Friday, 11 December 2009

Nigella Lawson's Christmas Chocolate Cookies

Cookie Exchange!
That time of year when we feel inexplicably drawn to bake for one and all. Spread the goody love, as it were. Today I made these beautiful chocolate Christmas cookies for my son, his friends, his girlfriend and her father. Yes, I met a parent. That's a pretty big step!
These are very light cookies, not too sweet. A little like a light brownie or even shortbread - without the heaviness.
The icing acts as a glue to add festive sprinkles and is casually spooned on to create a free-form runny look. They are quick, easy and delicious. Below is a video of Nigella herself, whipping them up in her own inimitable style.

Christmas Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 1/4 sticks (18 tablespoons) soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • For the Festive Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling water, from a kettle
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Christmas sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and when you have a light, soft whipped mixture, beat in the 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifting if it is lumpy), and when that's mixed in, beat in the flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Or just put everything in the processor and blitz, if you prefer.

This mixture is very soft and sticky and I find it easiest to form the coolers wearing my disposable vinyl gloves, so pinch off pieces about 1 tablespoon in size, roll them into balls, then slightly flatten into fat discs as you place them well spaced on your cookie sheet; you should get about 12 on at a time.

Back each batch for 15 minutes; even though the cookies won't feel as if they've had enough time , the will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked on top and it's this cozy, homespun look I love.

Remove the cookie sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it to catch drips while topping them.

To make the topping, put the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, water and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything is smoothly combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.

When the cookies are cool, drizzle each one with the tablespoonful of chocolate glaze, to glue the sprinkles on in a minute, using the back of the spoon to help spread the mixture, though an uneven dribbly look is part of their charm.

After you've iced six cookies, scatter with some of the Christmas sprinkles and continue this until all the cookies are topped. "If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find the cocoa "glue" has dried and the sprinkles won't stick on.