Today I did something horrible… almost unimaginable. I took a 30 year tradition in my family and stomped it flat… and was punished for it. Let me explain.
There is a particular cookie that my mother made for me every holiday season for the past 30 years or so. I get one batch of these cookies per year. That’s it. Between 30 and 40 cookies, that’s all there is. That’s probably one reason I like them so much, their rarity.
For the past decade or so I’ve made them myself, since my mom is getting older. Still only make one batch a year. Made by the same recipe every time. Except this year. I wanted to experiment. I wanted to apply some recently learned chocolate processing skills and try something that should have been awesome.
In many ways, this was an important step that many scientists don’t take. They dare to question the conventional wisdom and try something that everyone else says can’t be done. And very rarely, they make an important discovery.
I wasn’t so lucky.
These cookies are basically chocolate balls with a peppermint icing. The icing is made with lots of powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and red food coloring.
I thought peppermint flavored white chocolate would be an excellent frosting, especially if it hardened up and made a chocolate coating. Yum. or not…
The addition of the food coloring and/or peppermint extract caused the smooth, melted chocolate to seize. For you non-bakers, that means smooth, creamy, molten chocolate becomes a rock solid mass of misaligned fats, cocoa, and sugars. I made several attempts, varying the ratios of the chocolate, when I added the food coloring and extract. I thought about making a real chocolate frosting, but that would be too much.
The failures looked like this.
Those pink masses are actually chocolate.
The one “success” was actually melting some peppermint Hersey kisses (my mom bought them, I don’t buy Hersey’s for a variety of social and taste reasons). While they did melt, they haven’t hardened yet and eating those 4 cookies is roughly equivalent of putting a double handful of the sponge toys that expand when they hit water into your mouth.
The experience is… unpalatable.
Still, as experiments go, it wasn’t too bad. I’ve got a pretty good sugar rush going on right now.
In the end, I made the proper powdered sugar icing. The cookies taste great.
In case you’re curious (and you’re one of the 8 people on the planet who actually would like this sort of thing), here’s the recipe.
2 cups flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix butter egg, cocoa, oil and vanilla well
- Stir in rest of ingredients
- Mix well
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Roll dough into balls (bigger than a marble, smaller than a ping pong ball)
- Place on greased (or parchment paper) cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12-17 minutes
- Cool and frost
3 cups powdered sugar
3-6 tablespoons water (this depends, add until you get a smooth consistency)
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
¼ teaspoon red food coloring
- Mix ingredients until a smooth (but not liquidy) frosting results.
- Pour over chocolate balls