Sharing cookies with family & friends is fun, especially when they’re delicious Mocha Chocolate Truffle Cookies that I bake with my girls
I love cookies. They are portion-controlled bits of food hugs. Even the word cookie is derived from the Dutch word kwoekjes, meaning “little cake” (anglicized to “cookie” by the early 1700s). Sharing cookies is easy and so fulfilling…it plays to the food is love caring part of my soul. Cakes and cupcakes are good, don’t get me wrong, but there is such a variety of flavors and textures, mix-ins and toppings that cookies can have so they don’t get monotonous. And the best thing of all is that making cookies and eating cookies can be a shared experience. Cookies don’t have to be fancy to be wonderful, and home baked cookies, made with wholesome ingredients and baked with a special someone else…those are the best.
As a side note, the British use the term “biscuit” just to mess up us Americans, who think of biscuits as a flaky Southern bread that’s served with butter or sausage gravy. No, actually “biscuit” is derived from Latin’s “bis coctus” or “twice baked” referring to a hard cake given to Roman armies in their rations. Hardtack, biscotti, mandelbrot, and zwiebacks are all from this lineage, and later small cakes and delicate wafers were added to this family of biscuits. The things you learn writing a blog…
Ahem…back to my point…
Sharing the baking experience
There is a zen-like quality to the magic that is baking…you mix ingredients, weighing and measuring carefully, you follow the recipe step-by-step, you get in the zone so as not to mess up. Distractions or inattention can be small and inconsequential or they can be disastrous (did I put in the baking powder? Yes? No? I’ll add more just in case…Uh oh…). When I bake by myself, I’m doing it to produce something wonderful from disparate ingredients (that fulfills my creative side) and to give the people I love a food hug (that fulfills my nurturing side). But cooking with other people, especially with one or both of my daughters…now that’s a special time unto itself.
I’ve baked with my girls from the time they were very young. They’d get to stir the batter or help measure out flour, and then get to lick the spoon at the end as a treat (this of course was before the days when raw eggs were demonized). Cookies were especially fun because there were so many recipes from which to choose. The scientist in me loved to teach them about the math of cooking (“Look, four 1/4 cups is the same as one 1 cup. Neat, huh?!”), and the mom in me enjoyed watching them stir, scoop, bake, then share what they made. Yes there were mishaps, and yes I still tried to control the mess as much as I could, but the time we spent together was magic unto itself.
(Is there going to be a recipe here, or are you going to just blather on about zen and the art of baking cookies?)
Our favorite cookie recipe to make together was not the ubiquitous Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie, although we did like to make those (who doesn’t?). No, it’s from Better Homes & Gardens magazine…Mocha Chocolate Truffle Cookies. I found this recipe many moons ago as a new mom, and it’s a great recipe to start with if you don’t think you can bake cookies because it’s all manual, i.e., no fancy mixer to cream butter & sugar together is required. You just need a saucepan, a bowl, a spoon, a cookie sheet…well, maybe you do need a few things to make them…
Mocha Chocolate Truffle Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
- 3/4 cup sugar (150g)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (180g), packed
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (255g)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (28g)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces (I just use the rest of the package)
- In a large saucepan melt butter and the 1/2 cup chocolate pieces over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in coffee crystals; cool 5 minutes. Stir in sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir into coffee mixture. Stir in the 1 cup chocolate pieces. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons** onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
- Bake in a 350ºF oven 10-12 minutes. Let cool 1 minute before removing from sheet.
What I like to do is the bake some/freeze some method…I’ll bake just enough for immediate consumption (usually 1-2 cookies per person), then freeze the rest of the mounds on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen, store them in a ziplock-type bag. When you want wonderful warm chocolate goodness, take out however many you want and bake them at 325ºF for 13-16 minutes (there’s no need to defrost them first). Yum!
Now my girls are grown up…one has her own apartment and the other is a senior in college. I still cook and bake with them every chance I get. My older daughter lives close by, so I’ll bring her frozen cookie dough when I make it for myself, and hear her stories about her cooking and baking adventures. To my younger daughter I send care packages of baked goodies across the continent, and listen as she tells me of all the wonderful things she bakes for her friends. Yes, my daughters are all grown up, but in my heart I see them standing on a stool next to me, stirring a bowl of something as I teach them to hold the bowl with one hand so as not to make a mess. I see them answering my math questions (“If I wanted to only make half this recipe, which measuring cup should I use instead of the 1 cup measure?”). And I see their pride as they’re sharing cookies that they made with me. Food hugs! (Drying eyes now…)
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
p.s. to my almost-graduate…Happy Birthday! Enjoy your tea and scones, and I’ll do the same on the other coast.