and decided make two types of filling to taste. All the american recipes include ingredients that I can’t find here in Médoc, so I came up with my own versions and they taste great. The vanilla cream is close to the real thing, and the white chocolate cream is very special. So it’s up to you to decide which one you want to try. Try both!

Ingredients (make about 10 large cookies or 20 small)

180 grs plain flour
80 grs unsweetened cocoa powder
7 grs baking powder
Dash of salt
180 grs sugar
110 grs plus butter, room temperature
1 large egg


1) Vanilla cream
110 grs butter (room temperature)
280 grs Icing sugar
1 and a half tps vanilla essence


2) White chocolate cream
10 cl double cream
180 grs white chocolate (melted)
1 tps vanilla essence
150 grs icing sugar

Pre-heat oven 180° celcius

For the cookies dough: Mix all the ingredients together until you get a good batter that you can easily roll with a rolling-pin. If the colour is not dark enough to your liking, add a bit more cocoa powder until you achieve the ‘Oreo’ dark brown colour. On a slightly floured parchment paper surface, roll out the cookie dough to 5 millimeters thickness and cut out perfectly round shape either with a round cookie cutter or, like I did, a wine glass 5-6 cm diameter). Should you prefer smaller cookies, find a 4-5 cm diameter glass or cookie cutter. Bake on parchment covered baking tray for 9 minutes in you like them not too hard, 11 minutes if you like them crispy. When ready cool on a wire cookie rack.

For filling recipe number 1) Combine the butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence to form a uniform smooth dough, like play-dough. Don’t hesitate to add icing sugar to get the desired texture.

For recipe filling recipe 2) In a saucepan melt the white chocolate. Add the cream and heat on a low fire for 3 minutes. Stir well and leave to cool. Once cooled, add the icing sugar gradually until you get the desired texture.

When the cookies are cool, spoon the cream filling and make your ‘Oreo’ cookie sandwich. I put the cream in a pastry bag with a standard tip and piped the filling to make it look nicer. It’s great fun to make and the kids can assist you in making their dream cookies.

ps: My kids suggested that next time we make this, we should add food colouring to the cream filling so we can make multi-coloured ‘Oreo’ cookies! I like that idea!