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August 26, 2006

Sweet Weekend Relief

Welllll, it's been a bit of a crazy week, hence the lack of blogging. A weekend treat was clearly in order. Sweets aren't my forte, but cookies somehow felt appropriate. These are nothing too fancy, but they're an old favorite I first threw together eons ago. I had cookie fixings, found some ancho chiles in the cupboard and figured I'd give them a little zip. I love anchos for something like this, because they're flavorful, a little fruity and they aren't overpowering. Ancho powder isn't too hard to find, but you can always just stem, seed and grind whole anchos. In fact, that's almost preferable. I find that the whole anchos are generally a little fruitier than the powder, which I like.

Dominic Armato
1/2 C. unsalted butter
3/4 C. golden brown sugar
1/4 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
2 tsp. ground canella (Mexican cinnamon)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
Ancho-Canella Chocolate
Chip Cookies
Makes about two dozen cookies

While you're mixing together the dough, preheat the oven to 375º.

To make the dough, you want to start by creaming the butter with both sugars. For those not up on their baking terminology (read: me, in most scenarios), this means tossing them together in a bowl and mixing them with an electric mixer / beaters / wooden spoon if that's what you've got until the mixture gets nice and creamy. Then, add the ancho powder and canella, and keep mixing until they're fully incorporated. Next up are the wet ingredients. Add the egg and vanilla, and again, keep mixing until they're fully incorporated. Then add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix until you get a nice sticky doughy lick it off the spoon cookie batter. Lastly, add the chocolate, but you probably want to fold that in by hand. Of course, it goes without saying that if your chocolate is in bar form, you'll want to break it into chunks first. You could, of course, use some other type of chocolate if you prefer, but I heartily endorse the bittersweet... works nicely with the chiles.

Finally, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough on a lightly buttered baking sheet and pop 'em in the oven for about ten minutes, or until they cease to look like lumps of dough and start to look like lightly browned cookies. Pull them from the oven and transfer all of them to a cooling rack, except for the one you'll inevitably want to stuff in your face while it's still hot.


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