Friday, June 22, 2007

A Cache Of Cookies Part III: Checkmate

Chocolate Craisin Checkerboards


If you have been reading the last few posts, you will have noticed that I have been chronicling this saga that we in Sydney have come to know as the weather. We’ve seen it all; being at the mercy of some sort of meteorological cataclysm, we’ve seen everything from rain to cyclones, to furious winds and even snowfall. After all the beating we endured in the last two weeks, it’s nice to see that rain clouds have finally been benched in favour of some sunshine. Although we’ve been told that this genial weather will be short-lived, it’s safe to say that sunshine is finally back in the game.


During all this bad weather, I started a so–called series of cookies from The Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook that I have been baking from while stuck indoors. So to cap-off this cookie trilogy of sorts, here is a recipe for cookies that comes full circle. Although these cookies are actually square, I use the same type of dried cranberries as I did in these first ones, but this time paired with chocolate.

Chocolate and Craisin Checkerboards

These Chocolate and Craisin Checkerboard cookies are more of a novelty than a necessity I must say. It’s the kind of cookie you probably make more for the frivolity of its appearance than its taste. Not that there is anything terrible about the way they taste, the contrary in fact, although they are quite fiddly and time consuming and are probably the kind of cookie you make when you have exorbitant amount of hours to lazily spend baking at home. Something I did have lots of in the last week.

Chocolate goes surprisingly well with cranberries. I was quite skeptical at first, I don’t know why because the combination is without doubt mouth-watering. Although the time it takes to construct your checkerboards and get through the two rounds of refrigeration, then you will probably be happy to be eating anything, whatever it tastes like.

Chocolate and Craisin Checkerboards

Aside from the time it takes to make these cookies, the rewards for this charming is fairly obvious. Just make sure you have some time on your hands to work with the dough.

Chocolate and Craisin Checkerboards

Recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly: Cookies
makes 30 checkerboards

Chocolate and Craisin Checkerboards

200g unsalted butter
¾ cup caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups plain all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tsp orange zest
¼ cup finely chopped craisins
1 egg white beaten lightly

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and egg in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Stir in sifted flour in two additions.
Divide the dough equally in half and in one half mix in sifted cocoa and in the other half knead in lemon zest and craisins. Using a ruler, shape each batch of dough into 4.5cm x 4.5cm x 15cm rectangular bars.
Wrap each bar in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove bars from fridge and cut each bar lengthways equally into three slices, then cut each slice lengthways equally into three; you will have nine 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 slices of each dough.
Brush each slice of dough with egg white and stack alternate flavours together to recreate the log.
Repeat with second log. Refrigerate logs for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife cut each log into 1cm-thick slices.
Place cut-side up on baking trays about 5cm apart.
Bake cookies for about 15-18 minutes.
Stand for 5 minutes before lifting the cookies from the tray.
Cool on wire racks.

Chocolate and Craisin Checkerboards


Anonymous said...

Oh I love your checkerboards... you must be reading my mind, as I have a recipe for similar ones sitting open on my counter! I love the additon of the craisins!

Rachel said...

these are so pretty! i love the tiny bits of cranberry peaking out.

Orchidea said...

Nice... they look so cute and I am sure very good.
I just have a question, what is a craisin?

Nora B. said...

Jen, those look so pretty! Fantastic effort. I made choc-vanilla checkerboard cookies once for a birthday party (for 5 yrs old kids) and after that experience, I said to myself, never again! The kids didn't really noticed the hard work that went into the cookies because they were happy with any cookies ;-)

Anonymous said...

They look so scrumptious! I have tried adding cranberries in my chocolate brownies and the tartness of the cranberries works really well with richness of chocolate. So yeah, cranberries n chocolate can be friends..hehe.

Anonymous said...

Lovely cookies. Pretty much effort to shape the cookie dough into a rectangular shape, at least for me!

Didn't know chocolate can be friends with cranberries too. I like your cookie jar. Those that I found are way too big.

May I ask what camera are you using?

Nic said...

Fantastic cookies - they look beautiful!

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are beautiful, Jenjen!

Oh for the love of food! said...

I made these cookies a couple of years back, and you are right, it's really time consuming. If I remember correctly, between sending the children to school,doing a few chores , picking up the kids from school and doing dinner, I only got to bake the cookies the next day!

Vintage Wine said...

Oh, they look yummy! They remind me of the cookies my grandma always bakes for christmas... When I look at your photos, I can almost see myself sitting in a christmas decorated kitchen and eating cookies that are still warm from the oven. I can almost feel the wonderful smell ;-)

Rebuke said...

Checkerboard cookies look so cool :) I love The Australian Womens Weekly series, I was just thinking of buying that cookie book the other day. Would you reccomend it? I spent the time admiring the pictures but wasn't sure if I'd end up actually making many of the recipes or not.
I am stunned by your photos every time, they are really amazing. You make food look so good :) And your cookie jar is really cute.

Ali-K said...

What a labour of love! I'm really enjoying watching the cookies appear on you blog.

anna/village vegan said...

I've made those exact same cookies! (Well, not that precise recipe...but chocolate and vanilla checkerboards from Fine Cooking magazine.) I was 10, I think, and it was the most complex thing I'd ever made, bur fortunately it worked out.

This post brought back happy memories. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Helene said...

What can I say...that jar of cookies is calling my name. Never have made checkerboard cookies before...looks gorgeous!

Bhawana said...

Hi Jen this is Bhawana. I tried this checkmate cookies. Somehow I did not get this proper shape like given in ur recipe. I cudnt cut it in thin slices due to which my cookies are very soft to eat. It does not give crunchy taste. Can u pls explain in details how did u get this in shape. my mailid is

what I did after making dough I kept that in the fridge n than tried making like the given.