Friday, February 13, 2009

Cozy and Contented Chocolate Spice Cookies

There are desserts for lazy days, for overwhelming days, for nerve-wracking days, for disappointing days, and for birthdays, but my favorite desserts are the ones that I make after a gratifying, happy-go-lucky day: these are celebratory desserts, in the vein of tiny pats on the back and warm smiles, as opposed to over-the-top parties and long-winded speeches of triumph. So, to use food-speak: a cozy, contented cookie instead of a several layer cake with fondant.

Yesterday was a day for this sort of cookie, and normally when I have days like these (which is occurring more and more frequently, to my utter delight), I go for something familiar like my chocolate chip or my oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies: basic, delicious, and something I could put together in my sleep, if the need ever arose. But I had found this recipe for Chocolate Spice Cookies not too long ago, and I was intrigued: the chocolate was what grabbed my attention, and the gingerbread-like spices are what pulled me in.

The procedure is pretty standard for drop cookies: mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, then mix both mixtures together. The resulting cookie is something different and delicious. The cinnamon, ginger, and cloves give the cookies just the right amount of spiciness mixed with the chocolate and sugar for sweetness – the balance here is really ideal. Additionally, the molasses and the applesauce make for a soft, chewy, and soothing texture that goes perfectly with the satisfied sigh of an altogether pleasant day.

Chocolate Spice Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen


1 ½ c. all purpose flour
½ c. alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. sugar
¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
¼ c. molasses


Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees
Stir the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and set aside
In another mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a large rubber spatula. Beat in the applesauce and molasses.
Stir in the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.
Drop tablespoons of the dough an inch apart onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, changing the positions of the pans halfway through the baking. Exchange the top pan and the bottom and turn them back to front. The cookies will be fairly moist when they are done; avoid overbaking.

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