Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

Chocolate Football Cut-Out Cookies
These are from Martha Stewart’s Cookies with some slight modifications.  I had a little more cinnamon, a little more vanilla and the addition of chocolate extract.  These were fairly easy to work with for cutout cookies.

I used a 3 inch football cookie cutter and from my Roshco 100-Piece Cookie Cutter Set.  This particular shape works better with cookies that are slightly thicker, closer to 1/4 inch while many of my cookies were 1/8 inch thick due to the embossed design.  Only some of the cookies had the football design (and of course I selected the best ones for the photo!).

Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 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 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
Nonpareils, for sprinkling (optional)

Procedure

1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl.

2. Put butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. mix in egg and extracts.  Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight.

3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, quickly cut out shapes from dough (if dough begins to soften, chill it in freezer 3 to 5 minutes). Reroll and cut scraps. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Brush flour from shapes. Sprinkle with nonpareils, if using. Chill in freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Bake cookies until crisp, about 9 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Cookie can be stored betwween layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Very Chocolate Cookies

Very Chocolate Cookies
These cookies are from Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini via a post by David Lebovitz.   I’m always drawn to chocolate recipes and the more chocolate-y the better.  This certainly did not disappoint and I particularly like the salt sprinkled on top.  I did need to flatten them out a bit before because because they didn’t seem to spread as well as I thought they should have.   I didn’t bother with two kinds of flour, I just stuck with the all-purpose flour.    And the cacao nibs are a a definite must in this recipe.  I used the chocolate extract in addition to the vanilla.  These were a big hit and I would definitely make them again.

Very Chocolate Cookies

adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini
makes about 48 little cookies

1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (25 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped in chip-sized chunks
¼ cup (30 g) cocoa nibs
½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon (125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100 g) (packed) light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
optional: fleur de sel
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

1. In a small bowl sift (sifting is optional for me) the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda together.

2. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave), melt half of the chocolate (2½ oz, 70g), then let cool to room temperature. Mix the other half of the chocolate chunks a bowl with the cocoa nibs.

3. Beat the butter with a standing electric mixer, or by hand, just until smooth. Beat in the sugar, salt and vanilla or chocolate extract.

4. By hand, stir in the melted chocolate, then the flour-cocoa mixture. Then finally the chocolate chunks and nibs.

5. Scoop the dough into rounded teaspoons and place evenly-spaced on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly flatten the cookies. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, if desired. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies take on a slightly dry sheen to the top. They may feel soft, but don’t worry; they’re firm up just fine when cool.

Neapolitan Cookies

NeapolitansThis recipe originally came from the Ladies Home Journal some time in the early 1950s and was passed down in my family as a Christmas cookie that was made almost every year.  I like it because of all the stuff in it.  The biggest problem for me is finding the candied cherries at the store.  I sent this off as my recipe for Operation Baking GALS for December, I hope they survive the trip.

Neapolitan Cookies

Dark Dough
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
6 oz. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Light dough
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 T water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 t salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup finely chopped raisins
18 candied cherries, finely chopped

Prepare each dough separately.  Cream butter, sugar and eggs.  Mix dry ingredients.  Mix dry and wet.  Add walnuts and chips to dark dough and raisins and cherries to light dough.    
Line bottom and sides of a loaf pan with wax paper.  Put in 1/2 dark dough, all of light, 1/2 dark.  Cover with wax paper.  Chill in freezer.  Remove from pan.  Cut into four strips.  Slice each strip for cookies.  Strips may be frozen for later baking.    
Bake at 350 deg. for 10-15 minutes until lightly brown.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
I received the book Cupcakes: Luscious bakeshop favorites from your home kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski and was very excited to make a recipe from this.  I like that most recipes made only 12 cupcakes.   I tried the chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.  The chocolate cupcake was good.  It reminds me of cake-y brownies and had the slight hard crust on the top.  It was not overly chocolate-y.   I might add some chocolate extract next time to heighten the chocolate flavor.  The amounts were slightly inconvenient (i.e. the recipe specified 3/4 plus 2 tbsp) and I would personally have preferred everything by weights.  This was very easy to mix together.  The vanilla buttercream went together fairly easily, I used my KitchenAid bowl on the stove and hand mixed while it was on the stove and let my stand mixer do the heavy whipping.  I piped the frosting, which was a little loose and practically dripped out of the pastry bag, perhaps I needed to beat it a little longer.   This was a nice, light buttercream and not too sweet.   I added some chocolate sprinkles for decoration.  I am looking forward to trying some of the other recipes in this cookbook.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski

makes 12 cupcakes

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liner

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and set over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan; stir frequently until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream, garnish with grated chocolate and serve. (The frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.)

Basic (Vanilla) Buttercream

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean)

In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar.  Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 F on an instant-read thermometer), about 2 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature , and holds stiff peaks (the mixture should not look dry), about 6 minutes.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition.  If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more.  Add the vanilla flavoring and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use right away.

Janet’s Chewy Chocolatey Gingery Cookies

Janet's Gingery CookiesI re-worked the Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies and I am pleased with the result.  These didn’t spread as much but were still chewy. The dough was not as sticky and so could be scooped right away and then chilled. The mini chips worked well in the smaller cookie. I eliminated the baking soda/boiling water step which I don’t think added anything in the first place. I might add a little icing next time, but it is unnecessary. These are strongly ginger flavored, so if you don’t like ginger, these are not for you.  They went over well at the party where I served them.

 

Janet’s Chewy Chocolatey Gingery Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar
5 tablespoons molasses
3-6 tablespoons water
7 ounces semisweet chocolate mini chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. In a medium bowl, mix (sifting is optional) together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cocoa, and baking soda.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
3. Beat in the flour mixture into butter mixture, half at a time. Mix in chocolate.
4. Scoop with a 2 tsp scoop and roll dough into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Chill for at least 1 hour.
5. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment. Roll cookie balls in granulated sugar; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread CookiesThis is from Martha Stewart’s Cookies and the recipe is available on her website.  I was a little disappointed in these cookies. This is the picture on the cover of the book and I have been wanting to make them since I bought the book.  They were chewy, but I wanted them to be thicker, these were very thin and spread out.  I think they spread out more than they should have.  I was also perplexed by adding the boiling water to the baking soda.  I am really not sure what purpose this served.   My cookies also didn’t crack like the picture.  They did have a very nice spice and ginger flavor.   I’ll have to try this again with a few tweaks.