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Originally, these were supposed to be a chocolate amaretti type cookie which are Italian almond cookies, often crunchy and great for dunking. As I baked a couple batches I realized, or remembered as the case may be, that I don’t particularly care for amaretti. Too dry. Too crunchy. And there wasn’t enough almond flavor so what was the point? So I pivoted and turned it into a cookie I can’t stop eating, one with more almond paste, a softer chewier texture and more almond flavor. And I like them much much better. So for today’s chocolate cookie, we have a Chocolate Marzipan Cookie. 

If marzipan scares you off and conjures up images of grotesquely sweet play-doh shaped into odd fruits and vegetables, stick with me. It’s really just almond paste and sugar and I’ve worked both of those into this dough with a bit of egg white, almond flour and almond extract. Bake them for about 8 minutes for a nice chewy cookie or bake them longer for something a little crisper. I really can’t stop eating them.

If you haven’t been playing along, for the last few weeks we’ve been taking a basic chocolate cookie dough and adding various ingredients to it to make twelve different chocolate cookies. Make one dough, make many cookies. Today, it’s all things almond + chocolate. I like to roll these in sugar for an extra crunch, either large grain or pearl but regular granulated sugar works too.

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

Day 1: Cranberry Cocoa Nib Wafers

Day 2: Chocolate Banana Petit Four

Day 3: Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Day 4: Andes Mint Chip Cookies

Day 5: Chocolate Lebkuchen

Day 6: Fudge Tarts

DAY 7: CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN COOKIES

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here. I used a natural cocoa for this one (the various types of cocoa powder are discussed in the base dough recipe post). The dough may seem a bit oily when it comes together, and it is, as all that almond paste is exuding its natural oils. Chill the dough to make it easier to handle and carry on.

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the almond paste, sugar and egg white(s) on medium until fully combined.
  2. Add the room temperature cookie dough (broken into small pieces), almond flour, almond extract, baking powder and salt; mix on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Roll Tablespoon sized pieces of dough into balls and chill for at least an hour. Can be chilled overnight or frozen for up to 2 months tightly wrapped.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. When ready to bake, let the dough balls warm up a bit and roll in your sugar of choice to coat. (The sugar will stick better if the cookie balls are a bit tacky on the outside.)
  6. Place on parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined sheet pans, about 2” apart. 
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes until just firm to the touch but soft in the centers.
  8. Let cool on wire racks.
  9. Do ahead: scoop and roll the dough, nestle on a parchment line sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc for longer storage (label with cookie name and baking temp and time.)

day 6 … Fudge Tarts

For a cookie assortment, you need a few special ones to make it look like you put in a lot of effort, to make it look like you’re punching above your weight. This is that cookie. The secret? It’s really not that hard at all. Sssshhhhh. 

First off you need a mini muffin pan. You know, the pan you haven’t used in at least a year. Maybe more. Yeah, that one. The base dough might be a little dry so mix in a little water to make it nice and moist then roll and cut into circles just a bit bigger than the muffin tin openings and ease, ever so carefully into the tin indents. Press into the corners and edges and chill – or freeze – until firm. Then you bake. That’s it for the pastry shell, deceptively simple, and the rich chocolate filling is just as easy. Where the artistry comes in is in the decorating. Get creative. A bit of candied citrus, a pinch of toasted nuts, a curlicue of a coconut flake, some glittery holiday sprinkles. Even just a pinch of simple flaky salt elevates these tarts to the extra fancy realm. Then sit back and watch them disappear with a smile. Because no one needs to know.

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

Day 1: Cranberry Cocoa Nib Wafers

Day 2: Chocolate Banana Petit Four

Day 3: Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Day 4: Andes Mint Chip Cookies

Day 5: Chocolate Lebkuchen

DAY 6: FUDGE TARTS

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here. I used a black cocoa here, mixed 60/40 with a dutch cocoa (60 black/40 dutch). I like the black for color but find the flavor is best when blended with some dutch cocoa.

