Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dark Chocolate Cut Out Cookies

There is a baby shower in the family this weekend, and I look upon this as an opportunity to bake something. So I offered to be in charge of "all things sweet". I've been cooking for a week! Cookies, macarons, and tomorrow cupcakes.

One of the cutest creations I came up with were these dark chocolate bear cut outs. Not only do they look good, but there is a LOT of chocolate flavor to these cookies. To me, there is nothing worse than taking a bite of something that is supposed to be chocolate and finding it flat and tasteless. I find that I keep eating it, looking for that chocolate fix...but it never comes.

Not with these teddy bears, let me tell you! They pack a punch (as well as plenty of cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate). Be careful, though, the dough is VERY fragile (and extremely delicious raw...but who eats raw dough??). It takes a long time to stiffen up in the refrigerator, and even then it gets sticky fast when you are working with it.

The recipe says you should bake at 325, which I did. I ended up with very tender cookies, which do break easily (I hope they last until Saturday!). I happened to bake one cookie at 350 by accident (it was on another pan...) and it turned out much sturdier and crisp. I think I'll go that route next time!

Dark Chocolate Cut Outs
2 Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 Tb. hot water

In a food processor, combine the cocoa, chocolate and 1/4 cup of flour and process until the chocolate is a fine powder. Add the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse to blend. In a bowl (or stand mixer), cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and coffee. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing well. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 325 (or 350 for crisper cookies). Divide dough into quarters, and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes and transfer to ungreased (or silpat lined) baking sheets.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until firm. Transfer to racks to cool.

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