Sunday, February 14, 2010

Have a Chocolate Heart today!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you out there.
It's a day to enjoy chocolate as far as I'm concerned and that can't be bad. I must say that I started with a piece of toast this morning with a slathering of Nutella on just to kick the day of on a celebratory note. I made this cookie a ways back, but love the photo so I decided to trot it out, but alas when I tried to open my recipe in my files, it keeps telling me it is either corrupt or isn't supported. Computers are so great when they work. Unfortunately, I can't find a hard copy of it any where in my miles of recipe files and scraps of scribbled stacks of recipes and ideas anywhere, so I'll just give you an Alice Medrich recipe that I based my recipe on. I had the great pleasure of taking a cooking class from her years ago down in Boulder, when I was still up in the high country of Colorado. She was a delightful teacher and it was great to not only sample all of her chocolate decadence, but to listen to her stories and see her in action. OK, yes these are not traditional Italian cookies, but they are very tasty.  I used a cookie press to make the star on each of the cookies before popping them into the oven.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Alice Medrich 

  • Prep Time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield:  40 to 45 cookies

  • Times: Prep1 hr 30 min 

    Inactive Prep--Cook--Total:1 hr 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch Process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweet butter, slightly softened
  • 3 tablespoons stick margarine, I used all butter, which will make them crispier
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of ground black pepper (I was very generous with both peppers)
  • Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg white

Directions

Combine the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Set aside. Combine the sugars in a small bowl and mix well with fingers pressing out any lumps. (Process in a food processor if lumps are stubborn).
In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and margarine until creamy. Add sugar mixture, cinnamon, peppers, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about one minute. Beat in egg white. Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Gather the dough together with your hands and form it into a neat 9 to 10-inch log. Wrap in waxed paper. Fold or twist ends of paper without pinching or flatting the log. Chill at least 45 minutes, or until needed.
Place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven preheat to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Use a sharp knife to slice rounds of chilled dough a scant 1/4-inch thick. 
Place 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. 
Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through. Cookies will puff and crackle on top, and then begin to settle down slightly when done. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing or stacking. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks, or freeze up to 2 months. 


Here are a couple of pictures of us on Valentine's Day in years past.
 
We were awarded gold medals by our Dutch guests after returning from one of their many nights of attending the Speed Skating competition in Torino in 2006. They had friends competing and well you know how the whole of Holland is just mad about skating! 


Valentine's Day, 2007 
 
We took a lot of people by surprise when we went skiing on a powder day to Loveland ski area and got married along with 60 other couples, some who were renewing their vows, in what was a very cold and yet very emotional ceremony on top of Loveland Pass, Colorado. We celebrate 9 years together this May, but just got around to officially getting married 3 years ago.
Who knows what lies in store for future Valentine's days. I'm sure it will be fun. Today we're just taking it low key and happy to be healthy and together. Can't ask for much more. 
Happy Valentines Day 2010!
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