  1. For the tarts: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dough and water until nice and soft.
  2. Between two pieces of lightly floured piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, roll out the room temperature dough to 1/8” thickness. 
  3. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up a bit (it will cut cleaner and transfer easier.)
  4. Using a 2 ¼” round cutter (or whatever size works best for your tin), cut out rounds, rerolling the scraps as necessary. 
  5. Gently press 1 pastry round into each mini muffin tin cavity. Gently ease the dough in starting with the sides. If the dough cracks/breaks, simply patch up with a bit of extra dough, pressing into place.
  6. Refrigerate until well chilled and firm, about 30 minutes. (If you have the space you can freeze the pans, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  8. Bake 10 minutes until the pastry shells are somewhat firm to the touch. (It’s tough to judge when done is actually done due to the cocoa powder so trust your touch – when they’re ready they will still seem just a touch too soft but the edges will be set and the bottoms firm.) Halfway through baking rotate the pans and gently push down any tart bottoms that have puffed up. 
  9. Let cool completely. 
  10. For the ganache filling: In a medium bowl, add the chopped chocolate and set aside for a moment. 
  11. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil.
  12. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, give the bowl a swirl or two to fully submerge the chocolate and immediately cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes, swirling the bowl once or twice.
  13. Remove the plastic and begin stirring with a rubber spatula until the ganache is smooth and the chocolate is fully melted. If the chocolate is not fully melted, pop in the microwave for 30 second increments at 50% power as needed.
  14. Stir in the bourbon (or vanilla) and salt.
  15. Transfer to a piping bag (or a Ziploc) snip off the tip and fill the baked cooled tart shells.
  16. Garnish if you like – a bit of candied orange, a nut, an edible flower or piece of dried fruit.
  17. Make ahead: You can fit the dough into the muffin tins and freeze them, tightly wrapped, for up to two months. Or you can roll and cut the rounds and freeze between pieces of parchment paper until needed. Let the round defrost until pliable before continuing. The ganache can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month but needs to come to room temperature to pipe though it really works best – and looks the best – if freshly made.

When I was a kid, my Grandmother would send us a “Christmas Around the World” book every year, featuring a different country and their holiday traditions. I loved these books. I still love these books. After reading about St. Lucia Day in Sweden, I really wanted to wear a wreath with lit candles. My mom put the kibosh on that real quick. Candles flames and live Christmas trees don’t gel well in Arizona. (Or anywhere really.) After reading about St. Nicolas’ Day in the Netherlands book, I quickly adopted the tradition of putting out my shoes the evening before December 6th to wake up to find St. Nick had left me little treats in my tennis shoes (much to my tremendous disappointment I did not own a pair of wooden shoes so I had to make some adjustments). But the German book was the one I turned to most because of the pictures of cookies and holiday pastries and gingerbread houses. They had funny names I couldn’t pronounce and looked so Christmas-y with spices, piles of icing, clouds of powdered sugar and jewel-like candied fruits – pfeffernusse, stolen, zimtsterne, springerle, lebkuchen. I was absolutely fascinated. 

When I was putting together this year’s crop of recipes, I thought a chocolate spice cookie could be quite nice and remembered those old German recipes. So for today, Day 5 of the 12 Days of Chocolate Cookies, I’ve got a version of lebkuchen. A lovely spiced cookie full of candied ginger, orange zest, almonds, all those wonderful gingerbready spices – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg – and glazed with a light but flavorful mix of apple juice and brandy. Delightful! 

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

Day 1: Cranberry Cocoa Nib Wafers

Day 2: Chocolate Banana Petit Four

Day 3: Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Day 4: Andes Mint Chip Cookies

DAY 5: CHOCOLATE LEBKUCHEN

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here. I used a natural cocoa powder for this one. If you have some of those fancy cookie stamps, try them here or press the dough into a round and make designs with a toothpick like I did. Or leave them in rounds; that works too.

  1. For the cookies: preheat oven to 350ºF and line 2-3 sheet pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. In a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, combine room temperature base cookie dough, all the spices, chopped almonds, orange zest, baking powder and water on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  3. For rounds: roll 1 Tablespoons of the dough into balls and place 1” apart on the prepared sheet pans. For cookie stamps: gently press the round with a cookie stamp to imprint the design or flatten the balls into thick discs, smoothing out any cracks on the sides, and press a toothpick or wooden skewer into the dough to make designs. (At this point, you can freeze the cookies up to 3 months. Bake directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.)
  4. Bake 6-8 minutes until just firm to the touch. 
  5. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.
  6. For the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar and liquid of choice until smooth (if your powdered sugar is particularly lumpy, consider sifting first.) The glaze should be very light and liquidy.
  7. Place the wire rack on a sheet of parchment. Dip each cookie in the glaze, letting excess drip off and place back on the wire rack and allow to dry.

I have an uneasy relationship with all things mint flavored. Are they minty deliciously good or are they minty mouthwashy bad? It could go either way. There’s a fine line between the two though there’s something incomplete about a holiday season without candy canes, Frango Mints and Andes Mints. There just is. Growing up I knew, I just knew, my Chicago based grandmother would send us a big box of Frango Mints for Christmas. Most of the time they were the standard green box with the mint flavor but once in a while, we’d get the offshoots – raspberry and maybe orange. They weren’t also mint, just other flavors, and while I liked them very much it didn’t seem like Christmas unless we also had the mint variety. That’s just how it was. Mint and Christmas just go together.

