Sunday, December 14, 2014

Real Life: Chocolate Chipotle Icebox Cookies

"For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, 
for health and food, for love and friends, 
for everything this goodness sends."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

One week ago I was certain the Universe hated me.  It's true.  Just ask my sister about the text I sent her.  In the course of 72 hours 1) My house was almost broken into in broad daylight.  I'm fine.  My ever-aware neighbours across the street alerted the police before I even had to, which was wonderful.  Still, it was unnerving to say the least.  2) The next day I had an unexpected visit from an ex boyfriend that was just sad and awkward, awkward and sad.  3) The day after that I had a root canal to try and soothe some dental issues, only to find out that there is a wayward wisdom tooth, that if erupted, will require intensive oral surgery to remove. Oh!  And this surgery could leave my face permanently numb.  That's right.  Numb. It was all a little bit much.  I wanted to crawl under the duvet with a book and these cookies and not come out all week.

Alas, that's not possible.  The kittahz needed to be fed after all, and life, it just goes on. And with time comes clarity.  Can't really worry about the tooth.  It's going to do whatever it's going to do, whether I worry about it or not.  The ex boyfriend situation.  Well.  I'm not sure what to say about that so I'll just say nothing.  And as for the attempted B and E, I'm going to look into implementing stronger safety measures as I don't think 4 guard cats are up to snuff.  Not in this hood. 

I was pretty funked out for a few days.  Plus the mother lode of pms didn't help matters much either.  But then I took a look around and remembered that at any given moment there are a thousand things I can love.  Truly.  The voices of friends, old and new.  The Christmas choral concert I went to today, where I joined my voice in amongst others and it was lovely.  The lights.  Oh the lights this time of year.  The fuzzy fur of little miss Sweet Pea - cat number four I rescued earlier this year.  The Christmas cards arriving in the mail daily.  Yes, people still send them out.  The taste of good chocolate melting on my tongue.  The snow globe I bought years ago - one of my first Christmas treasures purchased as an adult.  I shake it every night before I go to sleep.  We all have our lists of things to love.  Remember - love really is all around us.

The kind folks at Ten Thousands Villages recently sent out a care package of goodies to me.  I really am a lucky girl.  My task was to create a sweet concoction with some of the ingredients.  No problemo.  I'm already a fan of the fair trade Dutch processed cocoa, and my sugar of choice for a long while has been organic cane.  Camino makes fine goods.

Baking cookies has always been a stress release, and these cookies came along at just the right time.  Icebox cookies are great - you roll the dough into logs, let it chill for a few hours or overnight, then slice and bake.  You can freeze the dough for up to a month too, and lets face it, there is nothing wrong with having cookie dough in the freezer.  The cookies are full of dark flavour and mildly sweet.  I used half rye flour and half all purpose because I love rye and chocolate together.  Also, if I'm getting all real life on you today, I had only 3/4 cup all purpose flour left in the cupboard.  Yes, it was one of those weeks.  The ground chipotle pepper gives a subtle teaser of heat, but nothing your Grandma can't handle.  Rolled in coarse sugar they bake up super pretty and sparkly.  Santa will only be too happy to find them in your living room on Christmas Eve.  I have a feeling he's going to give that snow globe a good shake, too. 

Chocolate Chipotle Ice Box Cookies

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup rye flour (or all purpose flour)
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla
Demerara or other coarse sugar for rolling

In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cane sugar until fluffy and light.  About 3 minutes.  Add the egg white and vanilla.  Scrape bowl and beat another minute.  Add the dry ingredients and on slow speed mix just until combined.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Shape into disc and divide into two logs - each about 8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle coarse sugar on counter and roll logs in sugar until evenly coated.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hour or overnight.  When ready to bake, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and preheat oven to 350 *F.  Slice each log into 1/4 inch slices.  Arrange on cookie sheets and bake for 9 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.   Recipe inspired by Sweet Paul. 

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