Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cookie Exchange

I was invited to a cookie exchange for last Friday night. I was excited to attend. I made cookie dough on Wednesday night, and baked some of the cookies on Thursday night. I was baking more cookies on Friday morning, when I got the news a dear friend passed away early Friday morning from complications due to leukemia. I was devastated to learn of Monique’s death. She was the most spiritual, loving and giving person I know. She was a wonderful wife and mother to three young children. I am deeply saddened by Monique’s death.

In light of everything, I couldn’t decide if I should go to the cookie exchange. Another friend of mine reminded me that Monique would have wanted me to go to the party, and she was right. Monique loved food, cooking and baking. She would have appreciated a party dedicated to food. I decided to attend the party, and I’m glad I did. Being around the laughter and joy of supportive women was a balm to my sadness. Monique would have enjoyed the party. I will always miss you Monique!

Here are the cookies I brought to the cookie exchange (the one’s I didn’t burn when I received the sad news). I enjoyed both cookies, but my favorite is the molasses crinkle.

Molasses Crinkles
From Best of Fine Cooking Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
granulated sugar for rolling

At least 3 hours before baking, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger cinnamon, cloves and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the oil until blended. Scrape the bowl, add the molasses and the egg, and beat until blended. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Once the dough has chilled for three hours, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Measure the dough into tablespoon-size pieces and roll each piece between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar, and place the cookies two inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake until the center of the cookies is barely dry about 9 to 10 minutes. Don’t over bake. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 36 3-inch cookies.

Dark Chocolate Crackles
From Best of Fine Cooking Cookies
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa, sifted if lumpy
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ lb bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled until barely warm
¾ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup granulated sugar; more as needed

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 to 5 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, cocoa, orange zest and vanilla until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time beating briefly between additions. Add the melted chocolate and mix until melted chocolate and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost completely blended, about 1 minute. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until blended, about 15 seconds.

Shape the dough into 1¼ inch balls. Don’t refrigerate the dough or you will have a difficult time rolling it into balls (don’t ask how I know). Roll the balls in the granulated sugar and set on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are puffed and cracked on top about 11-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and them transfer them to a wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

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