Friday, December 18, 2009

Black-Bottom Cookies

Now that the first semester of my 2L year is done and my exams/papers are out of the way, I can get back to posting (and sleeping). As promised in my last post, here is the cookie recipe I developed for my sister's holiday party. The recipe uses both cocoa powder and melted chocolate to get a really rich flavor. Also, I rarely bake with shortening, in fact I make a concerted effort not to, but I feel like chocolate laden baked goods turn out better with shortening. I used to make a black-bottom cupcake recipe with all butter and it seemed like the butter's low smoke-point combined with the chocolate (which is notoriously easy to burn) imparted an unpleasant, burnt flavor to the cupcakes.

Black-Bottom Cookies:
3/4 c. shortening (I like the Crisco butter-flavored sticks)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder (I used Hershey's special dark, a mix of natural and dutch-processed)
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. bar bittersweet baking chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 egg white

First, beat cream cheese with sugar. Add in sour cream and egg white and beat until combined. It may still be a little lumpy. Melt chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. I melted mine in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, but you could also use a double boiler. Watch the chocolate closely, it burns easily and it is not salvageable once it does!

For the cookies, I sifted together the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt. In my stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) I creamed the shortening and sugars. Then I beat in the two eggs. The, with the mixer running on low, I added in the melted chocolate. Then I added half of the flour mixture, stirring to combine before adding the second half. The dough will be stiff.

At this point, I refrigerated my filling and dough. It was a little dry in the morning, I would probably not chill it for so long next time. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I shaped the dough into balls (each probably a little smaller than a walnut). I took a flat-bottomed glass and lightly pressed the dough balls, slightly flattening each one. Then I pressed my thumb into their centers and filled the depressions with the filling. I baked the cookies for 6-8 minutes. They were really soft when they came out, but after cooling on the baking sheets for a few minutes they set up.

The filling could be made more interesting with the addition of peppermint extract. These cookies would also be great without the filling, maybe with chocolate chips added in. Or white chocolate. Or with pieces of Andes mint. Dried cherries would be delicious. Be creative and enjoy!

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