We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cookie Recipe #36 - Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

The Colts or the Saints-who will be the big winner? It doesn't matter what side you're on, you will need refreshments while you watch and cheer for your favorite. What better dessert than chocolate footballs? This is a chocolate cut-out cookie recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies published by Clarkson Potter, New York, in 2008. This crisp cookie is not overly sweet, just enough to go with the rest of your football fare.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Frosting: 1/4 cup butter, softened, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk or cream.

Instructions: Sift flour, cocoa, salt and cinnamon into a bowl; set aside. Put butter and confectioners' sugar in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low until thoroughly combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, one hour or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1/2 of dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet and pop in freezer for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove sheet from freezer; place dough back on work surface and cut out with flour-dipped cutters. Place on ungreased baking sheet, pop back in freezer about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining half of dough. Transfer from freezer to preheated 350 degree oven and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet, then transfer to cooling racks. To make frosting, put softened butter in small mixing bowl and beat until fluffy; add vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar and mix (will be dry); slowly add in milk or cream until of spreading consistency (may need more milk). Frost as desired.

Alternate: Before placing in freezer the final time, you may sprinkle cookies with nonpareils, if you're not going to frost them.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies; I only cut-out 15 footballs because my cookie cutter was larger (plus one round circle of leftover dough, for taste-testing).

May the best team win!

Cookies Rule!!!

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