The schools I worked in each had a tradition of “treat days” the week prior to Winter Break. The theory is, if you feed the teachers, they won’t eat the students. (So far, so good.) One year, a collegue brought in these absolutely killer chocolate cookies. I asked for the recipe and have been making them ever since. Perfect with coffee, perfect with red wine, perfect all by themselves.
I made these gluten-free for a friend, using a one-to-one rice flour mix substitute for regular flour. (You can use regular flour in place of the rice flour mix if you don’t need them to be gluten-free, and leave out the xanthan gum.)
- 1 cup rice flour mix (recipe follows slide show)
- 1/3 cup lightly packed unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper (Yes! Trust me!!!)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (use 1/2 cup grapeseed oil to make this recipe dairy-free as well)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 TBSP sugar (plus more for coating the cookies)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Before I launch into the recipe, I thought it might be nice to have some music to cook to. For this recipe, I’m thinking Dean Martin; Sway in particular. Enjoy!
Sift flour mix, cocoa powder, cinnamon, pepper, salt, and xanthan gum into a small bowl.
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add vanilla and mix to combine.
Stir in flour and cocoa mixture. Use your electric mixer. Using a spoon or spatula just doesn’t work. I know.
I tried and ended up getting the mixer back out! The dought will be dry and crumbly at first. When it starts coming together, knead it until dark and supple.
Roll out between two sheets of waxed paper, to a thickness of approximately 1/4-inch thick. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 275F. Lightly butter (OR line with parchment paper or silpats) one or two baking sheets.
Cut out the cookies with a 1 1/2-2-inch cutter. I chose a little heart, because my very wise sister mentioned the other night that some people (like her) live in places where it is difficult to find certain ingredients, and if you want to plan something special for an occasion, Valentine’s Day for instance, you need a bit of a head’s up. So those of you already making plans, this is an awesome Valentine’s cookie! Pierce each cookie twice with the tines of a fork.
Place sugar on a plate or in a bowl wide enough to fit the cookies. Lightly press each cookie into the sugar so that the sugar clings to the surface.
Collect the trimmings back into a ball,
and re-roll (still between waxed paper). As the dough warms up, it will be more difficult to work with. Coat your cutter in sugar before each cut. Re-refrigerate if needed.
Arrange cookies, sugar-side up, on prepared baking sheets, spacing at least 1/2-inch apart. (1-inch is better, I wanted to squeeze them all on one sheet.)
Bake 40 minutes, or until crisp and firm. (Halfway through the cooking time, switch pans from top to bottom, front to back, for even cooking. Not necessary if you have a convection oven.)
Cool on the sheets on racks for 5 minutes.
Remove to racks to cool completely. I highly recommend eating at LEAST one at this point. Your kitchen, probably your whole house has been smelling like a chocolatey fudgy wonderland for the last 10 minutes or so. You DESERVE one (or more) right now.
Then, arrange on a cute little plate, brew up a cuppa and indulge in the crisp, melt-in-your-mouth uber-chocolatey yumminess. Do you taste the pepper there in the background? Isn’t that uh-maze-ing?!
I posted a picture of the chocolate shortbread cookies yesterday on Facebook and a friend commented that it made her want to lick her phone. They truly are THAT yummy! I took this batch up to one of our favorite wineries for a little party today. So perfect with red wines; especially the spicy Petite Syrah….oh, yeeeaaahhh! Yummy!
So what did you think about the music selection? What would you pick to go with these cookies?
- 2 cups white rice flour
- 2/3 cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
Mix all the ingredients thouroughly and store in an air-tight container.
All of these ingredients, and the xanthan gum, can be found at health food stores and larger supermarkets.