I had the honor of baking with my favorite cookie-chef and friend, Amy from Cookie Comfort! I order challah and cookies from Amy practically every weekend so when she asked me if I would take pictures of her baking one of her favorite and most challenging cookies, I jumped at the chance. And by the way, when she says these cookies do not last the day, she means it! I couldn’t stop nibbling on these stunning and butter cookies. If you want to order cookies from Amy (and not just gaze at her masterpiece here), my favorites are the cranberry oatmeal and peanut butter chocolate chip! I could eat them every day. You can also enter the Cookie Comfort giveaway for a chance to win a dozen cookies and a beautiful glass cookie jar. The giveaway is at the bottom of this post so don’t forget to enter and help Amy qualify for the Mission: Small Business grant! Now take it away, Amy…

One of my favorite cakes is the Checkerboard cake. The design alone is eye-catching, and most bakeries don’t screw it up too much. But, me, I am a cookie girl, and one year, I made it my mission to find a good recipe, that I could make parve, and was not too complicated, because with two little kids underfoot, complicated was not something I had time for. Well, there were plenty of good recipes. That was easy. By swapping out the butter for margarine (shh!), I was able to make most of them parve. The hardest criterion to fill was for it to not be too complicated. You would be surprised at how complicated some recipes were. And then I stumbled across Martha Stewart’s recipe. Believe it or not, this was the simplest recipe I could find. A couple of minor tweaks later, and my daughter’s favorite cookie was born. This is a cookie that takes precision (it caused me to have my very first “baking ruler”, much to my kids’ delight). It takes patience, as the dough chills at each step. As with most things, the effort put in maximizes the end result. The contrast between the 2 doughs is striking. It is as delicious as it is graphically stunning. I do not make them often, but when I do, they do not last the day.

CHECKERBOARD COOKIES
recipe slightly adapted from MarthaStewart.com

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour + 3 Tbsp additional for kneading dough
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 large egg
1 Tbsp water

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. With mixer on low-speed, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface; it will be loose and crumbly. Knead dough by pushing small amounts away from you with the heel of your hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide dough in half. Sprinkle cocoa powder over one of the halves. Thanks to Melinda’s son, Zachy, for helping me with the cocoa powder!

Knead until cocoa has been fully incorporated. Sprinkle the additional 3 tablespoons of flour over the white half of the dough.

Using a rolling pin, shape dough into two 7-inch squares, about 3/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife and a ruler, slice each square into nine 3/4-inch-wide strips.

Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Place three strips of dough on a lightly floured surface or plastic wrap, alternating white and chocolate strips. Brush tops and in between the strips with egg wash. Gently press strips together. Repeat, forming second and third layers, alternating colors to create a checkerboard effect. You can do more than 3 layers if you want a wider cookie. Wrap assembled log in plastic. Repeat process for second log, reversing color pattern. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or freeze 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place on baking sheet.

Bake until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cookies cool 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Now devour!

Don’t forget to enter Cookie Comfort’s giveaway and help Amy qualify for the Mission: Small Business contest!

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Checkerboard Cookies from Cookie Comfort
 
 

recipe slightly adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + 3 Tbsp additional for kneading dough
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp water

Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla extract and salt.
  3. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl.
  4. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface; it will be loose and crumbly. Knead dough by pushing small amounts away from you with the heel of your hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide dough in half.
  5. Sprinkle cocoa powder over one of the halves.
  6. Knead until cocoa has been fully incorporated. Sprinkle the additional 3 tablespoons of flour over the white half of the dough.
  7. Using a rolling pin, shape dough into two 7-inch squares, about 3/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife and a ruler, slice each square into nine ¾-inch-wide strips.
  8. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water.
  9. Place three strips of dough on a lightly floured surface or plastic wrap, alternating white and chocolate strips. Brush tops and in between the strips with egg wash. Gently press strips together. Repeat, forming second and third layers, alternating colors to create a checkerboard effect.
  10. Wrap assembled log in plastic. Repeat process for second log, reversing color pattern. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or freeze 15 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice each log into ¼-inch-thick slices and place on baking sheet.
  12. Bake until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cookies cool 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.