Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies

with Fondant Decorations

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

February 14: Valentine’s Day

Love is patient…..” This scripture can apply to making dark chocolate heart cookies with fondant decorations for Valentine’s Day. Islander loves to bake but sometimes decorating cookies tries her patience. These cookies are like the chocolate wafers that we made before but Islander wanted to try out her new fondant imprint mat to decorate them. It really makes a great impression when the cookies go from plain to pretty! Dark chocolate heart cookies with fondant decorations may be time-consuming to make but are worth it when loved ones like to eat them all on Valentine’s Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Living Incredible Cookies)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted (plus more for decorating with fondant)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (we used Hershey’s brand Special Dark)
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (we used Wilton brand)
  • Pink fondant (Wilton, Satin Ice, Fondarific or homemade)
  • clear piping gel

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Gradually add these ingredients to the butter mixture. Blend until a soft dough forms. Make a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate to firm the dough for at least an hour.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and work in small portions at a time. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a piece of dough to no thicker than ¼  inch. Cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, re-rolling scraps as necessary.  Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit in the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely to crisp up a bit. Store in an airtight container until ready to decorate with fondant.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

On a surface dusted with powdered sugar, roll out the fondant to 1/8 inch thick. Place on an impression mat and press gently over the surface. Remove the fondant and cut with the same heart-shaped cookie cutter used for the cookies. Cut out enough imprinted fondant hearts for all the cookies. Set aside in a covered container so the fondant does not dry out.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of clear piping gel into a bowl. Using a food-safe paint brush, brush gel over the surface of a cookie. Place a fondant heart over it and smooth out the edges with fingertips. Repeat until all the other cookies are complete. Brush off any crumbs and powdered sugar residue from the surface of the cookies. Store in an airtight container until ready to place on a cookie platter and serve.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Notes

  • We used a 2 ½ inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, which yielded a little over two dozen cookies.
  • If clear piping gel is unavailable, water may be used as an adhesive between the fondant and the cookie.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for gifting Islander with the cookie recipe book! Happy birthday and Valentine’s Day, Lisa!

Mayan Chocolate Sparklers

Mayan Chocolate Sparklers

December 21, 2012:
End of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar (Doomsday)

If you are reading this blog post, then the world did not end, as predicted by the Mayan calendar. So celebrate your survival with Mayan Chocolate Sparklers! These cookies have cracks resembling earthquake fault lines and include a sprinkling of peppers for a flavor burst symbolic of a volcanic eruption. Made with traditional Mesoamerican ingredients, such as chocolate and cinnamon, Mayan Chocolate Sparklers are the perfect doomsday dessert. For an apocalpytic appetite, eat these cataclysmic cookies and “party like there’s no to-Maya!”

Recipe

(Adapted from Robin Hood Foods

For the cookies

  • ¾ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch (or to taste) cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the topping 

  • ½ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and butter with the sugars. Beat in the eggs.

Mayan Chocolate Sparklers

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, black and cayenne peppers. Gradually blend this into the butter mixture until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Mayan Chocolate Sparklers

Roll into a ball and transfer to a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate to firm up for around half an hour. Meanwhile, make the topping by combining the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Remove the cooled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Roll into one-inch balls and coat in the topping mixture.

Mayan Chocolate Sparklers

Place the balls two inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. The center of the cookies will be slightly soft but the edges will firm up when cool. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the pan for five minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 5 dozen cookies.

Mayan Chocolate Sparklers 

Notes

  • December 21 is the earliest date of the Winter Solstice—the shortest day of the year—in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • We added a teaspoon of Mexican vainilla (vanilla extract) after beating in the eggs to add a sweetness to the cookie dough. We doubled the amount of chocolate chips for a chunkier chew.
  • The last photo in the set of directions features a wood carving of an Aztec calendar, which has some similarities to the Mayan calendar.
  • Many have tried to predict when the world will end. But no one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36).

Chocolate Shortbread

Chocolate Shortbread

January 6: National Shortbread Day

Highlander has a wee bit o’ Irish heritage. Some geneaological records indicate that his ancestors moved back and forth from Scotland and Ireland throughout history. We further learned that they are referred to as Ulster Scots, and those who have emigrated to North America are called Scots-Irish.

Inspired by Highlander’s history and heritage, we infused Irish butter into a classic Scottish shortbread cookie recipe. And as chocoholics who we were in the mood for mix-ins, we added baking cocoa and dark chocolate drizzles. Chocolate shorbread is the ultimate Ulster-Scot tribute on National Shortbread Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Brown Bag)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature (we used Kerrygold brand unsalted Irish butter)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking cocoa (we used Nestle brand)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)

Directions

Lightly mist the ceramic shortbread pan with cooking spray. Wipe off the excess oil from the pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the cocoa, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Chocolate Shortbread

Gradually add the flour until a sticky dough is formed. Press the dough evenly (it is fine to use fingers) in the shortbread pan.

Chocolate Shortbread

Prick holes on the top with the tines of a fork.  Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes and slightly puffed, taking care not to burn the edges. Remove the cookie from the oven and let cool in the shortbread pan for 10 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a spatula or knife.

