Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cookie 1: Black & White Swirls

These are the first cookies in my new series for holiday baking this year. I'm going to try to get to at least a cookie per week from now until Christmas so we'll have a nice variety for all your parties, to give as gifts, or just to enjoy on a random day :).

More on the series later, but for now, here is Cookie 1: black & white swirls. These are from Martha Stewart's Cookie book. To be honest, do NOT make these at 11pm on a weekday and expect them to be super easy. Yeah. That was me and I was not happy. Its not that these take a super long time or have a ton of instructions, but they did take a bit of extra time compared to other cookies. But - the result was worth it. Really nice buttery cookie that holds up well, stays fresh for quite a few days and looks totally cute on your platters or to give as gifts.

One note before the recipe - Martha does actually provide instructions for 2 shapes (you can see the "bull's eye" shape in the background of the 2nd photo); however, I found mine to look not like bull's eyes but more like bone marrow or dog treats (which = nasty). It it super difficult to get the center to stay round and I spent way too much time on it. The spirals are so much cuter! If you'd like to try it, go for it (I'm sure its just my inept rolling skills), but I'm sticking to the spirals :).

Black & White Spirals ("Icebox Spirals" from MS's Cookies, page 117)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter @ room temperature (3 sticks)
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 cups AP flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1. Make dough by combining butter and sugar until creamy. Add 2 eggs and salt, mix until combined. Then mix in the milk and vanilla until uniform. Reduce speed and add flour slowly, mixing until just combined.

2. Remove half the dough and set aside (this will be the vanilla portion of the dough). Add cocoa powder to remaining dough. Mix until combined.

3. To make spirals: roll out rectangle of vanilla dough on floured board (approximately 1/4 inch thick). Note: the floured board is super important. My dough was annoyingly sticky. I ended up adding a decent amount of flour in order to roll it out and the cookies turned out fine, so don't feel like you are adding too much flour - they should end up fine. Roll out same size rectangle of chocolate dough. Trim rectangles to approximately same size and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cool. I put each rectangle on piece of parchment paper and put them on top of one another in the refrigerator.

4. After they cool off, brush each rectangle with egg white and place on top of one another. Starting with the longer side, roll up the dough into a spiral shape, pinching and tucking to keep it tight as you roll. Seal the end of the roll (you can brush additional egg white if not sticking properly). This seems really easy at first, but I had a few issues keeping the doughs together while rolling. But, if you keep the roll tight and keep tucking it in, it will end up holding together really well in the end. You can also squeeze the resultant log a bit when you finish rolling it to make sure its nice and tight. Refrigerate again.

5. Ok, now you are ready to cut. This is the easy part!! Preheat the oven @ 350 degrees. Take out the roll. I chopped off the end and discarded it. Now, slice 1/4-inch piece of dough crosswise to create beautiful spirals (cut slow and with a sharp knife) and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. They will fluff up slightly but not grow too much. Bake until set, but not browned, approximately 12-15 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight containers.

Enjoy! I have some really delicious fruit bar cookies coming up next!


Anonymous said...

Those are sooo pretty! I love them!

geri said...

oh yum! those look so good!