Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

        Maya's Day of the Dead Cookies

We recently had pavers installed out front and back of the house which had to be sealed which meant I was held hostage in the house for 6 hours. What does one do when there is so much to be done around the house and the perfect opportunity arises to actually get something accomplished? Bake of course!!

This recipe comes from a blog which my daughter follows and I was looking for a treat to make so that I could "BOO" her. If you don't know what "BOO-ing" is check it out here. This recipe is credited to Alice Medrich from her book - A Year in Chocolate: Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts. You cannot go wrong with an Alice Medrich recipe. My first cookbook in the baking genre was Cocolat by Ms. Medrich which I posted  about back in February. I have to say that because of her simple and wonderful recipes I have flourished in the baking spectrum.

These cookies are made up of a vanilla and chocolate dough. You will need to freeze the chocolate dough till firm before shaping for it is much softer than the vanilla dough. As I was shaping and piercing holes in the chocolate dough I was thinking why not leave the chocolate dough solid since you place the vanilla dough atop the chocolate. As I reviewed my recipe again, it says to do just that. Shape and freeze. No piercing!! Thank goodness - for it did not fare well; my dough cracked and fell apart. I was quite happy to re-roll and re-shape this dough!

Success meter (1-3): 3

The chocolate dough is a much tackier, softer dough
 than the vanilla and needs to be placed in the
 freezer till firm enough to shape.

Skull taking shape!

"I dont want to go in the oven..."

The Tools: handle of pastry brush to shape the eyes,
wooden skewer for the nose, a knife for the mouth,
 and floss to slice the logs.

Back side of log....hmmmm

So not working! Good thing you are not supposed to
 make facial features in the chocolate dough.

With each slice the facial features became less and less existent.
You will have to rework them after layering.

Not quite as I had hoped...
but better than expected!

Happy Halloween Ash!!!

Maya’s Day of the Dead Cookies
Makes 36 cookies

Vanilla Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
8 Tbl (1-stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch process
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
8 Tbl (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (packed) brown sugar, lump free
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Baking sheets lined with parchment paper

To make the vanilla dough: Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour just until incorporated. Form the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Set aside.

To make the chocolate dough: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Set aside.
In  a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with the back of a spoon or an electric mixer until smooth and creamy but not fluffy (less than 1½ minutes with an electric mixer.)
Beat in the egg and vanilla. On low speed, beat tin the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Form dough into a log the same length as the vanilla log. If the dough is too soft and sticky to handle (and it will be!) place it in the freezer till firm enough to shape.

To shape the skulls: Reshape each log of dough so that it is skull shaped  rather than round(I used the handle of my pastry brush to indent the dough) make one side narrow for the chin and jaw and leave the other side wide for the cranium. Wrap and refrigerate the chocolate dough. Form features in the vanilla dough, using the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes for eyes through the entire length (as suggested by Heidi of 101 Cookbooks blog, it is easier to cut the log in half first). Form the nose with a skewer, poking two holes for nostrils. Form the mouth by inserting a narrow table knife and wiggling it back and forth to lengthen and widen the opening. Don’t try for perfection! Irregular holes make the best and weirdest skulls. Wrap and refrigerate the vanilla dough. Chill both doughs at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the chocolate dough into 1/8-inch slices and place them at least 1 ½ inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Cut the vanilla dough into 1/8-inch slices and place 1 slice on top of each chocolate slice. Bake until pale golden at the edges, 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Slide parchment liners onto cooling rack or transfer the cookies directly from the pan to the rack with a metal pancake turner, waiting 1 to 2 minutes if necessary to let the cookies firm up before moving them. Cook cookies completely before stacking or storing. Cookies keep at least 1 week in an air-tight container.

101 Cookbooks [dot] com which credits A Year in Chocolate: Four Season of Unforgettable Desserts by Alice Medrich

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