Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Cookies

Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Cookies

About 15 huge cookies or 36 medium-size

“Plain, very dark, and intensely chocolate wafers. This is one of only very few chocolate recipes that are traditional Christmas recipes. It is customary to serve these after dark on Christmas Eve.”

1 cup sifted whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sifted unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling cookies
1 egg graded “large”

Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or with aluminum foil, shiny side
up; or if you wish these can be baked on unlined sheets – they will not
stick. Set aside.

Sift together both flours, the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa, and
set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until soft. Beat in
the vanilla and the 2 cups of sugar. Then beat in the egg and 1 tablespoon
of water. On low speed gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping
the bowl as often as necessary and beating until incorporated.

Turn the mixture out onto a large board or a countertop and knead it until
it is perfectly smooth.

Then work with half of the dough at a time.

On a lightly floured pastry cloth, with a floured rolling pin, roll out the
dough just a bit. Then, to flour both sides, turn the dough upside down and
roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick (no thinner).

Traditionally, these are cut with a very large plain round cutter about 5
inches in diameter. These are gorgeous when large, but make them any size or shape you want.

Cut out the cookies right up against the edge of the rolled dough and cut
them just touching each other. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to
the cookie sheets. Place them about 1 inch apart. If the cookies are 5
inches wide, place only 3 or 4 on each sheet.

Reflour the cloth only slightly before rolling the second half of the dough.
Reserve the scraps from both halves of the dough, knead them together, and
reroll.

Do not incorporate any more flour than is necessary.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies generously with additional sugar.

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to
back once during baking to ensure even baking. Do not overbake; these are so dark that they can burn and you wouldn’t know by looking. These will not be firm to the touch when they are done, but they will become firm when they cool.

With a wide metal spatula transfer the cookies to racks to cool. Store
airtight.

And, might I add, since I discovered Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of
Great Cookies ” and “Book of Great Chocolate Desserts”, I have considered
Maida Heatter the ultimate authority on cookies.

Yes, I know these recipes will look long to you. That is because they are
“teaching” recipes. Mrs. Heatter is kind enough to share with us many
valuable tips derived from her years of experience. Just trust me, okay?

This lady definitely knows whereof she speaks.