Saturday, June 26, 2010

Checkerboard Cookies

Even though cookies are going to taste the same no matter the shape, sometimes it is fun to play with colors and shapes and see what happens...because most often times than not - the result will be a feast for the eyes.
Click on the pictures to see them in full size.
I recently came across THIS recipe for these checkerboard cookies, which are a combination of simple sugar cookie dough with cocoa sugar cookie dough.
Obviously the taste is nothing else but chocolaty goodness and really the possibilities of playing with the patterns are endless.
This recipe is not necessarily labor intensive, but it does require you to adhere to the guidelines as far as sizing and timing goes.
 If you do go ahead and give it a try, the results of your work will be rewarding !

  • 650 gr or 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 sticks (1 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (unsweetened) cocoa powder

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix to combine.
Finish the mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon.
Divide the dough in half.
The best way to do it is to use the kitchen scales and weight the dough.
Knead ½ cup of cocoa into one portion of the dough.
Divide each of the chocolate and vanilla dough in half.
Form each of total four portions into a rectangle, wrap individually in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 - 3 hours and up to a day.
Before proceeding, take one portion of the chocolate and one portion of the vanilla dough and let them sit on the counter for about 10-15 minutes to soften slightly.
On parchment paper, or a silpat silicone mat or a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll one portion of the vanilla and one portion of the chocolate dough (separately, of course) into ½ -inch thick rectangles, with the sides about 12 x 5 inches long.
Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife cut out a total of 9 of half-inch wide strips from the each dough. Handling the strips delicately, form two checkerboard logs alternating the chocolate and vanilla strips
Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, at least for 2 hours.
When ready to continue, on the parchment paper roll the remaining chocolate (or vanilla) dough into a rectangle about 1/3-inch thick and measuring 12 x 6 inches.
Place the firmed checkerboard log into the center, long sides parallel, and with the aid of parchment, wrap the dough around the checkerboard log pressing firmly to adhere.
Roll the finished log from side to side to form sharp corners.
Wrap in the parchment and/or plastic and refrigerate well.
The best would be to leave the formed cookie log in the refrigerator overnight.
Don’t rush if you are after the uniform shape of the cookies.
Repeat with the rest of the dough and the second chilled checkerboard log to form another, opposite in colors, cookie log.
Wrap, place in the fridge.
As mentioned, you can freeze the logs.
Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before using.
When ready to bake, center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the cookie-dough log into ¼-inch thick slices.
Place on the prepared baking sheet leaving about 1 inch all way around them.
Bake the cookies, in batches, for about 12 to 13 minutes until firm and golden brown on the bottom. Don’t let them bake for too long, or the color contrast between the chocolate and vanilla dough will be lost.
Cool on the baking sheet on a rack for 15 minutes.
Then transfer the cookies to the rack and cool completely.

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