I’m very excited about my upcoming trip to New York City. Although I grew up in Philadelphia, which is only a hop-skip-and a jump away from New York, I only got to visit there a few times, and never for an extended period of time. This trip I’m going with my friend Kim, who’s son attends NYU, and we’re taking him to a Broadway show and dinner for his birthday. I can’t believe it, but I’ve never seen a Broadway show. We’re also going to see the Rockettes at Radio City which is something else I’ve always wanted to do.
And the food. Please don’t get me started on the food. I think most people obsess about the shopping in New York, but not me. Stuff is stuff…I got enough stuff. I’ve spent the last few weeks researching the gastronomical landscape of New York, so I hope to report back to you with stories and pictures of my fabulous food finds in the Big Apple.
But, before I depart on this “bucket list” trip, there’s still some holiday baking to be done. One of my favorite’s are these Chocolate Brownie Cookies. I like them because they have that chewy texture of a brownie, and the addition of espresso powder really enhances the chocolate flavor. I like to drizzle the cookies with a vanilla and chocolate glaze and then sprinkle the cookies with gold sugar for that added bling. A cookie’s gotta have bling, right!
Please check this link to see the other fabulous cookies baked by a talented group of bloggers! You’ll love them!
Chocolate Brownie Cookies
From Great Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
- 2 tablespoons, sifted Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, slightly firm
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon boiling water
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- Sifted powdered sugar
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed until it is creamy and lightened in color. Add the sugar in a steady stream, mixing for 2 minutes to combine. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and espresso mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix in the melted chocolate.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing only to combine after each addition. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half. Form into two 3″ by 4″ rectangles and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours until firm.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place shelves of oven in the upper and lower thirds. Cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle a pastry cloth and rolling-pin with powdered sugar. Work with one piece of dough at a time. Roll it into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place the cutouts on the cookie sheets.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies feel set on top.
- Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 minutes then cool on racks.
- Store in airtight containers. These cookies may be frozen.
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 -2 tablespoons hot milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 4 ounces of high quality chocolate bar; semi-sweet or bittersweet
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
I’m not a gift giver. I swear I’ve never seen anybody wear or use anything I ever gave to them. I’m also not one who likes to get gifts either. I much more appreciate the gift of a greeting card where someone has written something personal to me, or if someone gives me something handmade. I appreciate their time and effort much more than a wool scarf from Macy’s.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, “the holiday season” is in full swing. So, since I’m not a gift-giver, how do I show those around me how much they mean to me at this jolly time of year? With cookies of course. The next few weeks will be filled with rolling, kneading, baking, boxing, sprinkling, and a lot of sugar. Yeah, sugar.
These snowflake cookies are my all-time favorite, they’re quite festive. It’s a great butter cookie recipe even if you decide not to decorate them with the royal icing. Anyway, I would love to stay and chat, but my cookies await!
Sweet Moon Confections
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. In another bowl, stir flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the butter mixture and mix well.
- Gather dough and knead for a minute.
- Divide dough into two pieces. Place one piece in between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to about 1/4″ thick, then place the dough (on the paper) in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other piece. Refrigerate for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut refrigerated dough into snowflake shapes. Bake on un-greased baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes or until just beginning to brown on the edges.
- 2 level tablespoons meringue powder
- 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
- Combine all ingredients. Beat 7 to 10 minutes at low-medium speed with electric mixer, or 10 to 12 minutes with hand-held mixer.
- To prevent drying, cover the bowl with a damp cloth while working with icing.
- To reuse, beat the icing to restore original texture.
- The icing will be very stiff after mixing. You want to thin down the icing to use for outlining the edges of the cookies. Add a couple of drops of water to about 1/2 cup icing and stir slowly to incorporate the water. (Stirring quickly will create air pockets). The right consistency for outlining is when the spatula is lifted from the icing and the peak formed bends slightly. Use a very small round opening tip for the pastry bag to outline. Let outline dry. You will use this icing to also pipe the detail on the cookie.
- To thin down the rest of the icing to be used for flooding, add a very small amount of water at a time, stirring slowly until the water is incorporated. To test for consistency, lift the spatula and let the icing drip back into the bowl. If the dripped icing smooths back into the rest of the icing, then the consistency is ready for filling.
- After “flooding” the cookies, let them dry. When they’re dry you can pipe on the detail designs.
My friend called me up today and told me she just lost 15 pounds from taking Zumba classes. Swell I think, as I just finished baking my first batch of holiday cookies. I love this time of year, the weeks between Halloween and New Year’s that are filled with every kind of delectable goodie you can imagine. My specialty is holiday cookies. I spend the early weeks of November scouring the stores like Home Goods, Michaels and Cost Plus for festive boxes to put my cookies in, that will end up as holiday gifts for friends and family.
I was first introduced to the whole holiday cookie extravaganza by my friend Carol’s mother, Mary. Mary began baking in early December, and whenever I went to their house there was always seven or eight different kinds of cookies offered to me. I loved the way she put her heart and soul into her cookies. Although it was 45 years ago, I never forgot her snowball cookies. (She actually called them nut balls, but people make fun of that name, so now I call them snowballs.)
I recently called Carol and told her I’d like to add her mother’s recipe to my cookie repertoire and so she shared it with me. I made them this past weekend and they brought back warm memories of cold afternoons at her house stuffing our faces with homemade cookies. I’m hoping to make it through this holiday season without packing on the poundage, However, come January, I guess I could always take those Zumba classes.
Mrs. Tac’s Holiday Snowball Cookies
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar and salt.
- Work in butter and vanilla by hand.
- Add nuts and incorporate them into the mixture.
- Using a light hand, form cookies into small balls.
- Place on parchment covered cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.
- Let cookies cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
- Toss the cookies until covered in powdered sugar.
- Re-toss cookies in powdered sugar 10 minutes later, and cool for 1 hour.
- Store in airtight container.