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!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cookie Recipe #48 - Rum Balls

Today's cookie is a request made by Walt at Paul and Eddy's in Monte Vista. It's like biting into a sugar-coated brownie leaving a rum taste in your mouth. If you don't want to use rum, you could probably add a little brewed coffee for a mocha flavor; a little orange juice for a chocolate-citrus twist, or just a little more vanilla. Experiment!

Ingredients: 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)butter, cut into pieces, 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips), 3 eggs, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum, Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling (I used raw sugar).

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12x17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup about 2 minutes, stirring afte each minute until chocolate is melted; set aside.

Mix together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet spreading evenly with spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to a mixing bowl. Pour rum, coffee, orange juice, or vanilla over crumbs and mix until they begin to come together into a ball.

Shape into 1 inch balls with fingers and roll in small bowl of sugar. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to a week.

Makes about 4 dozen balls.

(Martha Stewart's Cookies published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, in 2008)

Cookies Rule!!!

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