Small Dice Challenge: Holiday Cookies

If you are waiting in anticipation of my rotisserie chicken, part 2, then you will have to wait a little longer, because I am tired of eating poultry at the moment.  Instead, I wanted to focus on the upcoming holidays.  I always make cookies at this time to give to my husband’s relatives and our neighbors. They’re the only ones left in my life that might trust my cooking abilities.  Plus, I try not to keep sweets in the house, and I wanted to try out some new ideas.

Sometimes, I crave my mom’s chocolate chip cookies.  Well, I say “my mom’s” but really it’s Nestlé Tollhouse’s recipe.  Either way, it’s an easy recipe. Though if you have read my previous posts on this blog, you know I do not like to follow recipes.  I have a way around this, however, which is that I memorized the recipe and follow it with a grain of salt or whatever the saying is.  In the past, no matter what I have tried, the cookies still don’t come out as chewy as I would like.  I read about using cornstarch, a lower temperature, taking them out early, breaking them up after rolling them in a ball, using less flour, melting the butter, etc.  I decided to try all of these methods at once to up my chances of having chewier cookies.  I followed the recipe as I had remembered it, but this time I melted my butter first. I also wanted more Christmasy-type cookies and decided to make them mint chocolate.  I substituted about a 1/4 of unsweetened cocoa for some of the flour.  I say 1/4, but I don’t ever measure accurately, so don’t hold me to that number.  I used peppermint extract instead of the vanilla too.  I mixed everything together, and the batter looked promising which is always a good sign.

Then I set the oven to, wait for it, 325º.  It took everything in me to not use my usual 350º but I persevered.  I rolled the batter into little balls and tore them apart then put them back together and put them on the cookie sheet.

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They look like turds.

I kept them in the oven for about 8 minutes and took them out to check how they were — they were still soft.  I decided to press them down a little bit to see if that would help and put them back in the oven.  After a few minutes, I took them out to rest.  In the end, they came out perfectly.  They were chocolatey, minty and chewy!

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Since not everybody likes mint chocolate (Rina, I’m calling you out), I looked through my cabinets to see if there was anything interesting I could make. I found shredded coconut and remembered that I still had leftover pecans in the freezer, so I decided to use those as well to make “Coco-nutties.” Get it?!  I still used the same recipe I always do, but to add more coconut flavor, I used coconut oil instead of butter which I also melted.  I wanted to use the rest of it because there was only a little bit left.  However when I poured it in, I realized it might have been too much.

I really use measurements as a guideline, more than a rule anyways.  This allows you to have different cookies every time you bake. It makes life more interesting.  Moving on…I had to make the pecans into small pieces, I’ve seen chefs do it professionally with the butt of the knife, but I’m not a chef, so I used my fingers to break them.  I had flashbacks of shucking pecans on my family’s farm in Texas.

IMG_20151217_163332Then I threw the pecan pieces into the batter along with the shredded coconut and mixed everything.

IMG_20151217_163356I repeated the same steps as I did with the Chocolatey Minty Chewies (by the way, that’s what I named them). This time the cookies came out pretty flat.  I knew I used too much coconut oil, but at least they were still chewy.

 

I am far from being done with the cookie-making though. My husband was looking through my cookie tupperware and was appalled that I didn’t have any flavors he liked. So, I told him I would make snickerdoodles since those are one of his favorite kind of cookies. I realized I had only a tiny bit of flour left, definitely not enough to follow my recipe.  I did, however, have white cake mix.  I was sure it would work. I poured it into a bowl and just added eggs, butter, and a secret ingredient that I will reveal to you now….

I had some brandy leftover from the time I made a cocktail for our Halloween post.  I’ve been using it for eggnog, but now I used it for my Schnockerdoodles. That isn’t a typo. That’s what I’m calling it. While mixing it all together, my mixer started getting wobbly. It was probably drunk from the brandy, but I’m pretty sure it is broken. Oh well, at least it was able to do one last job. I’ll probably still use the one side that works. After that was sorted out, I started rolling little balls and dipping them into sugar and cinnamon. I tried breaking them apart, but they didn’t stick as well with stuff on them, so I just kept them in ball form.

IMG_20151217_163612Finally, I baked the cookies and they came out fluffy and were approved by my husband, a pastry cook.  Personally, for me, I think they had too much vanilla flavor, but to each his own.

The INfamous (means they're more than famous) trio
The INfamous (means they’re more than famous) trio

Author: HungryEyes

I am a mother of two married to a Pastry Cook. I have worked in restaurants in various positions, but ended up as a teacher. Since having my last child, though, I am a stay-at-home mom trying to survive by cooking from home. I have never been someone who could open the fridge and whip up meals willy-nilly, but have been inspired by watching reruns of Chopped this summer. My post Small Dice is an ode to the show and, also, a challenge to myself to become a better cook and a more efficient mom. In addition, I love movies and music. I will be harassed throughout this blog for my love of Doris Day and Billy Idol, because they will be sure to come up, but I don’t care, it’s nothing new for me. https://youtu.be/-sYKI4A3uhc

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