Thursday, October 25, 2012

Starry Night Cookies

I do some of my best thinking in the middle of the night. It's a side benefit of being a chronic insomniac - I can't sleep because my brain won't shut up but at the same time, I have never written better poetry, short stories and even blog posts at another time. The other thing I do when lying awake at night is write recipes and draw pictures of how I want things to look. Not physically, mind you - especially when it comes to drawing, I'm not that skilled - but in my mind everything is perfect.

It was in the middle of the night that I came up with these cookies. Originally devised to use up some silver dragees I had in my decorator's supply cache, it snowballed into a dark chocolate confection laced with malted milk powder and studded with the tiny silver-sugar balls. Nice and chewy, with the tiniest bit of "puff" to the centre and a nice crackle between "stars", I used both Dutch-processed, super-dark cocoa and a touch of black paste food colouring to get that real "black" background. The malt powder is there but not the dominant flavour - I guess you can say it's like a hint of all the good things from childhood waiting in the shadows. Of course, the dragees add visual impact but also a delicious crunch - lighter than, say, nuts, but still noticeable.

I brought these with me to a business meeting this week and they were loved by the other members of the team. None of them pegged "malt" as a flavour but some did mention them tasting similar to "mom's"! I'm a little behind in my usual posting for this week's roundup for 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, but as they say, better late than never!

Starry Night Cookies
Makes about 16
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup softened, salted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp black paste food colouring (optional)
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 cup spelt or oat flour
2 tbsp malted milk powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup silver dragees, plus extra for topping if desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Cream the shortening, butter, brown sugar vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix together the milk and food colouring and add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Sift in the cocoa, then beat in the flour, malted milk powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.
  5. Fold in the dragees.
  6. Bake (one sheet at a time) for 8-9 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack and cool completely. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 146.5
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 7.8 mg
Sodium: 46.9 mg
Total Carbs: 23.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.8 g


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