Monday, December 14, 2009
Cookie Week! First stop: Gourmet Girl's Cookie Crawl
But first, a contest. Gourmet Girl Magazine is hosting a virtual cookie crawl contest. People from around the world enter their cookies, a photo, and recipe. Gourmet Girl then tests each one and decides on the winner. I didn't win at my first cookie contest of the year at the SCBWI-WA meeting, so I'm hoping for a big win this time. Well, not really, but I'm making cookies anyway. Incidentally, my friend Holly Cupala won first runner-up at the SCBWI contest and posted her Peppermint Cookie recipe.
This first cookie is an adaption of Better Homes and Garden's White Chocolate-Cherry Shortbread cookie. I'm in a shortbread phase, and I knew my 4-yr old would enjoy the marachino cherries.
Here is the recipe. From the original, I changed the amount of cherries, added chocolate chips around the edge, upped the sugar a tad, nixed the red food coloring, and doubled the recipe. Christmas cookie recipes always say "makes 60" or more and they never never do. Not even close. Maybe they make cookies the size of my toenail, but I like a normal size cookie. Not as big as your face, but bigger than a toenail. Admittedly, these are some of my first attempts. The next batch was much more uniform and pretty. But the camera battery died and I couldn't run out and buy more, so what we have here are some delicious and very, erm, homemade cookies.
Note: I used a food processor for just about everything in this recipe. The BHG had it all done by hand, but the processor made it a snap. You can hand chop and hand mix, if you had to, but don't if you have the equipment.
1 1/4 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped. Drained again.
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 cup cold butter
24 ounces white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 teaspoons shortening
Mini chocolate chips (about 12 oz)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a food processor, pulse in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 8 ounces of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Pulse until mixture forms a smooth ball.
3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to a 1/4 inch. Smooth the edges.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on cookie sheet. You can transfer to a wire rack. (I didn't but I made them at work and our prep room is so cold it's almost a legal refrigerator).
5. In a snon-stick saucepan, combine remaining 16 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Roll dipped edge in mini chocolate chips. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60-80, depending on how large you like 'em.