Monday, December 19, 2011

Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

The hall is decked, the cookies are baked and the candy has set—it’s time to entertain and be entertained!  I’m in the middle of a delightfully busy time.  I attended a couple of women only parties.  One of the girl parties was an ornament exchange, which I look forward to each year.  The other party was new to me this year, but it was lovely.  And, tonight I’m going to a cookie exchange.  In between the ornament and cookie exchanges, Les and I threw open the doors of our house, and had a cocktail party Saturday night.  We worked hard all day to get ready for our cocktail party, but all the hard work paid off.  Les and I had a great time at our own party.  I love when that happens!  We have a really fun group of friends who enjoy a good party, and as every hostess knows, the guests make the party.


I invited everyone to bring a dish to share, so we had some wonderfully delicious food.  I served cranberry salsa, sweet spicy nuts, caramelized onion squares (I’ll share the recipe later), double-decker fudge, brown sugar spice cookies and Italian chocolate spice cookies.  The Italian chocolate spice cookie recipe was given to me by a friend years ago (Hi Vicky!).  Les likes these cookies with a cup of coffee (sometimes for breakfast).



I have to tell you, though the Italian chocolate spice cookies were delicious, they were overshadowed a bit by the fudge, a beautiful apple pie, and a spectacular croquembouche. I had no idea Sandy and Brian were toiling over such a stunning dessert.  I should have known something was up when they were late, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when Brian paraded the croquembouche through the kitchen to the dining room where he placed it with the other desserts. (I did steal it away for a few minutes, so I could snap a few pictures.)  Sandy and Brian are fearless in the kitchen.  They have made most of the cover desserts from Fine Cooking’s holiday issues, and lucky me, I’ve even gotten to taste a few!  
 

If you are looking for a show-stopping desert, check out Fine Cooking’s croquembouche, but if you are looking for an unassuming but tasty chocolate spice cookie to share or enjoy with coffee, try these Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies.  Vicky and her mom used to make dozens of these spicy sweet cookies to share, so the original recipe made 10 dozen.  I cut the original recipe in half, but you can easily double it—just use a big bowl. 
 

Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies    
Printable Recipe
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup cocoa powder
1¼ teaspoons cloves
1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1½ teaspoons allspice
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
½ cup raisins
1 package chocolate chips
2 eggs beaten
1½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup melted Crisco
½ cup milk

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk (may need more)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put all dry ingredients into a large bowl, including nuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Mix until well blended. Make a well in the flour mixture and add eggs, vanilla, Crisco and milk. Mix the ingredients (works best if you use your hands). The dough will be sticky. Using a small scoop to measure the dough and roll into little balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will be a little soft when they first come out of the oven. They will get a little firmer when cool.

Mix powered sugar and milk to make a thick glaze. Dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and let dry. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

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