Monthly Archives: December 2010

Happy New Year

Fireworks and palm trees

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Chocolate Cookies from Melrose Avenue

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much chocolate.  The chocolate mocha cookies from the Gourmet Cookie Book are supposed to be from an LA bakery on Melrose, but they taste just like my Aunt Dolly’s, who never got further West than Vegas.

Easy and fast to make, with lots of chocolate, and if you are a frappuccino fan, there’s some coffee in there too.

Mocha Chocolate Cookies from Gourmet

1.  The chocolate – use the best you can find – it does make a difference, even if you have to taste some first to be sure…

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Scharffen Berger or Ghiradelli are great, but Hershey will do in a pinch)
  • 3 cups (1 bag, if you are using Nestle, but you’ll need more if you are springing for Guittard Classic Semi-

    Guittard chips

    Sweet Chocolate Chips)

The rest is generic and you probably already have it in your kitchen:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, the unsweetened chocolate, and butter (faster if cut into pieces) in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  Better if all the chocolate does not melt; then stir to melt the rest and cool the mixture a little.

Beat the eggs with the sugar; add the coffee and vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate; add the dry ingredients and the rest of the chocolate chips (1 ½ cups).

Let the batter rest for five minutes while you line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Then, drop by tablespoons, spread the batter a little to form rounds, and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8- 10 minutes.

Check after 7 minutes; cookies are done when puffed and cracked on top.  Do not overcook.  Let cookies cool on sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Yum…

It’s Just Not Christmas Without the Rum

In the eggnog, soaked in the fruitcake, between the layers of an Italian sponge cake – rum is the defining ingredient for me at Christmas.  A home ec major – they don’t have those anymore – introduced me to rumballs, and they became the family project every year.

Gingerbread houses could fall, sugar cookies might not make it out of the cutters, but rumballs always were a success.

And, if they were a little dry – just add more rum…

Ta Rum Pa Pum Pum –  Recipe for Rumballs

  • 1 box vanilla wafers crumbs – crushed in blender or whacked in plastic bag
  • 1 bag chopped pecans (at least 8 oz – could go to 16 oz if you like nuts)
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • about 3/4 cup white corn syrup (I know it’s bad for you, but you’re only going to use it this once)
  • about 1/2 cup or more of good quality rum

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the corn syrup and rum.  Mix well.  If too sticky, add more powdered sugar.  If too dry, add more rum.  Roll into small balls; dip into powdered sugar or chocolate sprinkles.

Store in a tin and refrigerate for up to a month.

Best part – licking your hands and fingers when done.


Gourmet Chocolate Wafers from 1950

More from the Gourmet Cookie Book…

The Gourmet Cookie Book is fast becoming one of my favorites.  I found some of my mother’s cookies from the fifties (and I thought she had invented them).

Chocolate Wafers

I couldn’t wait for this refrigerator cookie dough to chill, so I rolled the dough into little balls and dipped the bottom of a glass in rum to press them thin. Then, of course, added sprinkles.   I also substituted real rum for the extract – alcohol evaporates anyway when cooked.

Cream 3/4 cup butter; add 1 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1 tablespoon rum and 1 egg. Beat together. Add 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add to wet ingredients and roll or chill. Bake in 375 degree oven about 8 minutes.

Lemon Thins from 1976

I bought The Gourmet Cookie Book for a present, but decided to keep it after thumbing through the pages. Cookies published in Gourmet – from 1941-2009 – from birth to death of the magazine – with full-page pictures.

The older the recipe, the easier. None are really healthy, but this is the season to indulge, so why worry.  I made the first batch of lemon thins for a gift, but ate them – all of them – my rationalization: they are very thin…

For fellow lemon (and butter) lovers…

Lemon Thins from the Gourmet Cookie book:
“In a bowl, beat 2 eggs with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture forms a ribbon when the beater is lifted, and add 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind.   In a bowl, beat 6 tablespoons butter, softened, until it is light and fluffy and add it to the egg mixture alternately with 2/3 cup flour.

Drop the batter by teaspoons 2 1/2 inches apart on well buttered baking sheet; flatten the mounds into 2 inch rounds with a spoon dipped in water, and bake in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Cool cookies on wire rack.

What to do with the rindless lemons? Gourmet has a recipe for lemon sandwich cookies, but for now I think sliced into glasses of water will be fine.