Chocolate Belgian Waffles

Strawberry Parfait

Cinnamon-Chocolate Shortbread

Chocolate-Stuffed French Toast



Cinnamon-Chocolate Shortbread

Tips: These are not-too-sweet, chocolatey cookies with a hint of cinnamon flavor. The dough must be chilled prior to rolling out and again before baking. Do not overhandle the dough, and bake the cookies one sheet at a time in the center of the oven. The cookies will spread slightly during baking and lose their "raw" look; when done, they'll feel semifirm when touched lightly on top. These do freeze, but they also keep for a few days at room temperature if stored airtight. If cinnamon isn't for you, omit it--you might try substituting another spice such as ground ginger. These are just the thing with a cup of coffee, tea, or milk.

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. + 2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Large pinch salt
  • 1 c. + 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened (not melted)

To use a food processor: In large capacity food processor fitted with steel blade, combine first five ingredients. Process at high speed in four or five bursts of ten seconds each, until ingredients are a uniform color. Add softened butter; process until mixture comes together into a ball. Turn out onto wax paper; knead dough only until well-mixed. Form into flattish round. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper; chill until dough can be handled, at least 45 minutes to one hour. (Dough can be chilled at this point for up to a few days, but if it is very cold it must stand at room temperature until it can be rolled out without cracking. Dough that cracks while being rolled is too cold.)

In electric mixer or by hand: A stand mixer is necessary here, as the dough is quite stiff. Sift together flour, confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon , and salt, making sure to get rid of any lumps. In large bowl, beat softened butter at medium speed (or by hand with large spoon) just until creamy and smooth. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients (use a low speed with the mixer). Turn dough out onto wax paper, and follow directions as above.

While dough chills, line cookie sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Do not grease the foil. Adjust rack to center of oven.

To roll out the dough, remove from refrigerator and unwrap. Tear off two pieces of wax paper, each about 14" long. Place the chilled dough between the wax paper sheets and roll out as evenly as possible to a thickness of 1/3" (no thinner--I measure it with a ruler). While rolling, periodically peel off and replace top wax paper sheet. Flip dough over, still between wax paper sheets, then peel off and replace what has now become the top wax paper sheet. If either sheet of wax paper becomes very wrinkled, replace it with a fresh one. If dough cracks a bit, it can be patched, but many larger cracks mean dough is too cold and must stand at room temperature a bit longer before rolling proceeds. (Dough can also be rolled on a lightly-floured pastry board.)

When dough is in an even layer and 1/3" thick, remove top sheet of wax paper. It's best to keep these cookies on the small side; I use a heart-shaped cutter that's 2-1/4" wide and about 2" long. With your chosen cookie cutter(s), cut the dough into shapes, cutting each cookie as close to the others as possible. (I do not find it necessary to flour the cutters for this recipe.) Transfer two cut-outs carefully to a prepared cookie sheet (these will be your test-bake cookies, an important concept here as the dough is so dark that it can be difficult to tell when these are done); transfer other cut-outs to other prepared sheets, placing them about two inches apart (I place 12 cookies on a 15-1/2" by 10-1/2" sheet). Gather up the scraps, press together, and re-roll. Repeat this process until the dough is used up. Chill the cookies on their sheets for about 10 minutes. Using a fork, prick each cookie two or three times, going all the way down to the bottom. If necessary, keep fork very lightly floured, but if it sticks to any degree, chill the cookies 10 minutes more before pricking them. Return cookies to refrigerator. Preheat oven to 325'F.

When cookies have chilled about 20 minutes longer, bake sheet with test cookies on it. During baking, cookies will spread slightly, lose their "raw" look, and develop a slightly crackly look on top. Bake the cookies for about 16-22 minutes; they are done if they feel semifirm when touched lightly on top. Turn sheets back to front about halfway during baking, and remember that your baking time will likely differ if your cookie cutter is a different size. When cookies are done, remove from oven. Let stand on sheet about 3 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Cool completely; cookies should crisp as they cool. Store airtight or freeze.

27-30 cookies

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