made-to-order chocolate charms

by Chen

The story begins with my first cookie book: Martha Stewart’s Cookies

I love this book. It must be the best edited cookbook I have ever had:

1. The content of the book is not a list; it’s pages of images of the cookies sorted by their textures.

2. There is a beautiful picture for each recipe. (To me, an attractive cookbook must, at least, show the readers what the dish look like.)

3. The index is really how an index should be. As long as you know one key word or one of the main ingredients you want to play with, you can easily find some corresponding recipes. This is extremely helpful when I have something on hand without any idea on what to make.

Last summer, I showed this book to my friend, Nina, a girly girl who loved pink, polka dots, chocolate, and cheesecake. As I expected, she picked this one as one of her most-wanted. This year, I decided to make this truffle-like chocolate shortbread as a part of the Christmas gift for her.

chocolate charms
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

1 cup flour
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar (I cut back the amount of sugar; the original recipe calls for more than this)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with flat beater, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Beat until the dough comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Use your hands to form the dough into balls (about 3/4 inch diameter) and place the balls on a foil/parchment paper lined baking sheet. Chill the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely before packaging.

P.S. The original recipe calls for additional cocoa powder for dusting right before serving. Since I made this as a gift, I skipped this part.

P.P.S. Something unexpected happened after the cookies were ready for packaging. My grandpa stole many cookies from the rack. “They are so good,” said my grandpa.