Thursday, December 17, 2009

German Chocolate Cookies

What gives?

I'm just not feeling the holiday vibe this year. I feel like something is missing. I am not talking about the cheesetastic store displays or the crazies at the mall (they are still there and they still don't know how to drive in parking lots). I'm taking about all those little things, like obnoxious holiday movie marathons, outrageous home decorations, shopping list freaks-outs and, of course, cookies!

What I didn't realize about all these little things, was how much they function as an early warning system that, yes, in fact, the holidays are coming, and, no, you can't scratch that frenemy off your holiday party invite list. Junk.

Panic was setting in on Saturday, until I somehow rationalized that the holiday season couldn't start until I had a tree, a cute three- or four-footer with lights and ornaments and that great tree smell! Sadly, after Boyfriend and I spent two hours driving from store to store looking for one, it started to sink in that a real tree just wasn't going to happen for me this year. Blerg. (The little fake one from a few years ago held up pretty well, even if I put a few too many ornaments on there). So, if I can't fill my apartment with the warm, comforting smells of a real Christmas tree, I can certainly brew up some bountiful baking aromas. Thanks, Washington Post! Project Christmas Cookie: Launch!
Whoa-dee! These cookies were good. Seriously. I rarely get excited about a cookie recipe. Frankly, I rarely get excited about cookies, period. Cookies really have to be something special to get my attention and these were really interesting. My usual Ambrosia Macaroons may have a rival as my go-to cookie. Unsurprisingly, coconut is still involved. I might make them bigger next time; these little devils were addictive.

(Okay, they may not look like much, but that pack a lot of flavor!)

German Chocolate Cookies 
(from Sally Sampson's "Cookies")
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup peans, lightly toasted, then coarsely chopped
4 ounces Baker's German chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar with electronic mixer. Beat on low speed, then increase to medium speed until the cream and sugar are smooth, scarping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To toast pecans, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 325-degree oven, shaking the sheet occasionally, for 15 minutes. Watch carefully; nuts burn quickly.

Add the egg and the vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture, beating between additions. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; beat until everything is well incorporated. Add the coconut, pecans and chocolate, mixing until well combined.

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons onto the baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. DO AHEAD: the dough can be made and frozen for up to 2 months. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, until the undersides of the cookies begin to firm up. The tops may still look shiny. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

(Note: The only thing I changed was that I only used a teaspoon of vanilla extract, rather than a full tablespoon called for in the original recipe. A tablespoon seemed like a lot).

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