Friday, December 7, 2012


12 Days of Christmas Cookies Day 5! I know, you are thinking that this should be pasta, right? This is an Italian cookie that I saw on another librarian’s blog: Life, Love, Librarianship . They looked really good and I was interested to try something that was her family recipe. There are many cookies that are classics around the world and it’s nice to try them. This is a spiced chocolate cookie with icing. And you can’t go wrong with sprinkles.

This recipe is made with flour, and she gave the option of using ground almonds as part of the flour. I used about 25% ground almonds. I like the flavor that ground nuts can add to dough, but you do have to watch and make sure that the cookies don’t get too dry while baking. That’s a little tricky with this recipe as the cookies DO look dry when they are done. They were still soft, so I figured they were good and took them out of the oven.

I couldn’t get the icing for these quite right. I followed the instructions carefully and measured then sifted the flour. This, actually, is a pet peeve of mine, when the instructions aren’t clear. For example 2 cups strawberries, then sliced, is so different than 2 cups sliced strawberries. I think my failing was that I used milk in place of heavy cream, as I was out. I just don’t think that the icing would ever get that thicker consistency with the milk. They still turned out ok. I wasn’t quite expecting such a spiced cookie for some reason. I am curious how these will taste as they age. I think this is one that will definitely improve with time.

2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup milk

1 cup powdered sugar, measured then sifted
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon almond extract
Sprinkles, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a large mixer bowl, cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy (about 2-4 minutes). Mix in egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined, stopping to scrape the bowl when needed to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly. I had to make sure there wasn’t unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl.

Grease hands with cooking spray and roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, until the cookies look dry and cracked. Let cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Make the icing: in a small bowl combine the sifted powdered sugar, almond extract, and 3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream. Mix until all the sugar is absorbed. You want a thick glaze. Dip the tops of the cookies in the icing and sprinkle with sprinkles. Allow to set before serving.

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