If you think you’ve got every cookie you will ever need in your holiday cookie recipe file, think again. Holiday Cookies Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season has now at least doubled my cookie recipe repertoire.
Icebox Cookies were so named because they could be made ahead and kept in the ice box or refrigerator as we now call it. Typically, the dough is made from a butter base and then rolled into a log shape. The result is kept tightly wrapped in the fridge until company pops in and you need fresh cookies.
I happened to find some black cocoa at the bulk food store the other day and figured hey – why not? The original recipe calls for Dutch process cocoa powder. Turns out, my random substitution worked beautifully.
In case you’re wondering what the difference is between all of the cocoa powders you see, basically fall into two camps. Natural cocoa powder is just that – untouched. It is generally lighter and is often used in recipes calling for baking soda.
Dutch process is much darker. It has been treated with an alkaline solution to make it less acidic and is often used in recipes using baking powder. So what’s black cocoa then? Essentially, really Dutch-ed cocoa. David Lebovitz offers a really in depth article of the science behind it all.
But, back to the espresso thins and the cookbook they came from. The recipes in Holiday Cookies really are accessible for the average home baker. Perhaps the most complex creation is the gingerbread house at the very end. And even that comes with a template to use. I have found that instructions are clear, the times listed are accurate, and the quantity yields are spot on. This one stays on the bookshelf.
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs, lightly crushed
- 2 ounces milk chocolate chips
- Dutch process cocoa powder, for dusting
Mix together flour, espresso powder, and salt
Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream together butter and icing sugar. Add vanilla, cacao nibs, and chocolate chips and mix until just combined
Add dry ingredients and continue mixing until dough comes together
Scrape dough onto non-stick or flour covered work surface. Divide in half. Roll each half into equal size logs
Sprinkle cocoa powder on the work surface and roll each log in the powder
Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours
Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice cookies into approximately 1/4" thick rounds Place on parchment lined baking sheets
Bake for 18-20 minutes until just firm. Cool on wire rack.