Chocolate Shortbread

Carefully invert the shortbread pan onto a cutting board. While the shortbread is still warm, cut into wedges with a sharp knife. Brush away the crumbs and let cool on a wire rack. Melt the chocolate squares. Fill a pastry or zipper top plastic bag with the melted chocolate. Using a small round tip on the pastry bag, or cutting a small hole from the edge of the zipper top plastic bag, squeeze out the melted chocolate in a back and forth drizzling motion over each shortbread wedge. Let the chocolate cool completely before stacking the cookies.

Chocolate Shortbread

Notes

  • Try drizzling different types of flavored chocolate (mint, orange, chili, etc.) for variety.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

December 28 and 29: National Chocolate Day

How sweet that chocoholics can celebrate two consecutive National Chocolate Days this month (and other chocolate holidays throughout the year)?!?!

We admit our chocoholism by consuming and cooking with chocolate. We also try to tour chocolate sites whenever we can. We have been to Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania; seen the world’s largest chocolate fall in Anchorage, Alaska; shared a sundae at the Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, California;  and attended a Chocolate Show in Manhattan, New York!

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

For National Chocolate Day, we baked a cookie chock full of chocolates, of course! Chocolate chocolate chunk cookies are a chewy choice for chocoholics to celebrate this sweet season. Indulge!

Recipe

(Adapted from Baker’s)

  • 1 package (8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate squares (we used Baker’s brand)
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups chocoloate chunks or chips (we used Nestle brand)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, microwave the chocolate until melted. Blend in the butter. Mix in the brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Beat in the eggs. Add the flour and baking powder. Combine this with the chocolate mixture and stir until the dough is smooth.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Fold in the chocolate chunks. Scoop a tablespoon of the cookie dough onto a lightly greased baking pan lined with foil. Leave two-inch spaces between the cookies to allow spreading and puffing up. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 3 ½ – 4 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Notes

  • In addition to December 28 and 29, the National Confectioners Association lists another date for National Chocolate Day on October 28. NCA also recognizes the third week of March as American Chocolate Week, July 7 as Chocolate Day and September 13 as International Chocolate Day. Check out more chocolate- and candy-related holidays on the NCA website.
  • We have used this recipe from the back/inside of the box of Baker’s chocolate squares. Throughout the years, it has been called “One-Bowl Chocolate Chunk Cookies,” “Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies” and “Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies.” A variation includes using white chocolate baking squares.
  • Thanks to Jib W. for the Ghirardelli lunch box. It was a special welcome gift when we visited her in San Francisco, California.
  • Search our blog for more chocolate recipes.

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Kisses Cookies

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut Kisses Cookies

December 4: National Cookie Day

Islander likes to “aloha-fy” regular recipes by using ingredients from Hawaii. For a holiday cookie exchange on the mainland, she wanted to bake a familiar-looking favorite yet subtly share her culture in a cookie.  She decided on “Hawaiian-izing” a chewy chocolate drop cookie studded with chocolate chips/chunks and topped with a chocolate honi (kiss).

While Hershey’s produces a variety of Kisses (classic milk chocolate, special dark chocolate, limited edition fruit flavors, etc.), only in Hawaii are the milk chocolate macadamia nut Kisses available. She adapted the company’s recipe and included sugars (granulated white and golden brown) from C&H (California and Hawaii brand), organic vanilla from the Big Island, finely ground ala’ea (Hawaiian sea salt) and exclusive milk chocolate macadamia nut Kisses from Hershey’s and Mauna Loa to bake this chocolate triple threat “tropical-ized” treat. It was  a crowd pleaser at the holiday cookie exchange, especially with chocoholics.

For National Cookie Day and all the upcoming Kalikimaka (Christmas) related events this month, try baking these triple chocolate macadamia nut Kisses cookies and give the gift of aloha this holiday season.

Recipe

(Adapted from Hershey’s)

Ingredients

  • 3-4 dozen Kisses (we used Hershey’s-Mauna Loa milk chocolate macadamia nut Kisses)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar (we used C&H brand, granulated white)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (we used C&H brand, golden brown)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (we used Hershey’s brand)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt (we used Hawaiian sea salt, finely ground)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we used Hershey’s brand semi-sweet)

Directions

Unwrap the Kisses and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large bowl or mixer, cream the butter with the sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and blend well.

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut Kisses Cookies

Fold in the chocolate chips/chunks. Roll one-inch balls from the dough. Place about an inch apart from each other on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until slightly flattened but set.

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut Kisses Cookies

Remove the cookies from the oven.  While still hot, gently press a chocolate Kiss onto the center of the cookie. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut Kisses Cookies

Notes

  • Our wedding favors featured Hershey’s “Hugs”—milk chocolate and sweet white cream-swirled Kisses—to represent our mixed marriage.
  • Thanks to Islander’s parents for a care package containing the ala’ea (sea salt) and milk chocolate macadamia nut Kisses from Hawaii. Thanks to Lisa L. for the bottle of Big Island vanilla.
  • During our move to New Jersey from Oklahoma, we drove long distance but made a delicious detour to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Our short stop on “The Sweetest Place on Earth” included a tour of Hershey’s Chocolate World where we rode through a simulated factory and learned how Hershey harvests cocoa beans and processes them into their products, such as chocolate bars, Kisses and more! We enjoyed eating the free samples at the end, of course, and roaming around the candy store. Islander even climbed on the Kissmobile!

Hershey's Chocolate World

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