Checkerboard CookiesPosted: 18 November 2010 | |
> Christmas cookie option 2 – the mint/chocolate checkerboard sugar cookie.
These are so delicious and were so much fun to make. First of all, I got to use my Kitchenaid mixer. Glee! I probably didn’t need to use it….but after all the work of lugging it around and making room for it in my cupboard, I’m gonna use it. Probably for anything that needs mixing. I’m thinking up an excuse to use the whisk attachment. Second of all, I got to play with the dough, kind of like play-doh. What’s not fun about that? And third, mint and chocolate is a holy union of flavors. Half of my family hates the mint/chocolate combo but that’s fine. I hate chocolate and raspberry and they all love it. I’m not afraid to be the weird one!
So the dough recipe is just a basic sugar cookie recipe:
1 c butter, softened
1.5 c sugar
1.5 t baking soda
.5 t salt
1 t vanilla
2.5 c flour
1 T cocoa baking powder (for the chocolate side)
.5 t mint extract (for the green side)
Green food color (for the green side)
I think the official Betty Crocker recipe also said to use bittersweet chocolate in the chocolate side, but mine was frozen and I didn’t feel like waiting for it to thaw, so I just doubled the cocoa. 🙂
Once you have the dough together, you’ll want to split half and set it aside. I used my kitchen scale to make sure I had exactly even amounts of dough to make the stacking and layering easier. I used my mixer to add in 1 Tb of cocoa powder for the chocolate half. Once it was mixed, I swapped places with the plain dough and added the mint extract and green food coloring. The food coloring bottle broke in my hand and my fingers turned green. Fabulous. I mixed it up and then we were ready to roll. Or, rather, to stack. The recipe said to refrigerate the dough overnight so it would be hard enough for cutting and stacking. Of course, why wait over night for the fridge to do what the freezer can do in 20 minutes?
I made two, equally sized bricks of dough, wrapped them in wax paper and stuck them in the freezer. I ended up with pretty big cookies, but I think the dough would have been hard to cut any smaller, so next time I’m going to start with two bricks of each color and go from there.
After 20 minutes the dough was hard enough that I could cut it and move it without breaking or crushing its shape. I cut each brick into four long sticks of dough, and organized them so there were two blocks that were green/brown/green/brown. I then flipped the block on their side and cut them in half length-wise. Now I had four smaller blocks of dough. I simply stacked them all together in alternating colors and smushed them a little so they sealed. Voila. One giant block of sugar cookie dough that could be cut width-wise for each cookie.
Honestly, I did a pretty messy job of cutting the dough. It looks cool, but for real Christmas cookies I think I need to be more precise. I plant to use a ruler to mark off each stick of dough evenly. Then use a string to score the length of the dough before cutting so each one is equal size and evenly cut. That should make it easier to stack them and make a smaller cookie with smaller checkerboards. We shall see. Also, I think I should cut the cookies more thickly (for chewiness) and more consistently, so I might measure that too.
These cookies are very delicious but like most sugar cookies, they get stale really quickly. You’ll definitely want to freeze them if you’re not eating them immediately. I freeze all cookies ever because they’re usually better frozen or at the very least, they taste like they’re freshly baked as soon as they finish thawing. If you don’t mind a crunchy cookie, you can leave them out. I prefer a chewy cookie so into a bag and into the freezer they go. They’re supposed to bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. I think they’re best if you take them out a little before they’re done. Don’t let the edges get brown, but you want them to be ‘set’ on the edges, and still a bit jiggly in the middle. Just let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes after taking them out so the middle sets.
Now, you will definitely want to make a lot of these cookies because they are both festive and impressive-looking. I showed one to a girl at work and she said, “That’s the coolest cookie I’ve ever seen!” Oh yeah.