Friday, March 25, 2011

Vanilla & Spiced Chocolate Cookies

Sometimes it’s the company of a simple cookie that does the trick when you crave a little bite of something that could qualify as a treat. Cookies don’t require the commitment of a piece of cake or pie or a dish of custard. They are small enough to enjoy quickly without a whole lot of evidence lying around. Just a couple of bites and presto! Unless, of course, the cookies you have before you are super delicious and should be consumed slowly and with pure pleasure. All you cookie mavens out there know what I mean.

This is a fairly simple but very enjoyable cookie that is half vanilla and half chocolate spice. The texture is crumbly and extremely satisfying. The chocolate dough has the warming spices of cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne and a dab of almond extract. So what you get is a nice old fashioned vanilla flavor combined with a bite of perky chocolate. Two in one, just in case you’re not in the mood to choose.

Bench notes:
- I made fluttery little hearts, but you can pipe any shapes you want - logs, circles, zigzags or whatever - as long as the cookies are all the same size and will bake evenly. I suppose you could also try to layer the dough and then chill or freeze and slice, although I haven’t tried that. Whatever size or shape you prepare, just make them uniform. If you make smaller cookies, watch the baking time to ensure they are light and crisp.
- Make and pipe the vanilla dough first. It's just easier to keep the mixing bowl and pastry bag free of chocolate while working with the vanilla.
- To pipe the cookies, I used Ateco #9825, a 7/16” open star pastry tip.
- Be careful not to overbake these cookies. They should not take on any color. You can tell they are done if you give them a little nudge upward with your finger and they do not stick to the parchment or silpat. They may seem soft but will firm up and crisp as they cool.
- If you like this very delicious combination, also try the Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cookies.

Vanilla & Spiced Chocolate Cookies
Makes 2 dozen 2 1/2” x 2” cookies

Vanilla Cookie Dough

1 C flour
1/8 t salt
1/4 C + 2 T sugar
4 oz (1 stick) butter @ room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/2 t vanilla

Spiced Chocolate Cookie Dough

3/4 C + 2 T flour
2 T cocoa powder
1/8 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch black pepper
pinch cayenne
4 oz (1 stick) butter @ room temperature
1/4 C + 2 T sugar
1 egg white
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Fit a pastry bag with a medium open star pastry tip.

For the vanilla dough, whisk the flour and salt together.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and completely blended. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg yolk and combine thoroughly. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix just until there are no dry patches. Set the dough aside.

For the spiced chocolate dough, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt and spices together.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy and completely blended. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the egg white and mix thoroughly. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until there are no dry patches.

Place the vanilla dough into the piping bag and pipe cookies in desired shape, 12 to a baking sheet. Repeat with the chocolate spice dough, complementing each vanilla shape. Gently press down any rough edges with your fingertip to smooth and flatten.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or just until a cookie lifts or slides easily without sticking when lightly nudged. They should not take on any color and will firm up as they cool.

Cool on a wire rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Good luck with that!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

They're so cute! They look light and yummy.

Dre said...

Hi there, I just wanted to let you know that I get a lot of pleasure following your blog and seeing the beautiful things you bake! Thanks!

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

I love the addition of black pepper and cayenne added to the chocolate dough. Can't wait to try these!

Victoria said...

Ooh. I've never made anything fluted like that.

I wonder if I can.

Sonia said...

"Fluted"... I like that term. Funny, I "flute" all the time... On a legit flute, that is.

pastry studio said...

Hello all! Dre, welcome and thank you!

Victoria, if I can do it so can you! Just takes a bit of practice. Love the term, flute. The sound, the pattern, the beginning of flutter.

spontaneous-euphoria said...

beautiful!! i can literally taste it.

365daysofbaking said...

These are so beautiful and inspiring, yet I am intimidated at the same time! I didn't know a cookie was capable of that.
This is my first visit to your blog, but I know I will be back. Your recipes are so yummy and I can't wait to try them.
Can I borrow this one and link back to your site for my readers?
I don't know if my "flute" will look the same as yours, but will work on it! ;-)

pastry studio said...

Lynne, welcome and thank you! Yes, of course give it a try and link back. Don't be intimidated. It just takes practice. And patience!

Julie E said...

These cookies look delicious. The piping method for the heart is really cool. I'm featuring your cookie on my blog post today @

Julie :)