Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Look at Cookies

Again, let me apologize for not sharing a good recipe with you last week.  I have a better one this week – I promise. 
So toward the end of college I was working for a cookbook author, preparing to work again with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s Foodways section, and waitressing in a bar.  That meant I was thinking about and dealing with food pretty much continually.  I didn’t eat too much food as I was incredibly busy, subsisting off of single pop tarts and hamburger halves through thesis writing and graduation.  (I realized this was a bad idea when I grabbed a hamburger from the bar I worked at, ran to pick up graduation tickets, said hello to a friend’s family, answered two telephone calls from my own family and began choking on said hamburger in front of my former advisor; I thought I should really move on to something that required less chewing.)
Anyways, around this time I started tinkering with my own recipes.  I made a pretty awesome strawberry rhubarb pie and some wonderful cookies.  I wrote down the recipe for the pie, but neglected to take my cookie recipe to paper.  Thus, I forgot the recipe.  But, I remember what those cookies tasted like. 

Have you ever eaten something but wanted it to be a little more spectacular?  Like, wow this chocolate chip cookie is good, but what if it had peanut butter in it too?  That’s the way I felt about the Archway chocolate cookies you find in the grocery store.  I had bought them for a project my step-sister was doing for her special-ed classroom – Ice Cream sandwiches.  The Archway cookies are big, flat and easy to handle.  They offer a large area for spreading ice cream which is always a big deciding factor in making ice cream sandwiches.  The chocolate cookies are good, but they were missing something – mint.  Now, if you are not a fan of chocolate and mint I am sorry, you are missing out.
These cookies are a little temperamental, they are superb when cooked exactly right and kind of duds when baked a little too long.  Although as long as you use a timer when baking, you should be fine.  (I don’t use a timer, and this comes back to bite me in the butt every so often).  These cookies store well in an air-tight container making them perfect for baking and sharing, but they also make a very handsome ice cream cookie sandwich.

Chocolate Mint Crinkles
as adapted from Bon Appétit Dec. 2000

2 sticks butter, softened
1 ¾ c sugar
2 eggs
¾ tsp peppermint extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Large Granulated decorating sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and peppermint extract and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.  Roll dough into 1 ½” balls and place on a cookie sheet spacing about 2” apart.  Press dough on the balls to flatten them to about ½” thickness. 

Sprinkle cookies with decorating sugar, and bake until the cookies are firm around the edges, but soft and crackled in the center – about 12 minutes.  Rotate pans if the cookies are baking unevenly.  Cool on trays for about 5 minutes and then move the parchment with cookies off of trays.  Allow to cool, and enjoy.

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