December 24, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Red-Hot Chocolate Slices )

Are you exhausted yet?  Are you cranky?  Are you staring at two visually identical gift cards and wondering which is the $25 you received from your third cousin yesterday, and which is the $100 you're supposed to give to your brother?

Did the tree fall over yet again and at this point you're considering just leaving it on its side amongst the crushed remains of your childhood ornaments as some kind of artistic statement about the expectations and reality of the holiday?

Have your days turned into an endless, futile effort to keep wrapping paper out of the mouth of a manic beagle?

Might I suggest pouring a bag of red hots into a sandwich bag and smashing them to bits with a hammer?

It's so damn good.

Although the red hots look kind of gimmicky, they really do good work in these cookies, adding a spicy, chewy note that contrasts nicely with the crisp of the cookie and the snap of the chocolate chips.'re getting an awful lot of visual bang for not a lot of work.

Sit down.  Breathe.  Have a cookie.  

And try to make sure the beagle doesn't eat the tree.

Red Hot-Chocolate Slices
from Better Homes and Gardens

Shortening  [ 1/2 cup ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 1/2 cup, softened ]
Sugar  [ 1 cup ]
Baking Powder  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Salt  [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Egg  [ 1 ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Flour  [ 2 1/4 cups ]
Cinnamon "Red Hot" Candies  [ crushed, 2 tablespoons ]
Red Paste Food Coloring  [ as desired ]
Unsweetened Chocolate  [ 1 ounce, melted and cooled to room temperature ]
Miniature Semisweet Chocolate Chips  [ 2 tablespoons ]
Cinnamon  [ 1/8 teaspoon ]

1.   In the bowl of a mixer, beat Shortening and Butter on Medium-High speed for 30 seconds.
2.   Add Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt.
3.   Mix, scraping sides of bowl occasionally, until thoroughly combined.
4.   Mix in Egg and Vanilla.
5.   On Low speed, mix in Flour just until no streaks remain.
6.   Divide Dough into 3 equal pieces.
7.   Set first portion of Dough back in mixer bowl; add Red Hot Candies and mix until thoroughly
        distributed.  Set aside.
8.   Place second portion of Dough back in mixer bowl; add enough Red Paste Food Coloring to reach
         desired shade.  Mix until completely blended.  Set aside.
9.   Place third portion of Dough in mixer bowl; add Unsweetened Chocolate, Chocolate Chips, and
         Cinnamon.  Mix until completely blended.
10.   Wrap each portion of Dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled  [ about 1 hour ].

11.   Roll each Dough portion out between two sheets of waxed paper until it is an 8x4-inch rectangle.
12.   Lay a long sheet of plastic wrap on counter; place block of Chocolate Dough on plastic wrap.  Top with
            Red-Hot Dough and then Red Dough.  Press together gently.
13.   Wrap Dough entirely in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until chilled  [ about 1 hour ].

14.   Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
15.   With a large, sharp knife, trim edges of Dough stack until it is a perfect rectangle.
16.   Slice Dough crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
17.   Place slices 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
18.   Bake until set but not browned  [ about 8 minutes ].
19.   Transfer to wire racks to cool.          

Makes about 24 cookies.

Further proof that chocolate and 
cinnamon are meant to be together:
Chocolate-Cinnamon Gelato with Toffee Bits

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