Friday, December 4, 2015

National Cookie Day: Rich Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

National Cookie Day is a great day to celebrate! We can never have enough cookies--or cookie recipes--at my house. As much as I love Chocolate Chip cookies, Chocolate Cookies are my favorite. I love a good crisp chocolate cookie with a rich chocolate taste. As always that is achieved by excellent quality chocolate or cocoa and a perfect recipe.

I saw this recipe in the New York Times the other day as the cover story of The Holiday Issue, and I realized I've made this recipe in the past. You'll love it. And, since the holidays are coming up, get out your holiday cookie cutters for this cookie. I love that the NYT baker used a reindeer cutter for the cover shot. Reindeer Cookie Cutters are my favorite, and I have several. That's because my last name is Rudolph! For the red noses on chocolate cookies, use a bit of red icing. You can make it, or buy a can or mix at the store. These cookies can be decorated, but why mess with a good thing? I like my cookies unadulterated. If you do decorate these cookies, use royal icing. Of course, you can use other shaped cookie cutters, such as Santa, Stars, Christmas Trees. Get creative with your cutters!

This recipe was sent to The New York Times several years ago by Mari Pfeiffer, a reader in California; it’s from the cookbook “Great Cookies,” published in 2003 byCarole Walter. The cookies have a great flavor of cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate and espresso powder.

RICH CHOCOLATE REINDEER COOKIES


Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sifted Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp sweet butter, slightly softened
1 cup superfine sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 tsp boiling water
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted in double boiler (I use 90% cacao from Guittard)
Optional: Royal icing, for decorating

Directions
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl of  standing mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and light in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar in steady stream, continuing to beat for 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and espresso mixture. Continue beating, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, then mix in  melted chocolate.

Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients in two batches, mixing just enough to combine after each addition. Divide dough in two and form into two flattened disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Roll out chilled dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper until it's 3/16-inch thick. Cut into shapes, using cookie cutters of different sizes to use as much dough as possible. (The dough will not be as good if it is rolled out a second time.) Transfer cookies to baking sheets, 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating sheets once to ensure even baking, or until cookies look set on top and have slight sheen. Remove from oven and wait 2 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool. Frost with royal icing, if desired. 

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