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!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookie Recipe #345 - Spicy Cocoa Cookies

Even though these aren't necessarily Christmas cookies, a couple drops of red or green food coloring added to the icing would make them more festive.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks)unsalted butter, softened, 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, at room temperature, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Icing: 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 large egg white, 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add remaining ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides and mix again.

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using your hand or the bottom of a glass, press down until they are flattened.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until the cookies begin to brown at the edges, 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

While cookies are cooling, make the icing: Place the sugar, egg white nd lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Using the back of a spoon, smooth the icing in a circular motion onto the cooled cookies, almost to the edge.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

"Cookies, 52 Easy Recipes for Year-Round Baking", Sally Sampson, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2007.

Cookies Rule!!!

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