Here Cookie, Here Cookie, Cookie Cookie Cookie
Or, to put it another way: Stop her before she bakes again.
I expect to discuss the Christmas Ham in the very near future, and may also pony up a picture of The Tree.
But first, even without cues from the weather, little miss knee jerk has responded to the usual stimulae in the usual fashion. Five or six pounds of butter, along with a similar weight of nuts but vastly less sugar - one of the reasons home made cookies taste so much better than store bought - have already been put to use and I can tell there’s more to come.
The recipe for the gingerbread is here; rum balls are here and vanilla crescents here. The jumbles are David Schama’s Jumbles, via Rose Levy Berenbaum. The dark ones are the original (almonds, pecans, bittersweet chocolate and raisin); the pale ones are pistachio, white chocolate and apricot. Recipe is at the end of this post, where there are also recipes for Bill’s favorite spritz and my favorite pffernuesse and a link to James Beard’s Let’s Sugar Cookies, the recipe I use - with a little less sugar and a little more mace..
I told you I wasn’t finished yet.
Mexican Chocolate Chocolate Chip Refrigerator Cookies
The Mexican part is cinnamon and almonds; there is no hot pepper. (If after all the recent overuse that combo’s still ringing your bell, I’m sure you could add a bit.) Be warned that these are crisp cookies. They have only the chips in common with the kind of “chocolate chip cookies” the phrase brings to mind, and if you use chocolate without emulsifiers they won’t even have that.
For about 40 cookies:
1 ¼ c. all purpose flour
3 tbl. cocoa
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. clove
(a generous pinch of salt if you’re using unsalted butter)
4 oz. butter, malleable but not squishy
¾ c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ c. small chips of bittersweet chocolate*
½ – ¾ c. finely chopped almonds
1. In a small bowl, stir flour, cocoa, spices (and salt if using) with a wire whisk until they’re well combined. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar; beat in the egg and vanilla; then stir in the flour mixture and lastly the chips.
3. The dough will be soft, but firm enough to form into rolls. If it isn’t, chill just long enough to shape. Set the almonds out on a plate. Divide dough in half.
4. Shape each half into a roll about 1 ½ ” in diameter and roll in the almonds, pressing to embed them. Wrap the rolls tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. The rolls freeze well for longer storage if wrapped again in something more protective.
5. At baking time, heat oven to 350. Cut rolls into slices about 3/8ths inch thick and put the slices about an inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake just until a broken cookie looks dry inside, 10 to 12 minutes or more depending on your oven. If the first broken cookie isn’t done, leave it on the sheet and break one of the halves for the next check.
6. Let cool a moment on the sheets, then transfer to a rack. Cookies will be soft when removed from the oven and become crisp on cooling.
* Chopped up high-end candy bar is fine. The chocolate chips I use are the little drops of Michel Cluizel couverture Kayambe Noir (72%) sold by Chocosphere.
A Note about the Jumbles:
Using chopped white chocolate (in this case Caillebaut) and apricots instead of bittersweet and raisins yields a very different texture because the fat melts out of the chocolate and the apricots don’t absorb as much moisture as raisins do. Result is a richer, crisper, flatter cookie.