Elizabeth Bick

Deb Perelman keeps her childhood traditions going with these dense chocolate cookies

November 18, 2012 06:00 PM

When I was growing up, these were our Hanukkah cookies.

The cookies had absolutely nothing otherwise to do with Hanukkah, and I think that rescuing them from the month of December was a brilliant move on my part. Not to eschew a fine family holiday tradition, but these cookies are too good to eat only once a year.

My mother’s yellowed recipe card calls them “Chocolate Sugar Cookies,” but I think they taste like brownies that someone has compressed with a rolling pin – that is, firm but also tender, immensely rich, with a substantial chocolate flavor for such a small package.

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

Makes 65 1½-to-1¾- inch cookies, from ¼-inch-thick dough
• 3 cups (375 grams) all- purpose fl our, plus more for counter
• ½ cup (55 grams) unsweetened cocoa
• ¾ teaspoon table salt
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup (225 grams or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1½ cups (300 grams) sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the fl our, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl, and set aside. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl. Mix in vanilla. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour.
2. Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment- lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8- inch- thick cookies, the latter for – inch cookies), until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
3. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cooking note: I use fancy Dutch cocoa when I make them these days, but my mother made them then and now with Hershey s old- school natural cocoa, and we were never disappointed in their flavor.

Brownie roll-out cookies
Deb Perelman

Excerpted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Copyright 2012 by Deb Perelman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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