Or at least the ones that I personally liked best — though I thought all of the cookies were good, or I’d hardly have submitted them for the contest!
AZTEC GOLD / MAYAN END-OF-THE-WORLD CHOCOLATE COOKIES
For these, I started out with the Death-By-Chocolate Cookies that Elaine T. sent me. The first thing was to de-death them so that I could use a ganache filling without overloading the chocolate tolerance of a normal chocolate-loving person. I did this by dropping the amount of unsweetened chocolate and replacing the lost chocolate and part of the butter with cream cheese – that gives a nice texture and softens the flavor. I also removed the chocolate chips entirely. Then I added a bit of chipotle powder (to make them adventurous) and, to half the dough, a bit of cinnamon. The cinnamon is the only difference between these two versions. I don’t ordinarily care for cinnamon combined with chocolate, but I found the tiny amount here very nice.
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 ½ C. flour
½ C. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon, optional – I prefer true cinnamon to the cassia that is sold as cinnamon in this country, because true cinnamon is actually less “cinnamony” and has a lighter, almost floral fragrance. But I’m not a cinnamon lover, and if you are, you would probably prefer ordinary cinnamon (which is really cassia, if you follow me, sorry, it’s not my fault, I’m not the one who decided on this the terminology).
1 ½ C. Demerara or other raw sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz bittersweet chocolate
½ C cream
2 Tbsp Anejo tequila, optional – I didn’t use it, but I put it into the cookie lacking cinnamon to increase its “adventurousness”
¼ to ½ tsp chipotle powder
¼ tsp cinnamon extract, optional
Edible gold dust
Melt the chocolates together. Combine the dry ingredients. Cream the sugar with the cream cheese and butter. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture. Chill one hour to overnight. Roll into 60 balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball to a 1 ½ inch circle with a glass dipped in flour (or sugar, or Demerara sugar, whatever you like). Bake at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes, until set. Try not to overbake.
Heat the chocolate and cream together in the microwave and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients. Let set until the ganache thickens, 30 to 40 minutes. Assemble the cookies. Dust the top cookies with the gold dust, for a particularly exotic and attractive presentation – I think I got my gold dust from King Arthur Flour, and it is a beautiful touch.
Okay! And my favorite of the bunch:
TASTE FOR ADVENTURE TRIPLE GINGER CHOCOLATE COOKIES
These are basically an easy chocolate-gingerbread whoopie pie type of cookie. Even if you think you would hate chocolate gingerbread, you really might try them, because that’s honestly what I thought and boy was I wrong.
Basically what I wanted with these was a cookie like chocolate gingerbread, NOT like a gingersnap or molasses spice cookie, not flat, not chewy and certainly not crunchy. I was really happy to get this cookie just right on the first try. But they’re not a very fancy looking cookie, so I don’t know that they have much of a chance in the contest.
2 ¾ C. flour
¼ C. cocoa powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ C. butter
¾ C. packed brown sugar
½ C. molasses
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2/3 C. buttermilk
½ C. minced crystallized ginger
1 ½ C. semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz cream cheese
2 ½ to 3 C. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp grated ginger
½ C. minced crystallized ginger
Combine the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the molasses, egg, and grated ginger. Beat in the buttermilk. Stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the crystallized ginger and chocolate chips. Drop rounded Tbsp on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until set. Try not to overbake. It’s easier to tell with these than some, because they’re so cake-like. If a cookie springs back when touched, it’s done. Cool about 2 minutes on the sheets. Remove to racks to cool completely.
Combine the filling ingredients, using enough powdered sugar to make a decently thick, spreadable filling – getting that right was the hardest part – and assemble the sandwich cookies.
There! I hope you enjoy all of these recipes as much as I did!