Saturday, December 12, 2009

12 Days of Cookies - Day 5

Every year Food Network releases their 12 Days of Cookies newsletter. Every year, I am crazy enough to make them - ALL of them. I have a big, 3 sided family and now being married adds more sides so we have a lot of family Christmases. Add in getting together with friends, work parties and now baby showers (YAY Alyce and Dave!) it means I have to come up with a lot of dishes to bring. I found myself stressing about it until last year. I made up all of the cookies ahead of time and whenever I had a party to attend I would just pull out my platter and load it up with various cookies - AND DONE! The glitch to that system was living in an apartment made it really hard to store dozens of a dozen types of cookies. This year, even though we are in a house, I haven't had an entire day to devote to baking so I'm making them 2 at a time. My parent's hosted their annual Capri Bakery Christmas party for all of their employees on December 6th and that was the kickoff for the holiday season. I didn't go in order with these cookies so if the days don't make sense, you know why.

Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Mexican cocoa powder (or subsitute by adding 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch ground black pepper
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
1/2 cup dulce de leche, optional
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped, optional

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk and set aside. Combine the sugars in a small bowl and mix well with your fingers pressing out any lumps. (Combine in a food processor if lumps are stubborn.)

In a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter and margarine until creamy. Add sugar mixture, cinnamon, peppers, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute. Beat in the egg white and until the mixture is smooth. Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture, beating on the lowest speed, just until incorporated.

Gather the dough together with your hands and form it into a neat log, 9 to 10 inches long by 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Fold or twist ends of the paper without pinching or flatting the log. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes, or until needed.

Put the oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Use a sharp knife to slice rounds of chilled dough, a scant 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the cookies, 1-inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through. Cookies will puff and crackle on top, and then begin to settle down slightly when done.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing or stacking. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 2 months.

To spice things up, after the cookies are baked, let them cool on a wire rack, drizzle with dulce de leche and sprinkle chopped almonds on top.

Lessons Learned

I totally copied and pasted this recipe because I didn't feel like typing it out. Just putting that out there. However, here's what I learned when doing this.

1. It pays to have better tools! Last year, I was rocking dull knives and borrowed my mom's older stand mixer plus all my other stuff was college leftovers. Thanks to everyone who blessed us with amazing wedding gifts this past year, I have much better baking tools and it makes life easier! I am IN LOVE with my Kitchenaid and Nick was laughing at me as I talked to my knives and thanked them for staying so sharp.

2. Dulce de Leche - pretty much caramel.

3. These cookies were delish!

1 comment:

lotus said...

yay to a good stand mixer ;) and knives! and yum to this recipe!