Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Salt, Just Sweet

Sunny days are the worst when you have a gray cloud over your head.

Most other times, I would decide that a helping of my oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies would help, but I know that no amount of sugar is going to chase this rainstorm away, so why bother?

Aside from the gloom, I am pleased, actually, that I’ve reached a point in my baking where I realize that it’s not just the final product that should be savored, but it’s the entire process. I’m no longer baking just in order to reach a final destination, but it’s a fulfilling task that soothes my mind and relaxes my body; it’s absolutely lifting for my soul to stand in front of my counter, feel the warmth of the stove, and have a recipe card staring me in the face. Sure, the end result is important, and clearly it’s the only part that matters to my audience of tasters, but it’s no longer the sole reason I bake.

With this in mind, I decided on a cookie that I would work with a bit more than a drop cookie; something I could put in my hands, and that I could feel and form. And this recipe for fudge cookies truly yields chocolately-delicious results. The cookie, when slightly under-baked, is soft on the inside with slightly harder edges, and the powdered sugar enhances and adds to the unsweetened cocoa powder.

No matter what the recipe, really, a little bit of sweetness at least helps to brighten up a blue day.

Chocolate Cookie Pretzels


2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar


1. Heat oven to 350°F. 2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until well blended. 3. Divide dough into 24 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each piece with hands into thin strips, about 12-inches long. Place strip on ungreased cookie sheet. Twist into pretzel shape and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. 4. Bake 7-8 minutes. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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