Not-too-sweet, very chocolate, slice-and-bake cookies, these
are perfect for a little nibble to go with coffee or tea or
milk. Once the dough is shaped and wrapped tightly, you can
store it for a few days in the refrigerator before baking the
cookies. If you wish, you can slice and bake the dough as needed,
so that you'll have freshly-baked cookies whenever you want.
These aren't fancy or decorated; if you want to dress them up,
sift a bit of confectioners' sugar onto their tops just before
serving. The baked cookies will freeze, but remember these are
thin and crisp and therefore fragile, so store/freeze them accordingly.
These are probably more to adult tastes, though if you're not
a spice fan you can omit the cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. If
you like sandwich cookies, check out the variation; a number
of my friends are very fond of those.
cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup
unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp.
- 1/2 tsp.
- 1/8 tsp.
- Few grinds
of freshly, finely ground black pepper
- 6 ounces
semisweet chocolate, chopped or as chips
- 3/4 cup
granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup
(1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg,
- 2 tsp.
Sift together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder,
cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper; set aside. In food processor
fitted with steel blade, combine the chocolate and 2 Tbsp. sugar
(reserve remainder). Cover; process just until chocolate is
very finely ground (you don't want melted chocolate or a chocolate
paste, so keep your eye on the mixture). Set aside.
In large bowl, combine softened butter, remaining sugar, and
vanilla. With large spoon, cream until well-mixed, light, and
fluffy. Beat in egg thoroughly. Add about half of flour mixture,
then all of the water; stir in well. Stir in remaining flour
mixture, then ground chocolate (dough will be quite stiff).
Divide dough in half. Form each half into a round or square
log six inches in length. Roll up tightly in plastic wrap, then
chill at least 2 hours (or for up to several days).
When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust
rack to center of oven. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil,
shiny side up (do not grease foil). Remove one cookie log from
refrigerator. Using a large, very sharp knife, slice log into
1/8" to 3/16" thick slices, using a sawing motion and slicing
slowly and carefully. The ground chocolate will be very noticeable
in the cookie dough, and if your knife is not sharp enough it
will cause you to have trouble slicing it. I use a ruler to
get the idea of the correct thickness initially. Slice off only
two or three slices to bake as "test cookies"; this is important
here, as the dough is dark- colored and it can be difficult
to determine when the cookies are done. Place the slices on
a foil-lined cookie sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for
9-11 minutes, turning the sheet back-to-front about halfway
through baking time. While baking, the cookies will puff up
slightly; they are done when the very edges feel firm to the
touch (the centers will still feel semisoft). Do not overbake.
Let stand on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling
rack. Allow to cool completely. The cookies should be crisp
when they are cool; if not, return them to the baking sheet
and bake a bit longer.
Once you have determined approximate baking time, continue slicing
and baking the rest of the dough. This dough softens quickly
once sliced, so I stop after every two or three slices in order
to transfer the sliced dough to the prepared cookie sheet (I
place 15 cookies on a 15- 1/2" by 10-1/2" sheet; these don't
spread much). When you have sliced enough dough to fill up one
sheet, re-wrap the remaining dough and replace it in the refrigerator.
If the sliced cookies have lost their shape at all, use a fingertip
or two to press them gently into the correct shape after they've
stood at room temperature for a few minutes.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time. If you wish, while one
sheet bakes, you may slice enough cookies for the next sheet.
However, it is not a good idea to slice the cookies too far
in advance, as they darken in color and don't hold their shape
as well while baking if they stand at room temperature for too
long after they're sliced.
When cookies have cooled completely (this doesn't take long),
store airtight at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.
About 5 dozen cookies
Chocolate-Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies
Make dough as above, except omit spices and ground chocolate
(that means that you'll cream the butter with all of the sugar).
Chill this dough until you can handle it, 1-2 hours. Working
quickly, divide dough in half; shape each half into a 5 inch
long log. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap as above and
chill for at least 2 hours.
Slice and bake cookies as above (because it has no ground chocolate
in it, this dough slices more easily). You'll end up with about
50 cookies. Cool the cookies completely.
To make the "sandwiches", you'll need a specialty ingredient.
It is described as "hazelnut spread with skim milk and cocoa".
I can find several brands of this in local markets; the most
common brand is called "Nutella" and comes in a 13 or 14 ounce
jar. Other brands include Milky Way and Belnussa. Belnussa is
made by Zentis and imported from Germany; it contains small
pieces of chopped hazelnuts. At any rate, you'll need one jar
of this spread.
Place all of the cookies on a flat work surface, flat side up.
Try to pair them according to size and shape (it makes for neater
sandwiches). Now, take a well-rounded teaspoon (not a measuring
teaspoon) of the hazelnut spread, and place it on the flat side
of one cookie in a pair. Cover with the other cookie, flat side
down, and press gently to flatten the hazelnut spread, which
will ideally come out almost to the edge of the sandwich cookie.
Repeat with the other cookie pairs. Store airtight at cool room
temperature for up to 3 days; do not refrigerate or freeze.
About 25 sandwich cookies
If you run out of hazelnut spread or feel like a change, you
can sandwich cookies together with thick apricot jam. However,
if you do so, they must be eaten within an hour or two of completion,
as the cookies will absorb moisture from the jam and become
soggy, even if stored airtight.
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