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    Entries in pour some sugar on me (14)

    Friday
    Dec112015

    Eggnog Meltaway Cookies

    As you probably know from past posts, I love eggnog. I’ve made homemade eggnog, eggnog fudge, and eggnog cinnamon swirl scones that are to die for. Well, for this year’s second holiday cookie, I wanted to incorporated eggnog. I also wanted to try something I haven't made before. The answer… Eggnog Meltaway Cookies!

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
    • 1 cup powdered sugar (divided)
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (divided)
    • 2 Tablespoons eggnog
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • 1 ¾ cups flour
    • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
    • ¼ teaspoon salt 

    Make sure your butter and eggnog are room temperature before you get started, and preheat your oven to 350°. Place the butter into your mixing bowl.

    Mix it for a minute or so until it’s nice and soft and creamy.

    While that’s going, sift your powdered sugar.

    Add ⅓ cup of the sifted sugar to your butter and set the rest aside for later.

    Allow that to mix for a good two minutes. It should become a lovely pale color and look somewhat fluffy.

    Scrape everything down and add ½ teaspoon of the nutmeg. Now usually, I would insist that it needs to be freshly grated. I just bought a fresh bottle of already ground stuff from Penzeys, though, so that what I used this time. If you don’t want to grate your own, at least get some that’s fresh. Nutmeg loses its lovely flavor very quickly.

    Mix that in and add the eggnog.

    And then the vanilla.

    This is where things got a little scary for me. Let’s be honest, this just doesn’t look promising. Having never made meltaways before, I wasn’t sure if this was a problem. Well, I can now assure you that it is not.

    Go ahead and add the flour, cornstarch, and salt, and mix just until everything is incorporated.

    The dough should be slightly firm, but have a smooth, velvety texture.

    I used my smallest scoop, which is about 1 ½ Tablespoons, to scoop the dough. (I love these scoops btw)

    Place the dough on a parchment lined sheet pan or cookie sheet and press it with your fingers or palm.

    You should end up with rounds that are something like 1 ½ inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. They don’t need a whole lot of space between them because these cookies won’t really spread.

    Into the 350° oven for 15-16 minutes. They’ll look dry on top, but won’t be browned at all.

    Mine weren’t even browned on the bottom yet.

    Move them, parchment and all, to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. While they’re cooling, put the remaining powdered sugar and nutmeg into a large zip top bag.

    Mix those together, and when the cookies have had 10 minutes or so to cool, go ahead and drop them into the bag a few at a time.

    Shake them gently until they’re completely coated.

    Brush/shake off the excess and return them to the rack to finish cooling.  

    Aren’t they pretty? I was very pleased with the result. True to their name, they melt in your mouth as you eat them. The eggnog flavor is there, but it is quite subtle, which I thought was perfect for these delicate, little cookies.

    I topped them with just barely a sprinkle of nutmeg, for a little contrast and a touch more spice.

    What is your favorite holiday flavor? Eggnog? Peppermint? Gingerbread

    Tuesday
    Jul092013

    Hot Chocolate Cookies

    And I mean hot.

    I've seen suggestions to add a pinch of hot chili pepper to hot chocolate more than a few times. Apparently the spice of the chili will emphasize the sweetness of the chocolate much like a pinch of salt can. The suggestion has been attributed to Mexican and other central and south American cuisines and I've been craving tacos like crazy lately. No, nothing related between the taco cravings and the chocolate-chili, it's just that I've been craving tacos and the mere mention of Mexican food makes me want to run down the street to the much too convenient little Mexican place and get 3 tacos for 5 bucks.

    I've been limiting myself to 3 tacos a week. Otherwise, I think I'd be eating there every night.

    But this post isn't about tacos (I want tacos). It's about summer-themed cookies.

    How is hot chocolate summer themed? It's summer, and it's hot. And I want chocolate.

    And since I'm inherently lazy I figured that rather than come up with a whole new recipe, I'd just modify an existing one. So I started with snickerdoodles. And you've got two choices to use as your base: my snickerdoodle recipe or Taneasha's snickerdoodle recipe. Both are awesome. Need moar snickerdoodles!

    Hot Chocolate Cookies

    • 1 c butter
    • 1 1/2 c sugar
    • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 3 c flour
    • 1/2 c cocoa
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    • cinnamon sugar

    Make sure the butter and eggs are at room temperature. If they're not, use one of Taneasha's awesome tips to fix that. Also, melt the chocolate. One minute and 30 seconds at 50% power, and then stir until it's smooth.

    Cream the butter and sugar until they're fluffy and golden, and then stir in the chocolate.

     Beat in the eggs and vanilla until you have something resembling a soft buttercream icing.

    In another bowl (yes, I used a second bowl, but I had an apprentice here to help me with the dishes;

    and she also brought me herbs from her garden!!) stir together the flour, cocoa, cayenne, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

    Since my apprentice is still working on the whole technique thing, she spooned the flour into the measuring cup and then levelled it with a knife.

    Don't forget to sift the cocoa to get all the lumps out.

    And yes, I'm serious, we are really putting cayenne in cookies.

    Mix the dry into the chocolatey-buttery stuff. We did it in about three parts.

    The dough should be soft and a little bit sticky.

    You should be able to form it into a ball with only minimal amounts sticking to your fingers.

    Give it a few minutes in the fridge if it feels too soft. It's better to chill the dough than to add extra flour; the cookies will be crumbly, rather than crispy-chewy if you have too much flour. You can wrap the dough and leave it in there for a day if you're planning ahead, but if you do, give it at least 30 minutes on the counter. If it's too cold, you'll need to put a lot of work into rolling the dough into balls, and since cookies are technically a pastry, you want to touch them as little as possible.

    Cold balls plus too much handling equals tough cookies.

    Preheat the oven now! 350.

    Bust off a piece of dough about the size of a cherry.

    Gently roll it into a ball, and then drop that ball into a small dish of cinnamon sugar.

    Jiggle the dish and roll the ball around until it's completely covered.

    Once you've done that a dozen times, and have a dozen sugary balls on a parchment covered sheet, bake them for 8 minutes.

    Keep an eye on them. It's tough to tell when these things are overdone because the chocolate is so dark, but you'll definitely taste it if they are. Err on the side of underdone. Use a timer!

    I was hopeful that these would work and holy crap did they ever! Chocolate chili cookies are total win. They aren't "hot" and spicy the way a savoury food is hot. They have their own shiney little bite. But it's a transient and sparkly feeling in your mouth. Like the sparks off a campfire: bright and a little bit burny, but they don't linger.

    And with the sugar on the outside of them, they even look a little sparkly!

    Perfect with an iced coffee!

    What do you like to have hot in the summer??