September 29, 2014

My FAVORITE cookies

This past summer a friend of mine shared a little taste of heaven with me. Mexican Hot Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. They are FANTASTIC!!! They have become my new favorite recipe.

These are from the Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup almond flour (I didn't have so I just used an extra 1/2 cup of regular flour)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar 
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or finely ground coffee (I leave this out)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (I use regular size and probably do about a cup)
About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting (I roll the balls in the sugar before baking)

Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
Whisk the flours (dry ingredients) together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until the mixture is pale in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the speed down to low, add the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, espresso (I never have this so I leave it out), salt, and cayenne pepper, and continue to mix until the mixture is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture in thirds until just combined. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.

Transfer the dough to another bowl and finish mixing by hand to make sure no bits of flour or butter are hiding on the bottom of the bowl and the dough is thoroughly mixed.

Use a small scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.

Flatten each cookie with a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar, or gently flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand and then dust the tops with sugar. (I roll the balls in sugar and flatten with a mason jar) They will have little cracks in the top. Refrigerate the cookies for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours.  (I am too impatient to refrigerate so I bake right away and have no problem) Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, Cool the cookies completely on wire racks. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

With all recipes I never seem to be able to leave them alone. I like to adjust or add to or just try different variations for some reason. My kids like these even better than the shortbreads. I think because of the eggs it adds more of a chewiness than the shortbreads (which I think I prefer). Both are delicious though! The new recipe is below :) I have already eaten 4 of these today. Step AWAY. I so lack self control.

2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325
Heat butter & cocoa on low heat until all melted and blended together (remove from heat & cool)
Mix eggs, sugars, & extracts in mixer
Add butter/cocoa mixture
In separate bowl mix all other dry ingredients well
Add to wet ingredients
Fold in chocolate chips

Bake for 13 minutes (this was my magic number)

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