Monday, December 6, 2010

Adventures in Cooking: Martha Stewart Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Martha's cookies, decorated
and shot by professionals
A few years ago, I saw these cookies in Martha Stewart Living.  Yum!  I thought.  I made them, and they were good.  Very good.  And, very much a pain in the ass.

Unlike the crepe cake, which was not worth the trouble, these cookies are.  Last year I placed in two cookie parties that I attended with these cookies.

As a project manager, I should warn you that this isn't a make the dough, bake it, be on your way recipe.  It's a two or three day affair.  And it's not a child sharing friendly recipe, which is frustrating since I have a four year old sous chef.

So, if you want to be not cool like me and make these cookies, here's my advice.

Day 1:
Following the recipe, make the dough (step 1.)  It's going to be really really sticky and more like sludge, less like a dough.  Martha says make two discs.  I say, make four!  Why?  Because . .

Day 2:  (could also be on day 1 if you have the patience to let your dough get chilled and don't run off and do something else instead):

Roll out the dough (step 2.)  Martha says to roll out the dough on parchment paper, and I agree, and you'll want to make sure that the parchment isn't bigger than your cookie sheet, which is why you need smaller discs.  I also make Husband roll out all dough because he has man arms and can roll it out super thin.  But, instead of cutting out circles, and then transferring them to a cookie sheet (which doesn't work after the super thin sludge dough sticks to the parchment and it breaks or gives you a non-circle shape) I remove the dough pieces between the circles, leaving perfect circles, and toss the parchment on the cookie sheet.  Problem solved!

It also turns out that I don't have a 2 in circle cutter, though I have 175 cookie cutters*.  I make do with a 1.75 inch and everything is fine.

This also seems like the place that your 4 year old could help, but it turns out that making endless circles in a way that doesn't waste a lot of dough is not as cool as picking any shape you want and putting the cookie cutter anywhere you want and they will lose interest.  I guess in theory you could make any shape you want, but that will make Step 3 even more challenging.

Bake the cookies (step 3).  Get bored because this recipe makes like 90 cookies and you are baking 6 sheets of cookies and decide to do the rest tomorrow, which is fine since the cookies keep nicely in an airtight container.

Day 3:

My cookies, decorated by my 4 year old and
shot with an iPhone 3GS
Melt the chocolate using the Pampered Chef Double Boiler you bought a year ago and never used.  Delegate decoration duties to your four year old helper and marvel at the fact that they actually sell pre-crushed peppermint, which Husband purchased.  Dip 80 cookies in white chocolate.  Watch as the helper first mocks the fact that you can't dip as fast as she can decorate, then loses interest around cookie 65 and starts eating the unmelted white chocolate instead.  Burn self on double boiler while talking on the phone, completely forgetting Martha's advice to always have a bowl of ice water nearby.  Be confused as the white chocolate burns in the double boiler, as isn't that the entire point of the double boiler--so it doesn't burn?  Give up on the remaining 10 cookies and allow anyone in the kitchen to eat them uncovered.

The cookies must be stored in the fridge.  I managed to put 4 cookie sheets of 80 cookies in the fridge by stacking two cross wise.  The cookies aren't tall enough for it to be a problem.  

Martha says you must eat all 80 cookies the next day.  Alone.  (Okay, she doesn't say that part.  But if you want to pretend that she did--because these cookies are really THAT AWESOME--I'll back you up.  I ate them for breakfast last year.  Man, they are good!)   They actually keep very well in the fridge, so if you have cookie parties on Tuesday and Thursday (like me!), you can finish them on Monday and still have them good for Thursday.  Also, since this recipe makes 80 cookies, hey, you are done with all of your baking for both parties!

(If you are doing Weight Watchers PointsPlus, I calculated the cookies to be 3 points each.  And worth every freaking point.)

*Sadly, not an exaggeration.