I have had many cookie disasters in my day. There are a number of things that normally trip me up.
1- Cookie recipes normally call for creaming the butter and sugar. I only got an electric mixer a couple of years ago, so before that, this was a major problem for me. I am not strong (or determined?) enough to do this properly by hand, so it never quite worked out.
2- I always keep my butter in the freezer and am never patient enough to get it to room temperature when I am making my cookies. This results in cold butter being whisked with the sugar. Don’t do this! Your cookies will be the completely wrong texture and you will regret it in the long run.
3- I usually cook them too long. Cookies often firm up quite a bit once they are taken out of the oven. I never realized that and just thought that baking times were completely off and cooked them until they were cooked through, which resulted in horribly overcooked cookies.
4- I drop entire trays of hot cookies on (the relatively clean) floor where they break into a million pieces (because they are still mushy and hot) and I have to salvage them by making a ‘trifle’ as the potluck dessert.
Either way, after all of the trial and error (mostly errors) over the years, I have learned my lessons and am now a fairly competent cookie maker. These cookies are not particularly hard or easy to make, it is a fairly standard cookie recipe (in my experience at least) but they are incredibly delicious. To add, they taste great straight from the freezer. This is particularly important for me, especially if I am making cookies for personal eating (instead of dinner-party eating) since I certainly don’t want to consume 15 cookies in the 2 or 3 days that they are in their prime. Hence, it is pretty important for them to freeze well and taste good frozen as I am often too impatient to wait for the to defrost (can you see a pattern emerging here?).
This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem. I love his cookbooks but this particular recipe (in its original form) was way too complicated for my liking. It has brandy-soaked currants in it, a lemon glaze and candied citrus peel on top (and calls for 1/2 an egg, which is the most annoying thing in the world to me! What are you supposed to do with the other half? How does one measure half an egg elegantly- any tips or tricks would be great!). While I am sure this would be delicious (in fact, previously I tried these with the lemon glaze and it was pretty tasty), they are extra steps that are completely unnecessary and too time-consuming in my opinion. The cookies don’t suffer one bit without them. They are chocolatey, have the perfect amount of spice and a great texture to them. Although if any of the above sound good to you, go for it and let me know how it turns out! I would be curious to know.
Oh yeah, they also taste great dunked in milk. Does it get any better?
Adapted from Ottolenghi's cookbook Jerusalem
This was simplified from Ottolenghi's recipe. For example, his includes brandy-soaked currents, a lemon glaze and candied citrus peels. I have made it with the glaze before and it is great, but including all of those extra steps is too time consuming for me and I love these cookies as is. They are quite chocolatey and taste great fresh from the oven or straight from the freezer (which is quite important for me!).
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and dark chocolate.
In a large bowl (or a stand mixer) add butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon and orange zest. Whisk for 1 minute until combined but not over aerated.
Add egg and mix for an additional 1 minute.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently knead the dough until it comes together in a uniform ball.
Divide dough into 2 1/2 tablespoon (about 50g) pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. You will have about 15 balls.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 centimetres apart.
Rest in fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Bake cookies for 15 minutes. They will be quite soft still but will have formed a bit of a crust on the top.
Rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.
Store in airtight container.
Or, if you are freezing them, let them cool completely, freeze them on the baking tray (spaced apart so they don't stick together), and transfer to a freezer bag.
Spiced Chocolate Cookies Recipe was last modified: October 29, 2013 by
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