Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I was drawn to this cookie because the recipe was so simple and and because I had never really thought about a chocolate sugar cookie. Unfortunately, I think basic chocolate cookies like this one are often dry and bland. Thankfully, this is not that cookie. In fact, I was quite surprised when they came out of the oven, and basically could not stop eating them. They have much more cocoa flavor than I expected, and they have great texture as well.

In addition to the simplicity of the recipe, I wanted to make something that would let me use my flower cookie cutters. At first I planned on just making them in three sizes, but then I went a little crazy with cut-outs. Then, again, I also didn't plan on frosting them. About halfway through the baking process I figured I just couldn't resist and I had some free time anyway and really they were begging for it right? (Right?)

And, ok, you may want to kill me for posting a recipe that includes rolling out dough when it is basically the most humid "spring" we've had a in a while, and I apologize sincerely. As consolation, though, I would offer that this dough was not the toughest roll-out dough I've ever worked with. Although it required a heck of a lot of flour, more flour than you should need (lest it throw off the recipe), with fast hands and all of the cookie sheets in place you can make these without too much frustration. (However, I would seriously consider having a bench scraper handy).

For the icing, I simply blended powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until it was the consistency of elmer's glue. I thought it complimented the cookies nicely, and it filled my otherwise unengaged afternoon. In addition, the little white flowers I used were Wilton Giant Daisy sprinkles (I just picked out all the white ones). I used a combination of piping and dipping the cookies in the icing. I think dipping the cookies gives them the best shape and sheen, as seen below. If you don't feel like going to the trouble of icing, however, dipping the cut cookies in sanding sugar would also produce a sweet and crunchy cookie.

I think these cookies are great, and they would be a particularly great recipe to make with little kids because of the simplicity of the recipe, the possibility of cut-outs, and the fun of icing them.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies of all different sizes

1 cups and 6 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1large eggs1

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of your kitchen aid or with hand beaters, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Finally, add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Take the dough out of the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate/ freeze for about one hour or until firm enough to roll. (I let mine siti n the freezer for about 45 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. If you're making cookies of different sizes, try to put the cookies in the groups according to size so they all take the same time to bake.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a very floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (1 cm). Flip the dough over as you role to make sure it doesn't stick. Cut out desired shapes, land transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Put the cookie sheets back in the fridge once you fill up a sheet so that they can firm up again. If they are too hot when you place them in the oven they will spread and lose their shape.

You can now sprinkle/ roll cookies in sanding sugar, if you want.

Bake cookies for about 10 - 12 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure that the frosting on the cookies dries completely before storing! This took a few hours for me. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

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