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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Checkerboard Cookies

There are all sorts of recipes out there for Checkerboard Cookies. You can find them using straight sugar cookie dough and classic pate sablee dough. You can find them with chocolate and mint or other flavors. But what they all have in common is the checkerboard design within the cookie.

As I was casting about for some cookies to take to Karin this week for the homeless, I came across this recipe in a very old cookbook from the 1950's. I decided to give it a try using some Lindt chocolate that I had on hand. These little cookies were very good, with the subtle flavor often found in a sablee dough. They are the sort of "melt in your mouth" cookies so often associated with cookies served with tea in those long gone days of gentility and neighbors visiting in the afternoon to swap gossip. Somehow, status updates on Facebook just aren't the same!

The book I found these in is called The General Foods Kitchen Cookbook and was published in 1959 by Random House and dedicated "to women everywhere...from the women of General Foods Kitchens." I suppose in 1959 a guy baking in the kitchen would have seemed very, very foreign. Oh well, how times change.


Recipe: Checkerboard Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, unbeaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • Milk

Instructions

  1. Measure sifted flour, add baking powder and salt, and sift together. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg and 1 tablespoon milk and beat well. Add flour, a small amount at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide dough in two parts. To one part, add chocolate and blend. If necessary, chill until firm enough to roll.
  2. Roll each half of dough 1/4-inch thick on floured waxed paper into a 9x4 1/2-inch rectangle. Brush chocolate rectangle lightly with milk and top with plain rectangle. Using a long sharp knife, cut rectangle lengthwise in three equal sections, 1 1/2-inches wide. Keep two of these in refrigerator while working with the third, so the dough keeps firm. Cut each section in six equal strips, 1/4-inch wide. Invert alternate strips, press together, wrap in waxed paper, and chill. When all three sections have been prepared in this manner, brush tops lightly with milk.
  3. Place one section on top of another, alternating chocolate and plain bands, so that the ends show checkerboard design. Press together, wrap in waxed paper, and chill overnight, or until firm enough to slice (about 4 hours).
  4. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut in 1/8-inch slices, using very sharp knife. Bake on baking sheet lined with parchment at 400° for 8-10 minutes, or until done. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 40 min
Number of servings (yield): 6 dozen
Meal type: snack
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Copyright © Buck Bannister and Sugar Pies.
Recipe by Buck Bannister.


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