Mocha Butter Balls ...
I declared today "Try A New Cookie Recipe Friday!" because:
A) It's good to stretch one's culinary boundaries
B) It's nice to mark the arrival of the weekend with a tasty treat
C) It's beyond my baking capabilities to make oatmeal cookies without oatmeal, so I needed a Plan B
D) All of the above (but mostly C)
I have oatmeal but not enough oatmeal because I've recently eaten oatmeal which has resulted in a depleted supply of oatmeal.
"Beth?", you say, in a somewhat worried tone. "Stores sell oatmeal."
Why yes, yes they do. But going to the store would have required that I make myself somewhat presentable which, today, would have required more effort than I was willing to expend in order to purchase a box of oats.
And The Oat Fairy? MIA.
So I pulled a couple of cookie books down from the shelf and looked for recipes that contained ingredients that I had on hand. Whatever I was going to make needed to contain two sticks of butter, because that's what was sitting on the counter, softened, at the stage at which I either had to bake with it or chuck it in the trash.
But I wasn't finding any recipes that qualified until I remembered the issue of Gourmet that I saved because it featured a gorgeous cookie cover, all variations on butter cookies, all made from a basic butter cookie dough.
If you've ever had Russian Teacakes (aka Mexican Wedding Cakes), these are like those. Except with chocolate. And espresso. Let's hear it for new treats!
Basic Butter Cookie Dough
(From Gourmet, December 1995, p. 214)
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 C. sugar
3/4 t. salt
3 large egg yolks
2 t. vanilla
4 2/3 C. all-purpose flour
In large bowl of a standing electric mixer beat together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks, 1 at a time, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour gradually, beating dough until just combined well. Makes about 3 pounds of dough.
Mocha Butter Balls
(From Gourmet, December 1995, p. 217)
1/2 prepared basic butter cookie dough at room temperature
1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 t. instant espresso powder
1 C. finely chopped walnuts or pecans if desired [I used toasted walnuts]
2 C. confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350º F. In bowl of a standing electric mixer beat together all ingredients except confectioners' sugar until just combined well. [Beth note: The dough will appear crumbly, but will hold together when formed.] Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange about 3/4 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until just firm and beginning to brown, about 18 minutes, and cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Sift confectioners' sugar into a bowl. After the five minutes' cooling, toss balls, a few at a time, in confectioners' sugar, coating them well and transferring them as coated to trays to cool completely. (Before balls are stored or frozen, they can be coated lightly again in confectioners' sugar to keep them from sticking to each other.) Cookies may be store between layers of wax paper in airtight containers up to 6 weeks frozen. Makes about 6 dozen cookies. [Beth note: The batch I made yielded four dozen.]