Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Cookies from other blogs

I was talking with OCT yesterday about our Christmas cookies project. I suggested that he bakes and decorates a batch of cookies we intend to give away. The scientist who works so efficiently on complicated zillion steps experiments gave me the excuse that it is too tough! And guys are not good at making cookies, etc. Excuses, excuses.

So I guess I have to do the baking and let him be the critic: " Hmmmm, this cookie is good, this one is too ugly, this one tastes too complicated, I think this is too hard". Sigh....

Anyway, back to the cookies. I have already tried out a few recipes, and are quite pleased with how they turned out. Meanwhile, here's the first cookies for the Christmas season:

hot chocolate cookies

When I first saw it on Joe's blog: Culinary in the Country , I know I wanted to make it. Not only does the cookies look irresistible, it is also a good use for the long forgotten Godiva Milk Chocolate Cocoa mix I have somewhere in the carbinet. And to be perfectly honest, I find it too sweet to my taste. Great, the Cocoa mix has a better place to go than into the bin! Win-win situation.

In my opinion, what makes these cookies special, are the marshmallows and chocolate drizzle on top. I like the nice contrast of crisp cookies and soft marshmallow, sweetness from the cookies and marshmallow, and the bitterness from 72% melted chocolate. The flavor is balanced in an interesting way. It takes slightly more time than the usual drop or slice cookies, as you have to bake the cookies half way through, and add the marshmallow on top towards the end. After that, they have to be cooled before the melted chocolate can be drizzled. But they are real treats.

hot chocolate cookie

I think I will try it with the dark cocoa mix when I make it next time.

The second recipe is a simple recipe with simple ingredients and pure flavor. Perfect accompaniment with a cup of coffee after dinner. I am talking about the Coffee Hazelnut Cookies from Alice Medrich's latest book "Pure Dessert", which I first saw it on Cenk's beautiful blog-Cafe Fernando. Cenk is a real artist. He can make any food looks good. Go to visit his blog if you haven't already!

coffee hazelnut cookies

Taking a glance at the ingredients list, I know this is the kind of cookies I would enjoy. Freshly grounded coffee beans and grinded hazelnuts is a flavor combo for success. The cookies are a real treat: nutty with a hint of coffee. I don't think I like it on the first bite, but as I continue chewing the cookies and allow the flavor to fill my orifice, I suddenly understand the depth and sophistication of the cookies I have just eaten. Wow. I like it.

When I served it to friends on another night, I dipped them in some chocolate gananche, leftover from a cake. I think I like the version with gananche better. Chocolate, coffee and hazelnut. My adulterated version of the "Pure Dessert".

coffee hazelnut cookies

I baked half a batch of the cookies and have half a batch of dough in the freezer. I will dip them on some tempered chocolate when I am playing with chocolate next week. (I shouldn't have used gananche because it doesn't harden and certainly isn't too impressive to look at.... )

Anyway, I am looking forward to playing with more sugar and trying my hands at candy making next week! But now, I have to think of what to bring for OCT department Christmas party next Tuesday. Arghhh...

logoI am submitting these cookies recipes to Susan's Eat Christmas Cookies event. Remember to check out her blog for more Christmas cookies ideas! And better yet, join in the fun and submit a cookie recipe, she has decided to award the best cookie with Sherry Yards' latest cookbook:Desserts by the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills: Recipes from the Sweetest Life Ever . She is such a generous girl.

Hot Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Land O Lakes, via Culinary in the Country
makes about 48 cookies.

For the cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup instant hot chocolate cocoa mix - I used a milk chocolate variety
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 large marshmallows, cut in half crosswise

For the chocolate drizzle:
1.5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa mix, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each. Mix in milk and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Using a teaspoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until the cookie are set, about 8 minutes. Remove and carefully place a marshmallow, cut side down, in the center of each cookie. Place back in the oven and continue baking until the marshmallow begins to look puffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and let cookies sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the chocolate drizzle:

Melt the chopped chocolate in microwave on high for 30 second.

Pour the melted chocolate into a zipper bag, and cut a slit at one corner. Unleash the Picaso in you and pipe away!

Coffee Hazelnut Cookies
adapted from "Pure Dessert", via Cafe Fernando

Makes 45 2-inch cookies


2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup hazelnuts (whole)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh finely ground medium-roast coffee beans, plus 45 whole beans
14 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, hazelnuts, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the hazelnuts are finely ground. Add the ground coffee and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.

Drizzle in pure vanilla extract and pulse until the dough begins to clump up around the blade.
Remove the dough and press it into a ball. Knead a few times to complete the mixing.
At this point, you can either roll the dough into a 12×2 inch log or divide the dough in half and form into 2 flat patties.

Wrap it and refrigerate at least two hours (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

If you rolled the dough into a log, cut into 1/4 inch slices and place on ungreased sheets 1 inch apart. Press a coffee bean into the center of each cookie.

Or if you formed the flat patties, roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies and place on ungreased sheets 1 inch apart.
Press a coffee bean into the center of each cookie.
Bake until golden at the edges, 14-16 minutes. Let cookies firm up at room temperature before you transfer to a rack.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for at least a month.

Instruction for people without a food processor and mixer:
Mix all the dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Grind the hazelnuts in batches, (depending how large your grinder is.Mine is a small one)add it to the flour, followed by grinding the coffee beans.

Mix all the dry ingredients well with a spatula.

Cut the butter into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, add in the vanilla. Continue to work at it until it becomes a clump.(you can use two forks too if you don't have a pastry cutter)

Remove the dough and knead a few times to complete the mixing. Follow the recipe above to chill, shape and bake the cookies.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, Mandy, you know I've seen a lot of cookies lately, but believe me when I say those Hot Chocolate ones are divine! I don't care how long it takes to bake them, they are going to be at the top of my baking list next year! Thanks for two scrumptious and beautifully presented treats for Eat Christmas Cookies! Cheers, Susan

Anh said...

I love the coffee ones! They look and so so tasty. But as greedy as I am, I want a full box full of your cookies! That will make my Xmas sweeter for sure ;)

Anonymous said...

First; just a delight to look at such beautiful photos! And then the cookies itself, are delicious, both. The hot chocolate ones are really enticing as well as beautiful, I'll have to make some!

bp said...

Ooh, Mandy, these look as wonderful as the peppermint brownies! They must all be very delicious! And just love how you dress up the pictures to give them that festive feel =)

Rasa Malaysia said...

I got a new cookie recipe that I wanted to try...thanks for the post and about the Susan's event. :)

Little Corner of Mine said...

Your cookies look soooo good! I want to eat both!

tigerfish said...

Hot choc cookies, hot choc cookies..thin and crispy. I love my cookies like that. Awesome!

Deborah said...

They both sound so wonderful, but I think I will try the hot chocolate cookies! Yum!

Mansi said...

wow Mandy! they look great!! and oh so inviting:) I too sent a batch of my favorite cookies to Susan's event!

man, there's a huge collection of fabulous cookies there!:)

Alisa said...

What a cool idea with the hot chocolate cookies, I love it!

Venus ~ Vi said...

Yum…coffee hazelnut cookies…I am a coffee addict so I can’t say no to coffee flavor anything ~~~~~~~~~~

Veron said...

What wonderful cookies. I'll a couple of each please. I have not made the coffee and hazelnut cookies from Alice's book but something tells me this is another winner.

michelle said...

Looks so yummy! Good luck in the finals!

juliemarg said...

That was the cookies that I am looking for. It's very delicious!

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