Christmas cookies sometimes get a bad rap. Sugar cookies of the typical variety can be bland and easily overcooked. Zealots with a tub of frosting and colored sugar can do serious damage to an otherwise innocuous treat. While I admit to enjoying a candy cane-shaped treat or two, this year I wanted to try dressing up my cookies in a slightly tastier style. And just to keep things interesting, instead of sticking to sugar dough, I've leaped right to chocolate. These might not be the most classic Christmas cookie on your tray, but they'll definitely be the most delicious.
Molten chocolate cookies don't really need any dressing up. They're stunners in their simplicity--a perfect marriage of chewy and crispy. The addition of sea salt and a sprinkle of fresh rosemary and orange zest merely catapult these puppies from excellent to extraordinary. Best of all--and like every single thing I ever bake--they are incredibly easy to make. Fool proof and then some, I promise.
Molten Chocolate Cookies
adapted from a recipe by Guittard Chocolate Co.
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use two for good measure)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Finely chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt (Maldon or any other fancy salt as you prefer)
Zest from one orange
Melt chips and butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat (Use a double boiler if you have one, use low heat and a careful eye if not. Rest assured, I do not own a double boiler). Stir until smooth and thick.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and salt until pale yellow and slightly thickened. (If you have a mixer and don't mind lugging it out, do. If not, a whisk and some elbow grease'll do it).
Combine chocolate mixture with sugar and egg mixture.
Add flour and baking powder until just incorporated. (Don't worry about over doing it. Just stir until you have delicious chocolatey dough). Cover dough and chill for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Scoop 2 inch mounds onto cookie tray, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, and then add a sprinkling of sea salt, finely chopped rosemary, and orange zest, to your liking. You might have to press the salt slightly with your fingertips to make sure it sticks. Bake for another 2 minutes or until the cookies have formed a nice crust on the outside but are gooey in the center. 12 minutes will do it. You will likely think you need another minute or two. You do not. Let them be gooey! Serve warm! (Makes about 16 cookies).
If you're feeling adventurous and don't mind offending small children or fussy Aunt Prunella, consider swapping out the sea salt for crystalized sugar and dressing your sugar cookies with a sweet version of the same Christmassy mixture of orange zest and rosemary. It's so delicious it'll make your head spin and much tastier than those hard silver balls.
What about you? How will you be dressing your cookies this holiday season?