Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beat the Flu Chocolate Mint Cookies

I work in a rather large medical institution, for a department that only treats the employees. With the recent Swine Flu hysteria, we've been making a lot of soothing noises and doing nasal-pharyngeal aspirates. The former to reassure that no one has the flu, and the latter to prove it.

Understandably, my colleagues are on the edge of our own hysteria, so I decided to boost morale and make cookies. That's my MO - When things get stressful, I bake.

Well! I was pondering this morning what I had, and I realized I was out of chocolate chips! Travesty! So I sidled over to Epicurious and did a search for "chocolate cookies". Well, there were many tempting results, but most of them demanded chocolate chips or sweetened chocolate – of which I had neither! Finally, I came across this little number. Bingo! I had all of the ingredients, and more importantly, it was quick and I had the time to do it.

Then, as I was assembling, I made some minor changes, so I'll repost the recipe with my alterations here. The over-all result was surprisingly light and cakey with a bright mint aftertaste, all without losing the darkness of the chocolate. We made a pot of coffee and took a moment to enjoy a cup with our cookies. I hope these go over as well for you as they did with my coworkers!

Beat the Flu Chocolate Mint Cookies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 tbsp dried mint flakes [once measured, crush into a fine powder in your palm, using your thumb. Who needs a mortar and pestle!?]

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter, softened
*1/2 cup raw cane sugar
*1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and crushed mint flakes in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Drop level tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets and bake in batches in middle of oven until puffed and set, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

*A few notes: The original recipe called for 1 Cup of sugar. When baking with chocolate, I generally like to mix my sugars. I find that using half brown sugar makes a fudgy, rich taste. In this case, I had recently run out of granulated sugar, so had only brown and cane.

I added the mint flakes to fulfill a promise that they would be minty. V. glad that I did!

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