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, November 19, 2010

Cookie Recipe #321 - Mocha Cutouts

What better way to get your get-up-and-go than with a mocha-flavored leaf, acorn, or turkey? As if the chocolate and coffee in the cookie itself isn't enough, dip those little critters in some melted chocolate (not for the weak at heart!)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder (or instant coffee), 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, dash of salt, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (or strong brewed coffee) 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon shortening.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, coffee powder, cocoa, and salt, mixing well. Beat in egg yolk and coffee liqueur until combined. Beat in flour until thoroughly incorporated. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Using floured 2 1/2-3-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven about 12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small heavy saucepan melt chocolate chips with shortening over low heat, stirring constantly (or in microwave). Dip a part of each cookie into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper-lined sheets. Let stand until set or pop into the refrigerator to speed up the setting process.

Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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