While I have to admit that I haven't been as festive as I could be this season (our Christmas decorations consist of red dish towels with reindeer on them), I wasn't going to let the season pass without a good day of holiday baking. For this day, I enlisted the help of John's sister Jill...
And his sister-in-law Nicole...
These two make me warm and fuzzy and happy inside. If the boyfriend leaves me, I'm keeping them.
There's nothing better than spending a day in the kitchen with girlfriends... Except when your day in the kitchen is preceded by a night like this... (Caveat- there were also two boys helping with red wine consumption)
That continues here...
And ends in the evacuation of this splendid seafood platter that we enjoyed earlier...
But all's well that ends well, and this story ends with Sunset Magazine's chocolate decadence cookies. These cookies are delicious little morsels, and I'm happy to report that I managed to make them successfully, even with a hangover that would have killed a small animal.
Sunset did something brilliant in their holiday issue this year. They featured four basic cookie doughs, and gave four variations for each dough, giving you much more bang for your cookie buck. The chocolate cookie dough did double duty as the base for a chocolate candy cane cookie, along with a chocolate peanut butter cookie. I love chewy cakey cookies, and these are just that.
The fun starts when you melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. If you've never used this method before, fear not, it's easy. Just boil a few inches of water, and set your glass bowl of chocolate on top of the pot. The bowl doesn't need to touch the water, the steam will be enough to melt the chocolate. Just make sure you use an oven mitt to hold on to your bowl, that glass will get HOT.
Next, admire Nicole's backsplash, and hope that someday you have a kitchen as gorgeous as hers. When you're done with that, beat in some sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Then chill the dough. The magazine says to refrigerate for 2 hours, but I gave it 15 minutes in the freezer and 30 minutes in the fridge and it was fine.
The chilled dough looks like fudge. Let it warm on the counter for about 15 minutes. You'll note that this totals about an hour of downtime, very hangover friendly! Once it's softened a bit, roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball. Repeat, spacing the balls about an inch apart.
First I tackled the peanut butter variation. Use your clean thumb to make little dents in each ball...
And fill the little wells with a teaspoon of peanut butter!
They bake up like this...
Mmmmm! A glass of cold milk is a necessity. Be careful when they're warm, they are softies and don't take kindly to being poked at (as you can see by the dented ones in the front).
The magazine also features a peppermint sandwich variation, but I modified it by making the peppermint into a topping instead of a filling. These cookies are rich, so I thought that sandwiching two of them together would be overdoing it.
Crush up some candy canes. A large Ziplock and a meat tenderizer work well here. Nicole, I hope your husband doesn't read this and see that we did it right on the countertop.
Next, make a glaze out of milk, powdered sugar, and just a touch of peppermint extract (go easy, a little bit goes a long way and you don't want it to taste like toothpaste!).
Then take a cooled cookie, dunk it in the glaze, and roll it in the candy cane!
Now bask in the glory of your accomplishments...
Chocolate Decadence Cookies
From Sunset Magazine, December 2009
Yield: Makes about 40 cookies
- 10 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet and it was delicious)
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preparation1. Put chocolates and butter in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over a pan filled with 1 in. of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in eggs and sugar, mixing until combined. Then whisk in flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
2. Let dough sit at room temperature 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 1 tbsp. portions of dough, rolling each into a ball, and put onto sheets 1 in. apart. Bake cookies until they no longer look wet on top, about 8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.
Make ahead: Batter up to 1 day; baked cookies up to 2 days, airtight.
For the peppermint glaze:
In a bowl, whisk 3 cups powdered sugar, 4 tbsp. milk, and 3/4 tsp. peppermint extract.