A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

chocolate cutout cookies

Two years ago, when Chris and I still lived nearly a thousand miles apart, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, chilling and rolling and cutting small hearts out of shortbread dough, dipping freshly-baked cookies into melted chocolate, waiting for the chocolate to harden so I could nestle each little heart into a cocoon of parchment paper and bubble wrap, and generally wishing I’d chosen a slightly less complicated way to express my undying devotion.

Thus a tradition was born, minus the whole overnight shipping thing, of course. Now I just pile the cookies rather unceremoniously on a plate and we nibble on them while we sip champagne and watch Amélie (which, by the way, if we ever have a daughter is what we’ll name her).

The cookies themselves are still a fairly labor intensive affair, but such is the nature of rolled cookies.  These little chocolate confections in particular  are a bit of a pain in the ass, and as I chilled and rolled and froze and cut and froze again, I considered not even mentioning them here.  Then I tasted one; they’re worth mentioning.

They’re rich, intensely chocolaty crisp little morsels that I’m pretty sure won’t last through the weekend.  Chris suggested they’d make good Christmas cookies, cut out in the shape of trees and drizzled with icing to imitate tinsel.  “Tinsel?” I wondered, trying to visualize silver icing.  “You know, garland.  Whatever.” Chris responded.  And when your ordinarily testosteriffic man starts tossing around girly words like “garland” it’s safe to say he’s under the influence of some seriously good cookies.

Chocolate Cutout Cookies
from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
(makes 3-4 dozen)

1½ c. flour
½ c. + 2 T. unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
1/8 t. salt
¼ t. cinnamon
¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1½ c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ t. vanilla extract

1) Sift flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon into a medium bowl.

2) Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about three minutes. (Martha says to use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, but I don’t have a stand mixer and I hate dragging out the hand-held mixer so I just cheat and use the food processor.  It works.)  Mix in eggs and vanilla, then gradually add in the flour mixture.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for one hour (overnight is fine too, you’ll just have to let it sit at room temp for half an hour or so before you roll it out).

3) On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out to 1/8″ thick.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in freezer for 15 minutes (this makes it a lot easier to cut out the cookies).

4)  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Working quickly, cut out shapes from dough.  Transfer to baking sheet and chill in freezer for 15 minutes (this helps the cookies retain their shape as they bake).  Gather up dough scraps, pat them into a ball, and chill for 15 minutes before re-rolling.

5) Bake cookies until crisp, about 8-9 minutes.  Cool completely on sheets on wire racks, then drizzle with royal icing.  Cookies can be stored betwween layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.  Not that they’ll last that long.

Royal Icing
(makes  about 1 cup)

1½ c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 egg white
½ t. fresh lemon juice

Beat together sugar and egg white until thick and shiny.  Stir in lemon juice.

16 responses

  1. kirby

    Rolling out cookies is definitely part of the honeymoon stage of a relationship. I make a batch of chocolate chip cookies for my husband every week, but as we’ve been married for almost fifteen years, more often than not I end up saying, “Dough’s in the refrigerator, bake ’em or not, it’s up to you.”

    February 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm

  2. I think these are absolutly beautiful, and the perfect way to say “I Love You” :) I think the idea is very sweet :) Your pictures are gorgeous.

    February 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm

  3. I have made this recipe tons of times. ALWAYS for a man, and always within the first 6 months of the relationship. (oh dear, that kind of makes me sound like a cookie baking trollop, doesn’t it?) Anyway, the fact that you are still making them for Chris suggests true love.

    (I find the lemon in the icing a little odd though, and usually sub a bit of rum.)

    February 16, 2009 at 6:56 am

  4. Megan

    Kirby – That’s an excellent idea!

    finsmom – Thank you, and thanks for the visit!

    Lu – Not to mention the whole moving to Michigan thing. Also, I couldn’t taste the lemon but rum does sound nice.

    February 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

  5. I was thinking of bourbon instead of rum–that icing recipe is not far from the hard sauce I use on my bread pudding.

    Is this recipe really that simple? Wow. And, by the way, your pictures just get better and better.

    February 16, 2009 at 10:23 am

  6. I love your post! Entertaining read, beautiful pictures and lovely cookies. I like how thin they are.

    February 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

  7. Kimmie

    No wonder distance couldn’t keep you apart!

    February 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm

  8. WOW. Good girlfriend.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm

  9. Meaghan

    That is so unbelievably sweet. And they look beautiful. Awwww….

    February 19, 2009 at 7:20 am

  10. yum! I will remember these!

    February 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm

  11. Raven

    After 15 years of marriage I am more than happy to still roll out cookies for my husband :-) I bake for him and his office a few times a week. I just recently got 2 offers of marriage from 2 of the ladies in his office (who are happily married who would just like to have me as their “wife” and think my husband is very lucky and are always telling him that!) I just want him to feel that way. After 41 years of marriage my MIL decided she didn’t want to roll out the dough for my FIL and he left her for someone who did. Everyone wants to feel special and if all it takes is something that simple why not?

    February 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

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  14. Reblogged this on foodieroadmap.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm

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