My third assignment for the Secret Recipe Club! When I clicked on my assigned blog – Kudos Kitchen by Renee – I melted on the spot: the front page was a post composed by her three dogs (Ivy, Nutmeg and Nell), and they had a lot to bark about!
Renee is an artist (check her store at Etsy), and that alone leaves me in complete awe, because I cannot draw a tree to save my own life! In fact, back in middle school two things terrified me to the point of losing sleep: physical education and art classes. I was absolutely horrible at both, and wanted to disappear from the planet when it was time to face them. Back to blogging. I fell in love with Renee’s 4th of July cookies, and adapted them for a Christmas time motif, switching the colors to green and red. And, since I’ve always wanted to make shortbread cookies, this was a perfect excuse to bake a batch. Without further ado, and with apologies to Renee, here is my very first attempt at playing Jackson Pollock. You can understand why I was not very popular with the art teachers… (sigh)
WHITE CHOCOLATE DIPPED COOKIES
(adapted from Kudos Kitchen by Renee)
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
for dipping cookies
1 + 1/2 packages white chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons Crisco, divided
1 tablespoon milk
red and green food coloring
In a large kitchen Aid type bowl, beat together the butter with the brown sugar until creamy. Add the flour, ground hazelnuts, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Beat until smooth. Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a log and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is firm enough to handle, remove 1 inch balls and shape as a cookie, flattening the surface. Alternatively, you can slice pieces straight from the log, 1/4 inch thick. Smooth the surface and edges, and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on until set and very lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from pan and place the cookies to cool on a rack. Before icing, place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Dipping the cookies: melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips and the 2 + 1/2 tablespoons of Crisco in your microwave. Check on it often and stir it occasionally until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted.
Using a fork and working with one cookie at a time, dip each cookie, turning it over to coat both sides nicely with chocolate. Place your dipped cookies on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Follow this step until all of the chocolate is used up. This amount of chocolate will be enough to coat about 12 cookies.
With the remaining 1/2 cup of morsels, melt them in your microwave again, using 1/2 Tbs Crisco and 1 tablespoon of milk to keep the consistency thinner and better for drizzling.
In two separate small bowls, divide the chocolate and color them with the red and green food coloring. Drizzle the cookies with both colors of icing, using the tines of a fork dipped in water, or if you have the right skills, a little improvised piping bag made with parchment paper.
Place the cookies in the fridge until time to serve them.
to print the recipe, click here
A few things I learned from this baking adventure…
1. Run away from the small tubes of food coloring gel, because even if you squeeze the full tube of green gel in 1/4 cup of melted chocolate, the resulting icing will have a pale lime color. Go for the real McCoy, the type that you need to use a toothpick to grab the tiny amount that gets the job done.
2. White chocolate is not for sissies. When Renee says to make sure the chocolate is fully melted and smooth, she knows what she’s talking about. Lumps get together and seem to multiply at a fast rate. Then, right before your eyes, the whole thing turns into a solid mess.
3. White chocolate is not for sissies. Melted chocolate, when smooth and fluid, has a remarkable tendency to splatter. Certain types of dog fur catch droplets of icing with high efficiency, and don’t wash easily.
4. Have I mentioned that white chocolate is not for sissies? Buy more than you think you’ll need. Have a cup of chamomile tea before icing your cookies. You may need three shots of tequila after.
But it will all be worth it, these cookies were amazing! You can play with the colors to match your favorite football team, or go real artistic and draw something over the white chocolate canvas, like red hearts for Valentine’s Day!
Renee, it was great to get to know your blog, hope you had as much fun as I did with your assignment this month!
ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Focaccia, with a Twist
TWO YEARS AGO: Merry Christmas!