Welcome to Plaid Eggnog!

Welcome to Plaid Eggnog!

Mar 11, 2010

Murder and Munchies

Do you like mysteries? I love detective novels, and one of our stops in London, England in 2008 simply had to be the Sherlock Holmes museum. From the photo taken there, can you tell that I had a good time?

One of my favourite mystery series is by Joanne Fluke. Each story stars Hannah Swensen, a 30-something bakery owner in small-town Minnesota. You can find the full menu of all Hannah’s adventures at Joanne Fluke’s website, aptly named http://www.murdershebaked.com/.

These books are a delicious, light read, in more ways than one. Besides concocting mysteries in each book, Ms. Fluke serves up Minnesota's cultural flavour. I really appreciate this taste of Minnesota, since it’s where my bro & sis-in-law Chris & Steph, and beautiful nieces Aimée (3) & Olivia (7 months), live. And as a bonus, the books are stuffed with scrummy recipes. The only downside is that reading them gives you the nibbles!

In the book I just devoured, Apple Turnover Murder, there was a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies. I was intrigued – and hungry! Sugar cookies are one of my faves, but I’d never heard of the chocolate variety. Naturally, I had to sample them – and they’re absolutely delectable. Here’s the recipe, including metric translation for friends outside North America:

Chocolate Sugar Cookies (click here for image) 

Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C), rack in the middle position.

2 cups (450 g) melted butter
4 one-ounce (115 g) squares semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups (500 ml) powdered (aka icing) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla
1 tsp (5 ml) orange zest
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
1 tsp (5 ml) cream of tartar
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
4 ¼ cups (1000 ml) flour
½ cup (125 ml) white sugar in a small bowl (for later)

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, or in the microwave in a quart / litre measuring cup for 3 minutes. Once the butter and chocolate are melted, stir them smooth, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the powdered and white sugars. Stir thoroughly and set the mixture aside to cool.

When the mixture is cool enough so it won’t cook the eggs, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Then mix in the vanilla, orange zest, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Mix it all up together.

Add flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition. You don’t have to be precise – just divide your flour into roughly 4 parts.

Once the dough has been thoroughly mixed, roll one-inch dough balls with your fingers. Dip the balls in the bowl of white sugar and roll them around until they’re coated.

Place the dough balls on a greased cookie sheet, 12 dough balls to a standard-size sheet. Flatten the balls a bit with your palm, so they won’t roll off the sheet on the way to the oven.

Bake cookies at 325 for 10-15 minutes (12 will likely do it). Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 7-8 dozen cookies. Recipe can be cut in half - that’s what I did.

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