To say that the Podling has been challenging today would be awfully diplomatic of me. What I want to say is, he has been a little terror. Spitting soymilk on the TV and painting the screen with his hands, dripping it on all the electronics underneath the TV, jumping on the bed just as the baby got to sleep and waking her up, rocking his little bookshelf back and forth until everything fell off (and it fell over, nearly on him) so he could reach something on the top shelf, waiting until I was asleep to run around the house with a dirty bottom and no pants on…I could go on for another fifteen minutes, I really could. Yelling at him makes me upset, punishing him makes us both upset, and the noise makes the Peanut upset. It has been one of Those Days.
Poor Nyte comes home and I all but throw the baby at him, just to get a break. After dinner, the only thing I can think about is….COOKIES. I bought some Hershey’s kisses the last time I was at the grocery store, thinking about making those chocolate kiss cookies I’ve had a hundred times but never made myself. These kisses are full of caramel, a vast improvement over the stuff Hershey’s calls “milk chocolate.” (I am not really a fan, but for my first venture I figured I had better stick to the basics. I can get crazy with candy substitutions later.)
For a few moments, I did seriously entertain thoughts of trying these Gingerbread Caramels from Martha Stewart’s website, ones a friend brought to our knitting group on Sunday and which were just perfect, in my opinion. I’ve never made candy, but I did get a pair of Silpats for Christmas, and trying candy was one of the reasons I wanted them. However, methinks I should wait until I have a candy thermometer and a fair bit of time before trying that out, perhaps on a Saturday. I should also probably have some heavy cream, which I do not.
Nyte requested that I not make the cookie with peanut butter. He doesn’t much care for peanut butter cookies, although if they’re there, he’ll eat one. Fine. I look around the Magical Intertubes for recipes, and every single one has peanut butter (except for the “recipe” that uses a tube of chocolate-chip cookie dough as its only ingredient). After some digging, I find a butter cookie recipe, but that isn’t quite what I had in mind. Something with leavening, perhaps…
And then, I stumble upon a recipe for a chocolate cookie. Eureka.
Of course, I alter it. I replace half (well, a little more than that) the butter with butter-flavored shortening. I add 7 oz. of finely chopped walnuts to the batter. I tip in too much vanilla. I don’t quite have enough unsweetened cocoa, so I steal about half of the required 3/4 cup from a can of powdered Ovaltine. I don’t roll them into balls and then in granulated sugar. Some of those steps I would recommend, some I would not. If you want the original recipe, click the link. Here’s my version.
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
1 1/4 c shortening
2 c sugar (you could even go half white, half packed brown)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour (you may need more if you want to roll it into balls – I used a scoop and it was very sticky, and the cookies were pretty flat. If you like rounder cookies, add more flour.)
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda (I used a heaping teaspoon)
1 tsp salt (the salt is a good contrast to the sweet. Trust me.)
7 oz. walnuts, finely chopped
1 bag of chocolate kiss-style candies
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
-Beat your butter, shortening and sugar(s) together until fluffy, approx. 2 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla.
-Sift (I have never done this) flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together, and add to wet ingredients. Stir in nuts. Heh. Nuts.
-Scoop small balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about an inch in diameter. Alternatively, you can roll them into balls and roll them in granulated sugar. Give them a little room to spread, about an inch or so. Bake them 8-10 minutes, then place one (unwrapped) candy on each cookie while still warm.
Frankly, these cookies would be great without the candy. I’m glad I got the ones with caramel in them, because that much iffy chocolate on each cookie would be way too much, in my opinion. I might try a couple with dark chocolate next time, or Rolo candies, or pieces of dark candy bars with toffee in them. I imagine a mint chocolate candy would be delish too; can you get big bags of Junior Mints?
The hard part here, is keeping the kid out of them while the chocolates firm up enough to store them. ….and keeping me out of them, too.
Cranky-faced no more. For at least half an hour.