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RECIPES > Winter Solstice Cookies

Show: A Baker’s Dozen

From Chocolate Holidays : Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season, Artisan Books 2005

Let the sun shine through the translucent amber caramels of these fine crunchy chocolate cookies. They make pretty Christmas tree ornaments as well.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch process or natural

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

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

Basic Caramel (page 111)


Cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper or foil

1-inch round cookie cutter

To make the cookies, 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 a mixer until smooth and creamy but not fluffy (less than 11/2 minutes with an electric mixer). Mix in the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Form the dough into a log about 6 inches long and 21/2 inches in diameter. Chill for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Using a sharp knife, cut the log into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place the slices 11/2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Bake until the cookies have puffed up and settled down again, rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking, 10 to 12 minutes.

Do not detach the cookies. Cool for 3 to 5 minutes, then cut and remove a 1-inch circle from the center of each one. Slide the parchment onto cooling racks or set the cookie sheet itself on a rack to cool completely. Transfer cooled cookies to a clean sheet of parchment paper.

Make the caramel, and immediately plunge the saucepan into a pan of ice water for 20 seconds to stop the cooking. Spoon a little caramel carefully

into the center of each cookie. Set aside to cool and harden. Store cookies airtight.