Friday, December 25, 2009

Cookies Galore

This year for the holidays, instead of giving gifts that I bought in the store, I decided to gift tins of  homemade cookies to friends and family.  Being inspired by the NYTimes feature on holiday cookies, I decided to try a few recipes out.    I ended up making 5 different types of cookies. 

1.  Chocolate Shortbread Hearts:  When I saw the recipe for these in the NYTimes, I was really excited because I LOVE chocolate shortbread cookies.  The recipe tells you to chill the dough overnight.  I found the dough to be too difficult to work with after a whole night of chilling.  So next time I will just chill for an hour.  I would also up the cocoa powder and use a little less sugar.  These cookies, while good, are not chocolatey enough for my tastes and a tad too sweet as well.   But they sure are beautiful!

2.  Russian Snowballs:  These cookies are not only easy to make, but super super delicious as well.  I used slivered almonds in the dough that I processed in my mini-prep food processor and then toasted.   Toasting the almonds is worth the extra step.    The double dipping they get in powdered sugar, once while they're still hot, once after they've cooled, is a very important step.  A friend of a friend told me they are also called Mexican Wedding Cookies.  They are buttery and delicious.  

3.  Since I am obsessed with all things chocolate, I decided to see if I could make a chocolate version of the Russian Snowballs.  I used the same basic recipe, but added dutch-processed cocoa powder in at the butter & sugar step.  I then rolled them in powdered sugar while they were still hot and then in a mixture of cocoa powder and powered sugar after they were cool. A friend of mine suggested calling them Manhattan Snowballs.  I think I will call them Chocolate Surprises and put a dark chocolate chip in the center of each one. 

4.  Candy Cane Cookies:   The woman who posted the recipe for these cookies raved about them, so I decided to try them for myself. They are an almond shortbread with a dusting of candycane and powdered sugar.  They are a bit of a pain to make since you have to roll out two separate doughs and twist them together.  However, they are very tasty and beautiful as well. The crushed candy cane topping paired with the almond is an interesting and delicious flavor combination.
5.  Chocolate White Chocolate Chip: These cookies are simply divine.  If you like chocolate and you like cookies, you will LOVE these.  They look like they are just regular chocolate cookies.  But they are more like chocolate heaven.  They're best when they come right out of the oven and the chips are slightly melted.  I consider these my signature cookie and they are always a hit when I bring them to parties.  The secret is that there is hardly any flour in them.  For an entire batch, there is just 1/4 cup of flour.  I gave this recipe to one of my dearest girlfriends who made them and decided that I had screwed up the ratio, so she tripled the flour to 3/4 cup.  The cookies were just not the same.  I'm not giving out the recipe for these cookies anymore!

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