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!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cookie Recipe #56 - Tripe Chocolate Pretzels

Chocolate + chocolate + chocolate = triple chocolate satisfaction for your taste buds. The light-chocolate-flavored cookie is the base for a slight-coffee-flavored glaze, then the white chocolate swizzle completes this pretty cookie.

Ingredients: 2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate (or chocolate chips), 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mocha glaze: 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon shortening, 1 cup powdered sugar, 3-5 tablespoons hot coffe or water. 2 ounces white chocolate chips.

Instructions: Melt chocolate (chips) in microwave, one minute at a time, stirring until melted; let cool. Beat butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and melted chocolate; beat until fluffy. Gradually add flour and salt until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Divide dough into 4 equal parts; then each part into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and form a pretzel shape on prepared baking sheets. Repeat with all pieces, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 7-9 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Prepare Mocha Glaze as follows: Combine chocolate chips, corn syrup and shortening in small heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in powdered sugar and enough coffee to make a smooth glaze. (I ran out of corn syrup and didn't want to run to the store, so I just made a glaze out of 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon shortening and the hot coffee).

Dip pretzels, one at a time, into glaze, covering completely. (I use my fingers to dip the pretzels into the glaze, making for a finger-licking clean-up, but you could use a fork for dipping). Transfer to a waxed-paper lined platter or baking sheet. Melt the white chocolate chips (I add a teaspoon of shortening) in microwave, stirring until melted. Squeeze melted chocolate through pastry bag or just drizzle over pretzels to decorate. Let stand until chocolate is completely set (or pop in the refrigerator for a few minutes).

Makes 48 pretzels. (Treasury of Holiday Cookies, published by Publications International, Ltd, Lincolnwood, IL in 1994).

Cookies Rule!!!

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