Monday, December 22, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

I know. I know. Another cookie recipe? I told you about my obsession with making cookies around the holidays, and so I just decided that I would revel in my cookie enthusiasm instead of trying to fight it. With the holidays comes joy, and joy is often found in cookies. There is nothing that I enjoy more than dipping gingerbread men in a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It seems naughty. Or nice? Either way, I can't help myself. The spices of the gingerbread, the dark roast steeped in my French press, and the morbid act of dismembering cookie folks in the darkness of dawn creates this blissful memory. This is how December mornings should be. No matter how sleep deprived, living this memory makes the world right. And so I share with you, my beloved gingerbread cookie recipe, for which to tempt your own holiday memories.

This recipe has been modified from its original in Cooks Illustrated. These cookies are chewy and full of robust ginger flavor!

Gingerbread Cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or just use unbleached flour)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter, softened but cool and cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. Stop the mixer, and add the butter pieces, and mix at medium- low speed until the mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1 1/2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and with the mixer running, slowly add the molasses and milk, and mix until the dough is evenly moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 more seconds.

Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Cover the dough with another sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Place the rolled out dough- still between the layers of parchment or plastic, on a cookie sheet, and freeze until firm- 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350. Remove the dough sheets from the freezer and cut into desired shapes. Place the cut outs on another baking sheet, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the outsides begin the brown slightly and the cookie seems set. Do not over bake. Allow cookies to cool. Dip into a hot cup of coffee early in the morning, or alternately frost and decorate the cookies.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chewy Gooey Hot Chocolate Cookies

There is something about Christmas that turns me into a manic cookie maker. Cookies of all shapes and flavors come pouring out of the kitchen, and end up in the hands of teachers, coworkers, neighbors, and friends. Cookies are sort of like payments to enhance friendships, rejuvenate bonds between kin folks, and bribe the neighbors. You had a crappy day- here's some espresso shortbreads. Can you borrow me a bale of straw- please stuff your face with these gingerbread reindeer. Your car is stuck in a snow bank because the icy road you drive everyday has you wondering if you're on an episode of ice road truckers- please have some hot chocolate cookies. Yes, I'll fetch you a glass of milk.

Hot chocolate has warmed the souls of many a skier, ice climber, dog musher, and snowman maker. Warm, liquid chocolate adorned with melty marshmallows....the perfect ending to a hard day of snow play. I stumbled upon this cookie recipe on another food blog called, 'Fork, Knife, and Swoon' (super great name!). Laura, the creator, has plenty of fabulous holiday recipes if you are in need of a little inspiration! Hot Chocolate Cookies are not only the work of a master mind, but they are also flourless and full of chocolate. What's not to love?!

My husband photo bombed my cookie batter!

Chewy Gooey Hot Chocolate Cookies

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
large marshmallows

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso powder, salt and cinnamon and mix together until well combined.

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and the egg yolk until light and fluffy and very well mixed together. Stir the eggs into the dry ingredients until combined. It may seem dry and stiff at first, but it all comes together in the end. Fold in the vanilla and the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter in heaping tablespoons, onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the cookies begin to puff and crackle. Then top each cookie with a marshmallow and bake an additional 2 minutes, or until the marshmallow puffs and begins to melt.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Serve warm and gooey to your dearests. Store leftovers in an air tight container. Belly up!!

Chewy Gooey Hot Chocolate Cookies