I'm more of a cook than a baker, so I was a bit dismayed when this week I drew The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year, 1941-2009. It's what it sounds like--one cookie recipe from each year of Gourmet's existence. It's fascinating to browse, since you can see how fashions in sweet treats changed over the decades, but since this is Gourmet we're talking about, many of the recipes are dauntingly complex.
I toyed with picking a recipe based on a significant year--my birthday, my husband's or daughter's, the year we married, etc. However, those years' cookies either looked beyond my skills or out of synch with my tastes, so I settled on the 1950 recipe.
- 3/4 c. butter
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 T. rum extract (I used 2 tsp. rum)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 c. sifted flour
- 3/4 c. cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Cream butter, gradually add sugar, and cream together till light and fluffy. Add rum extract and egg and beat thoroughly. Sift together dry ingredients, then add to the wet ingredients gradually, mixing well after each addition. Roll the dough out 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured board and cut it with a floured cookie cutter into rounds about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet in a 375 F oven and bake for 8 minutes.
I did fine with this recipe until the time came to roll the dough. On the advice of notes at the bottom of the recipe, I'd chilled it overnight in the fridge, and it was far too stiff to flatten out as much as needed. So I ended up rolling it into balls and pressing into rounds by hand. Not as pretty and uniform, but they baked up just fine:
This is a seriously rich and chocolatey cookie. I think I'd like it better if it were a bit lighter--more buttery, and with vanilla instead of rum, maybe. Which didn't stop me from eating half a dozen or so, however...