Sunday, March 10, 2013

best little monkey...

When I'm not thinking about CAKE, I'm thinking about COOKIES!

Well, Baker Beth has managed to combine both in this deliciously touching cookie o' the month.

It's probably best I stop writing and just let you take a gander and these beauties. 

Beth, thank you so much! They are perfect.

Excuse me, I have something in my eye. -angelo

I've baked my way through Angelo's "my favorite things" page on cherries, red wine, "The Godfather," and Baxter have been referenced in cookies over the past couple years. Chicago is still under consideration.
I think Levis aren't going to make the cut.

But for some time, I've been mulling how to interpret Curious George into a cookie, and this month is the month.
I admire Angelo's admiration of George's philosophy. And I admire Angelo. And he's having a birthday — in mere days! — so what better time to bake a Curious George cookie?

The trick, though, was trying to identify the cookie essence of an illustrated monkey in a children's book.

But then Angelo posted this image and this tweet which led me to this thought about this cookie:

"It’s not Curious George-inspired so much as it’s the-joy-that-Curious-George-inspires-inspired."

And that was the key. This cookie is not about the literal or the conceptual. It is simply about happiness.

So I thought about what Angelo loves in a cookie (yes, "everything" sprang to mind; I winnowed the list down from there) and I know that he loves simple cookies and he loves soft cookies and he loves frosted cookies and he loves soft frosting and he loves chocolate.

And he also loves to have more than one cookie.

So I made large-ish cookies — because if you were like most kids, when you were allowed to choose a treat, you always chose the biggest one, right? I know I did — and I made soft, cake-like cookies that aren't too sweet because I then slathered those puppies with a simple chocolate frosting that sets up on top but stays soft underneath.

And then I had to snap fast because Curious George was making his move.

The happiest of birthdays to you, Angelo, my friend.
May it be filled with much love, many treats, and an entire bunch of balloons.

— Beth

Curious George-Inspired Big Cakey Cookies with Soft Chocolate Frosting
(From this recipe and my own go-to chocolate frosting)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk (not nonfat)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Beat together butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, stir in the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Using a muffin scoop or 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. With wet fingers, or the wet bottom of a measuring cup, flatten/spread the dough to a 3"-diameter circle. Leave 2" to 2 1/2" between each cookie; they'll spread. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they're set, and are perhaps a very light golden brown around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the sheets.

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar, approximately
2 tablespoons milk, approximately 

Cut butter into rough chunks. Melt butter in the microwave in a heat-proof bowl, covered with a paper towel in the event of spatters. Stir in cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Dump in half of the powdered sugar and half of the milk. Stir/beat with the spoon until smooth. Continue to add powdered sugar and milk incrementally until you achieve your desired sweetness and have a spreadable frosting, not too thick, not too thin.

Dollop frosting onto the center of each cooled cookie and spread toward the edges. You can frost the flat bottom or the domed top, whichever you prefer. Set cookies back on the cooled baking sheets (lined with fresh parchment) to allow the frosting to set up. Store, covered, in a single layer.

Yield: 24 large-ish cookies

One year ago: Red-Wine Zabaglione with Crumbled Shortbread

Two years ago: Liz Lemon Cookies


dstoutholcomb said...

Yummy, you reinvented the famous Baltimore Berger cookie!

Beth said...

And I had no idea! Thanks for the education.

dstoutholcomb said...

You're welcome!

I bet yours taste better. ;)

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