I love getting feedback from readers — good or bad — on my column. I recently received an email I particularly enjoyed.
“I enjoy reading your columns and your reminiscing about the smells and tastes in your past. Last week, you gave a recipe for Chocolate Cutout Cookies [April 21, 2021]. Well, I made some today with a few alterations to your original recipe and the outcome was quite nice, so I thought I would share.
I halved the recipe since there are no little hands in the immediate vicinity to reach into the cookie jar, only big hands that need to keep out. That’s no big deal. Then I did what you advised not to do — I used 1/2 cup of melted, unsalted butter in place of the shortening. I omitted the ground cloves, but added in a couple of teaspoons of espresso powder. This stuff is more expensive than gold, but a little goes a long way and since I don’t make Tiramisu, it goes even longer. Finally, I added a goodly amount of espresso chips to the dough, and for good measure, to my mouth as well. I did not refrigerate the dough, but made drop cookies — nice, hefty tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and baked them for about 19 minutes at 350 degrees. The result was a delicious batch of grown-up cookies to accompany a cup of coffee — you can never have too much coffee — well, you can actually.
I also made the olive oil cake recipe on the same page as your cookie recipe, but have not tasted it yet so cannot comment on it.
Keep well, healthy and at peace and your recipes coming."
— Mary Jane Incorvia Mattina
This is the original recipe, just in case you missed it last time — but after trying Mary Jane’s version, I may never use it the original again!
Makes about 2 dozen
1 cup shortening, melted
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves Powdered sugar
Beat shortening and cocoa until blended. Beat in molasses, sugar and eggs. Beat in coffee. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cloves; gradually beat into molasses mixture.
Dough will be very soft. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake until edges are set, 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Decorate as desired with powdered sugar.
For a really quick and easy chocolate cookie — thanks to brownie mix and ready-to-use frosting — try this:
FROSTED BROWNIE COOKIE
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen cookies
1 15.8-ounce double chocolate brownie mix (with syrup packet)
1/3 cup butter-flavor shortening, melted
1 large egg
1 16-ounce can cream cheese frosting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cookie sheet lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir brownie mix, chocolate syrup packet, melted shortening and egg in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls or drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to cooking rack to cool completely. Frost or drizzle and decorate as desired.
To drizzle frosting: Place 1/2 cup frosting in a resealable plastic bag. Push to one corner. Cut off small tip. Drizzle frosting over cookies.