A Small Symbol For a Special Occasion

March 24, 2009

Have you ever known a couple who were perfect for each other? Not just happy together, but really perfect for each other. Who just strengthen each other in ways most of us will never know. I happen to know such a couple. These two… it’s hard to describe, you’d have to meet them to see how well they work together and complete each other but honestly, you just have to spend five minutes with them to see it. There is a certain flow that you just don’t see in most relationships.

Anyways, my dear friend Dean, is the guy-half of this couple. I baked a bunch of stuff for their engagement party last summer and have been really looking forward to their wedding. Unfortunately, because of various things in their lives (my wonderful, dear, sweet friend is being sent to Afghanistan!) they had to rush things, and had a pre-wedding-wedding. I still had to make them something though (of course!) and while the cookies I chose to make might seem simple, I thought the symbolism of joining two types of cookies (though perhaps a bit cheesy), was perfect. 

I really wish I could do more for my friend as they prepare for the future, but hopefully this little act, this punny symbol meant something to them.

Two Heart Cookies
Slightly adapted from: Epicurean Escapism

Chocolate Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz chocolate, melted and cooled
2 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Sugar Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

You can follow the same directions for each recipe, just make sure to keep things separate.

In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients (except the sugar). Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter. Add the egg and vanilla or chocolate liqueur to the sugar and butter. With the mixer on low speed, beat to combine until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time and beat with the electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is just combined.

Wrap the dough tightly with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. More is better, especially for the chocolate dough.

Remove the dough from the wrap, place it on a smooth, lightly floured surface, and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. You can also roll between two sheets of waxed paper.

Cut out shapes with heart shaped cookie cutters, using two different sizes (cutting one inside the other). Carefully pick up the cookie, remove the inner heart and put aside, placing the large heart on a greased cookie sheet. Combine and roll out the leftover dough and continue cutting out cookie shapes to place on cookie sheets. Repeat with the other batter, placing the smaller chocolate hearts inside the big sugar hearts and the smaller sugar hearts in the large chocolate hearts. Place the hearts on your cookie sheets in the freezer until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350F and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, turning the tray halfway through, until the edges of the sugar cookies just begin to turn very light brown.

Remove cookie sheet from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool completely before storing or eating. Enjoy!

The original recipe called for peanut butter dough, rather than a simple sugar cookie dough, but as I have mentioned I am weird and picky and only like my peanut butter on a nice slice of bread so I went with the much favored sugar cookies. But I highly suggest trying the original recipe if you like that stuff.

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Christmas Cookie Edition – Volume 2: Vegan and Delicious

December 15, 2008

 
My dear sister is the kind of women it’s easy to be proud of. She is incredibly quirky and fun to be around, and an great photographer. She has been trying to start a business with a friend of hers and finally has been getting paying jobs. She even has a blog, showing some of her amazing work.

It is finally the kind of job she can be happy with, and I can’t wait for the day she can quit her “day job” and do this full time. I think it will be great for her.

I personally have never really been one of those people who care about how much cheese, or butter…or chocolate that I eat. But my sister is the exact opposite. She really cares about what goes into her body and how everything she does and eats effects everything around her, so she and her husband decided to become vegan. Is that the correct phrase? “Become vegan”?….Anyways, they are vegan. Which makes for an interesting challenge when it comes to Christmas cookies. You can’t go with all the ingredients you would normally choose.

I am always leery when trying “alternative” ingredients. Soy, dairy free, lactose free…none of that stuff sounds like fun. But these cookies are incredible. Even with all the special ingredients it required, they are simply amazing. You could easily use it as a healthy-ish substitute for kids, and they would never even realize all the things these cookies are lacking!

Merry Christmas, my dear sister.

Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: About.com

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
10 oz dairy free chocolate chips
½ cup dairy free soy margarine
1 ½ cups organic sugar
3 tsp egg replacer mixed well with 1/3 cup hot water
½ tsp chocolate liqueur

Preheat oven 350 F. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil/parchment paper

Bring several inches of water to boil in a small pan or double boiler. Place ½ of the chocolate chips and the margarine in a small stainless steel bowl over the pan and stir constantly until melted and smooth.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

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In another bowl, pour the chocolate mixture and using an mixer, add the sugar, egg replacer and chocolate liqueur until well combined.

In three additions, gradually mix in the flour mixture until well combined. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. place sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until the top has cracked but the cookies are still soft. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool until you can no longer resist. Enjoy. 

As a small side note, I have noticed that recipes that call for both melted chocolate and cocoa powder tend to be really moist, with a richer chocolate taste. Keep that in mind when you’re looking for new recipes 🙂