Sunday, February 14, 2010

Culinary Adventures: Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't usually post twice on the same day, but what's Valentine's Day without a bit of chocolate?  At right is a modified sour cream cookie - this one with cocoa powder and chocolate chips, perfect for the chocolate lover that we all - well, most of us - have locked inside.  It's hard to keep the chocolate lover locked up on Valentine's Day, though, so let it out and make a batch of these cookies! (They're so good they speak to my inner chocoholic - and they're saying "Hey now, we may look like cow patties but we taste loads better.")

Technically speaking, this isn't a culinary "adventure" really, because this is a recipe I've done several times over.  It is unique in this respect, though: from start to last batch in the oven I managed it in 38 minutes, my best time yet.  Once the last batch comes out it'll be 50 minutes even.  Practice makes perfect - and speedy - but this is a painless recipe with a fluffy, chocolate-y result that will make you feel great, even if you're single.  Feeling brave, or craving chocolate?  Read on below for my recipe; try it once or twice, modify it, and make it your own!

James's Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine or butter
1/2 c. dairy sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Soften the margarine or butter (you can partially melt it in the microwave, but there's no need to liquefy it), and then mix it with the sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs.  This can be done by hand or with electric hand mixer, which yields a fluffier dough.  Next, mix in the flour, the baking soda, the salt, the cocoa powder, and the chocolate chips.  If you feel like adding some zing, grate some orange peel and add that too (warning: work intensive; will definitely hurt your speed).  Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.  Because of the cocoa powder the cookies won't really change color as they cook; they're done when a gentle tap on the top yields a firm (but not hard) cookie - still squishy/mushy and they need to bake longer.

To make the original recipe (Sour Cream Cookies, no chocolate), remove the cocoa powder and chocolate chips and substitute instead 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (or more if you like your cookies with attitude).  These cookies are very forgiving and take to experimenting well - I'm going to do a ginger version at some point.

Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!

[By the way, props to Life in a Cramped Kitchen, which gave me the idea of sharing this recipe along with the picture, since I normally tantalize with a picture but don't give out a recipe.  I'm just mean, I guess.  Check out LICK (hey, cool acronym!) for some great recipes and beautiful photographs.]

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