Monday, October 30, 2017

Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

I had no intention of making these. No intention at all of making a time consuming cookie. But, an old neighbor/friend who now lives far away was back in town visiting and brought these as a gift for me. And my kids saw him give me the gift. So… I was pretty much on the hook to make cookies with them. We’ve had an incredibly busy October, but the Sunday before Halloween we were home with no plans, and I figured might as well get baking. I turned to one of my favorite sources for cookie recipes, Martha Stewart Cookies* cookbook. I suppose I could have done sugar cookies, but I love all things chocolate. So with the “help” of my lovely, wonderful children, we whipped up a batch. I’ll note, the recipe says it yields 3-4 dozen 3 inch cookies. We got exactly 16. I believe I made mine thicker than the recipe calls for, and my cookie cutters were bigger than 3 inches.

I also suppose I could have easily not decorated them at all. We could have enjoyed them plain. But I just knew they’d look SO cute decorated with royal icing. Apparently I’ve done royal icing in the past, and it was such a tiring process with ugly results I swore I’d never do it again and blocked it from my memory. (Seriously, only after looking in my archives before writing this did I realize I’ve made cookies with royal icing before.)

(Please excuse the wild hair…)

Anyways, I turned to the step by step tutorial on Everyday Annie (formerly Annie’s Eats). This recipe yielded the perfect amount for my small batch of cookies (with frosting left over). I also followed recommendations by Serious Eats to use organic powdered sugar to yield a tastier royal icing. I swear I was so nervous to do these I wanted someone to come and hold my hand through the process. But somehow I powered through and these turned out SO CUTE! The only one I didn’t like much was the pumpkin, and I think that is the fault of the cookie cutter. It had the eyes and mouth already cut out, which didn’t leave much space for creativity. Next time I’ll do a plain, solid pumpkin. And when it came to the cat, I had the idea to cover it in sprinkles, but I also liked the look of it without sprinkles so I did both versions.

Have I not yet mentioned that these are DELICIOUS?! They taste very reminiscent of an Oreo, thanks to all the cocoa powder. Especially when combined with the royal icing. My cookies were thicker than the recipe recommends, but I kept roughly the same baking time (8 min – 9 minutes), this yielded exactly what I was looking for, a thick, somewhat chewy cookie. These would not be described as “sandy” or crumbly, which is how I feel decorated sugar cookies can sometimes taste, and what I was trying to avoid.

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Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

Yield: I got 16 cookies, Martha says 3-4 dozen

I rolled mine out thicker (1/3-1/2 inch) than recipe recommends (1/4 inch), and my cookie cutters were larger than 3 inches. But I kept baking time the same. This yielded a SOFT cookie, not a crisp cookie. I have reflected my changes in the recipe below.

Ingredients:

COOKIES:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Royal Icing visit Everyday Annie

Directions:

COOKIES:
Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat to combine. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight). Dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic and placed in a resealable plastic bag, up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

On a lightly floured work surface (or a piece of parchment paper), roll out one disk of dough to just under 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, quickly cut out shapes from dough (if dough begins to soften, chill in freezer 5 minutes), and transfer shapes to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart, as you work. Reroll scraps and cut out more shapes. Brush off excess flour. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

Bake cookies until crisp, about 8 minutes, firmly tapping down sheets once and rotating them halfway through. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks before decorating as desired.

For Royal Icing visit Everyday Annie

slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

*My Amazon Affiliate link* I love that Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook SO MUCH. It’s such a staple to me, I even have a tag for it on here. If you ever see a copy for sale buy it, if you like cookies you won’t regret it!

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