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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Friday, October 29, 2004

Day of the Dead Cookies

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I saw these on a blog called "101 Cookbooks". They were so adorable, I just had to make them.

Day of the Dead Cookies

Vanilla dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch process
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar, lump free
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Baking sheets lined with parchment paper

To make the vanilla dough, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour just until incorporated. Form the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Set aside.

To make the chocolate dough, in a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with the back of a spoon or an electric mixer until smooth and creamy but not fluffy (less that 1 1/2 minutes with an electric mixer). Beat in the egg and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Form dough into a log the same length as the vanilla log. If the dough is too soft and sticky to handle place it in the freezer to firm (note from heidi: this is important).

To shape the skulls, reshape each log of dough so that it is skull shaped rather than round: make one side narrow for the chin and jaw and leave the other side wide for the cranium. Wrap and refrigerate the chocolate dough. Form features in the vanilla dough, using the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes for eyes through the entire length of the log. Form the nose with a skewer, poking two holes for nostrils. Form the mouth by inserting a narrow table knife and wiggling it back and forth to lengthen and widen the opening. Don't try for perfection: irregular holes make the best and weirdest skulls. Wrap and refrigerate the vanilla dough. Chill both doughs at least 2 hours, preferable overnight.

Position rack in the upper and lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chocolate dough into 1/8-inch slices and place them at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Cut the vanilla dough into 1/8-inch slices and place 1 slice on top of each chocolate slice. Bake until pale golden at the edges, 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Slide parchment liners onto cooling racks or transfer the cookies directly from the pan to the rack with a metal pancake turner, waiting 1 to 2 minutes if necessary to let the cookies firm up before moving them. Cook cookies completely before stacking or storing. Cookies keep at least 1 week in an air-tight container.

Recipe from: A Year in Chocolate : Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts by Alice Medrich (Warner Books)

My Notes:
I added 1/2 t. cinnamon to the chocolate dough. I think it's perfect.

Cut the chilled logs into thirds. Work on 1/3 and keep the rest in the fridge until you're ready to deal with it. The chocolate dough isn't as difficult to work with as I thought it would be. But both need to be in the fridge when you aren't shaping/cooking.

I didn't like using dental floss. I thought my serrated knife worked better.

Slice the vanilla dough a little thicker than 1/8". The faces stay their shapes better.

They cutest ones seem to be the ones with really exaggerated pointy chins.

They spread while cooking, so don't crowd the pan.

I've sprinkled some with turbinado sugar, some with white sugar and left some plain. Your choice.

These are a big hit!! Happy Halloween!!


At 10/30/2004 10:01 AM, Blogger Sheri said...

I wanted to make thos so bad! I don't think I can. First, I didn't make the dough last night and we have to go to Sacramento today. And then, somehow... I FORGOT that we're going to Pinot on the River tomorrow. How could I have forgotten that we had a wine thing?

At 5/02/2007 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is a good recipe! I need it for school so it is great for people to help us make cookies like this!

At 11/01/2007 3:54 PM, Blogger bb said...

how many does it make!!!

At 10/23/2008 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am in spanish right now and i am studying the day of the dead and this seems like a very good recipe for my class project!!! i am going to get an A+ for sure!!!

At 11/02/2008 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm doing this for my Day of the Dead class project as well. Thanks for the recipe!


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