Sweets for the Sweet

I did it.
I survived the Great Chicago Blizzard of ’11.
In case you’re wondering, this was the view out my back window about two days after the blizzard:

To be honest, it wasn’t all that bad. I got two days off from work and I had all of that time cooped up in the apartment to get some actual work done. I played some guitar, I caught up on my leisure reading and I baked magnificent cookies.

It is that time of year again, when hearts grow all a-flutter. Oh, Valentine’s Day, you are both a joy and a scourge. I enjoy the idea of publicly celebrating love and all its pleasures, but I do not enjoy all of the packaged, trite, crap that lines the grocery shelves every February. Yes, we all need a little distraction from the snow and why not treat yourself to a nice dinner with the one you love? But it really is a bit much to press everyone to load up on unpalatable, corn syrup-laden garbage. With all of this free time, I decided to treat my darlin’ to some goodies baked with love. I found a recipe online from recipegirl.com, tweeked it a bit and made some delicious, decadent sugar cookies. I added the coffee, you can use water instead, but coffee brings out the flavor of the cocoa.

1½ cups (6¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup (2¼ ounces) Dutch- process cocoa powder (or Special Dark)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup (8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbs extra strong, brewed coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder, whisking until no lumps remain. In a separate, larger bowl, beat the butter until light. Add the sugar and continue beating until it’s well incorporated. Then add the egg, water, and vanilla and beat for at least 2 minutes, until the mixture has lightened both in color and texture. Gently mix in the dry ingredients.
2. Shape the dough into a flattened disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-40 mins, or overnight. This dough is very soft, so it’s imperative that it’s been chilled before you roll it out.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two or three baking sheets.
4. On a clean, heavily floured work surface, roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness, and cut to desired shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. They won’t expand a great deal, so you don’t need a lot of space between them.
5. Bake the cookies for 17 to 18 minutes. (Watch carefully; it’s difficult to tell when they’re done, as they’re so dark you can’t see if they’re brown, but when you start to smell them they’re probably done. If you smell even a whiff of scorching, remove them from the oven immediately.) Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool them completely.
Yield: 8 to 9 dozen cookies
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour: Cookie Companion

I can’t think of a better gift for your sweetheart than these cookies. They are crisp and have a deep, fudgy flavor. They would go well with a nice cup of coffee, or a glass of wine.

I prefer to eat them while watching this movie


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