Wednesday, December 12, 2012

because everything's better with dark and white chocolate

Pretty much, right?
Or with cheese.  Mmmm.  Melted Chocolate or melted cheese.
 Sorry to torture you on a Tuesday morning. 
 But last week I whipped up some Gingerbread Softies and decided to amp it up a bit. 
I added dark chocolate nibs to the dough....not true "nibs" like the ones from Trader Joes....but just dark chocolate chips chopped into nibby that all that chocolately goodness infused the cookie dough.
Then I rolled and sugar dusted and baked.
And when they were cooled, I continued the over-the-top baking and dunked them in more chocolate!
I know I say that a lot but seriously these were really hard to resist!....for everyone in my family and the youth girls at church who enjoyed a whole tray of them.
There's something special about that slight chocolate coating crunch on the outside and the nibby bits inside.  Heavenly!
There may only be one left for Santa.
(already sampled).
Ready to bake?  Here's the full recipe:

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Softies with Chocolate Nibs
These cookies flatten and crack as they cool. The secret in keeping them soft is to remove them from the oven as soon as they are set but before they start to brown.
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup shortening*
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
l/2 tsp. cloves
l/2 tsp. salt

**2-3 cups chopped dark chocolate chips
8-16 oz of dipping chocolate, such as Almond bark or chocolate chips

• Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat until thick. Add the molasses and stir until combined.

• Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to creamed mixture and stir just until blended.

• Chop dark chocolate chips with a knife and cutting board till they're broken into small bits (this can also be done with a food processor).  **chop approximately 2-3 cups, depending on preference.  Sometimes I only add chocolate chips to half of the recipe and bake the other half of the recipe as-is.
Mix in the chips with the rest of the dough.

• Shape into 1” balls and roll in granulated sugar. If the dough is very soft (hot day? warm kitchen?), wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes before rolling.  Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350º for 7 – 10 minutes or just until set but before they start to brown.

• When cookies have cooled, prepare the chocolate for dipping.  I've found that dipping discs or the dipping bars of chocolate work best for this (sometimes called "bark" and found at most grocery and craft stores).  If you prefer using chocolate chips since they actually taste better, I recommend adding a tsp of shortening to the chips as it melts so you can get the chocolate real thin and smooth.

• Melt the dipping chocolate in a soup-size bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring after each time.  When the chocolate is melted and thin, dunk the cookies one-by-one into the chocolate about 3/4 of the way.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper till the chocolate has set.

Eat and enjoy!
(The cookies are also tasty from the fridge and freeze well for later use)

 * This is a very old recipe and, like many cookie recipes from the 1950’s, and uses vegetable shortening instead of butter. You can substitute 1 1/2 cups melted and cooled butter for the shortening but you will have to increase the flour to 4 1/2 cups and definitely chill the dough before using.

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