If you want these cookies to look more holiday-like, sprinkles with powdered sugar or fairy dust (red or silver sugar sprinkles, except for the chocolate sables)
The following recipes are adapted from What's Cooking America. It's a great site for recipes, tips, history and more.
Chocolate Espresso Cookies
3 ounces unsweetened organic fair-trade dark chocolate, chopped
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon red cayenne powder (or ground red chipotle powder)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans or instant espresso powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
As always buy the very best Chocolate. Your cookies will only be as good as the chocolate you buy!
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 large heavy baking sheets.
In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and butter, stirring until smooth, and remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and ground coffee on high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes, and beat in chocolate mixture.
Into egg mixture sift in flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips and walnuts. Let the batter rest for about 10 to 15 minutes (it thickens slightly during this time).
Do not freeze this dough
Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 2-inches apart onto baking sheets and bake in batches on the middle rack of oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top.
Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets 1 minute and then transfer to racks to cool completely. DO NOT OVER BAKE - these cookies should be slightly soft in the centers.
Makes about 40 cookies.
Chocolate Meringue Cookies
6 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1 /2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate cocoa (best grade)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or use Silicone Baking Mats
In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup cocoa and sugar together; set aside.
In a large bowl using your electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy/frothy. While beating to the frothy stage, add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract. After reaching the frothy stage, add the cocoa/sugar mixture (1 tablespoons at a time) while continuing beating until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets (1-inch apart).
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon cocoa and cinnamon. Using a sieve or a sifter, sprinkle mixture over the non-baked cookies.
Bake 90 minutes; turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and allow cookies to cool in the oven. Remove from oven and store in a tightly covered (airtight) container.
Yields 50 cookies.
Viennese Chocolate Sables
This recipe has been slightly adapted from the Chocolate Desserts cookbook by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan.
1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons Dutch-Process Cocoa
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered (confectioners) sugar
3 tablespoons lightly beaten egg whites ( Lightly beat 2 large egg whites, then measure out 3 tablespoons)
Powdered (confectioners) sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line two Cookie Sheets with Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mats. Fit a Pastry Bag with a medium-sized open star tip.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour and cocoa; set aside.
In a large bowl, using a whisk, beat the butter until it is light and creamy. NOTE: For the recipe to be successful, the butter must be very soft.
Whisk in the sugar and salt, then stir in the egg whites. NOTE: Don't be concerned when the mixture separates, as it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
Gradually add the flour/cocoa mixture and blend only until incorporated. NOTE: You don't want to work the mixture too much once the flour is added. A light touch is what will give these cookies their characteristic crumbliness.
It is easier to work with this dough in batches. Spoon about 1/3 of the dough into your Pastry Bag. Pipe the dough into "W" shaped cookies, each about 2-inches long and 1 1/4-inches wide, and place 1-inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets. If desired, you may pipe the cookies in any shape that you desire.
NOTE: If you don't have a Pastry Bag you can use a plastic bag. To use one, you just need to cut off the closed tip after filling the bag with dough to squeeze out an inch-wide portion of dough at a time.
Bake the cookies for NO MORE than10 to 12 minutes or until they are set but neither browned nor hard. Remove from oven. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure that you don't put the dough on hot baking sheets.
Before serving, you can dust the cookies with powdered sugar.
The cookies will keep well in a tightly covered tin at room temperature for approximately 1 week. They can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 1 month.
Makes a lot of cookies.