Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love and Fortune

Tonight, I am headed to Cambridge to celebrate Valentine's Day with some lovely ladies. Seeing as my hostess already has a fabulous menu planned, I wanted to bring something sweet and fun to add to the party. Since today is also the first day of the Chinese New Year, I thought it would be extra fun if this something held a message for the New Year to come. As it happens, I have a box full of fortunes on hand on the kitchen (seriously), and although I have no idea how to make an actual fortune cookie, I do know how to make a chocolate one. And with a little dab of icing for glue, each cookie becomes a messenger of fortune, holding a special sentiment for its consumer. Some are silly, some speak to matters of the heart--it's Valentine's Day after all--and others are good old-fashioned fortune cookie food for thought.

My favorite? "A contented mind is a perpetual feast." With that thought, and with this recipe, I wish you a happy Valentine's Day and an even happier New Year!

Chocolate Shortbread Refrigerator Cookies,
adapted from an old and yellowed page from the New York Times Magazine

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, coarsely chopped
1.5 t vanilla extract
3 T ice water

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just to sift. Add butter and pulse until combined. Sprinkel water and vanilla on top and pulse until combined. This is a dry dough, so do not be alarmed if it's not all sticking together!

Divide the dough in half and shape each half inside waxed paper into a cylinder about 7 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (The cookies will spread a bit when baked.) Refrigerate the dough for at least several hours or for as long as 1 day. (You can also freeze the dough for several weeks wrapped in foil.)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and set them 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are firm.

Transfer to wire racks to cool. Icing optional!

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