Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Cookies

Have you baked with browned butter?  It might be my new fav ingredient.  I don't usually indulge in all these, let alone all at once, but my spouse loves to bake and 'tis the season.  Happy Solstice!

Molasses Crisps with Candied Ginger

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces
1 3/4 cups evaporated cane sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift in the cocoa and set aside.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time; then beat in the vanilla.  Beat in the dry ingredients just until combined.

Roll the dough into quarter-sized balls. Roll the dough balls in the remaining cane sugar, then in the powdered sugar until covered. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350°F until they are crackled and puffed, 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.  Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Variations
Substitute the vanilla with peppermint extract or ground cinnamon
Roll the dough around around a piece of candy (chocolate, caramel, candied fruit, marshmallow) before rolling it in sugar

Brown Butter & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies stuffed with Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
1/2 pound butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups evaporated cane sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sour cream or yogurt
2 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate raindrops, organic and direct trade from OB People's
1 jar of chocolate hazelnut butter - organic at OB People's
flaky sea salt for sprinkling (I like Murray River from Salt Farm at the Little Italy Farmers Market)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to foam, whisk constantly until the butter begins to brown and has a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Allow to cool and blend in the sugar. Beat in the egg and egg yolk, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and sour cream. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill your dough and chocolate hazelnut butter for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Once dough is chilled measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc in your palm.  Make a depression in the middle and place a rounded 1/2 teaspoon of chilled chocolate hazelnut butter and fold dough around it; gently roll into a ball. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and gently flatten, just slightly.

Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown (they will look under cooked in the middle). Sprinkle each cookie with a few flakes of sea salt right after they come out of the oven, and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen.  Adapted from Clara Persis

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