Being raised a Frango kid, I grew a rather snobby attitude toward that other minty chocolate candy, Andes Mints. This is just absurd because while today I do still think Frango are better, those Andes are pretty good. It’s that green middle layer – it’s rather festive. So today, for Day 4 of the 12 Days of Chocolate Cookies, I’ve taken those Andes Mints and added them to the base chocolate dough for a delightful fudgy cookie. But fair warning here … they will do what all mint things do. They will make everything taste like mint. It’s annoying but a hard learned fact so store this one by itself and add it to your cookie box, tray or whatever at the last moment otherwise everything will take on a faint minty aroma.

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

Day 1: Cranberry Cocoa Nib Wafers

Day 2: Chocolate Banana Petit Four

Day 3: Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

DAY 4: ANDES MINT CHIP COOKIES

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here. I used a dutched cocoa for this one. An important thing to note with this one is to slightly underbake the cookie; you want it on the fudgy side. FYI – a 4.67oz box of Andres Mints contains 28 mints. And one more thing – yes the smallest batch does call for ½ an egg white. I warned you at the beginning things might get a little weird as we scale down. And here we are.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Unwrap and chop the Andes Mints to about the size of chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the room temperature cookie dough, broken into small pieces.
  4. Add the brown sugar, baking soda, salt and egg whites and mix on medium speed until well combined.
  5. On low, stir in the chopped mints.
  6. Roll Tablespoon sized pieces of dough into balls and place on parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined sheet pans, about 2” apart.
  7. Bake for 4-5 minutes, until just on the outside but still very soft in the centers.
  8. Let cool on wire racks.
  9. Do ahead: roll the dough, nestle on a parchment line sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc for longer storage (label with cookie name and baking time.)

Who doesn’t love chocolate and caramel? Add a pinch of flaky salt? Oh c’mon. One of the uncelebrated time savers during the holidays is purchased dulce de leche, found in the Hispanic aisle of your basic grocery store. Slather it between cake layers, pipe it into cupcakes or, like I do here, sandwich it between crispy cookies with a good pinch of salt. Sure, homemade is better but nothing beats the convenience of popping a can top when you’re stretched for time. For Day 3, I’ve sandwiched that delicious caramel between two deeply dark beautiful cookies, with a showy little peek-a-boo window on top. 

For this one, I break out the special black cocoa. The contrast between the super dark, almost oreo-like cookie and the rich brown caramel is stunning. You can find this cocoa online (King Arthur is a great source) and it’s worth seeking out if you bake a lot. For the best flavor, I like to mix it with some dutch cocoa so you get the best of both worlds – that deep dark color and a full, round cocoa flavor. And remember the cardinal rule of cut out cookies: roll warm, cut cold for the best and cleanest shapes.

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

Day 1: Cranberry Cocoa Nib Wafers

Day 2: Chocolate Banana Petit Four

DAY 3: DULCE DE LECHE SANDWICH COOKIES

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here. I used mostly black cocoa for this one mixed with dutched cocoa at a 60/40 black/dutch ratio. I love the color of a black cocoa for a sandwich type cookie but prefer the flavor mixed with a dutched cocoa.

  1. For the cookies: In the bowl of a standing mixer add the room temperature cookie dough broken into small pieces, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and water; mix with the paddle attachment until well combined.
  2. Divide the dough into eight/four/two pieces and roll each between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper to a flat sheet about 1/8” thick.
  3. Stack the sheets on a sheet pan and refrigerate at least one hour. The dough sheets can be refrigerated up to 3 days (or frozen up to 3 months) but tightly wrap first to make sure the edges do not dry out.  
  4. When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350°F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking liners.
  5. Remove one sheet of dough from the refrigerator and remove the top sheet of plastic wrap or parchment.
  6. With a 2” round cutter, stamp out as many circles as possible and transfer to the prepared baking sheets, ¾” apart.
  7. Continue with the remaining dough sheets, rerolling/chilling the scraps as you go.
  8. With a small cutter, cut a small window in half of the rounds. 
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until baked through and slightly firm to the touch.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. For the dulce de leche filling: transfer to a piping bag or a Ziploc. 
  12. To assemble: Flip the whole cookies (without the window cutout) over and pipe about 1 Tablespoon of the filling onto the backside of each cookie.
  13. Top each with a pinch of flaky salt.
  14. Top with the window cut out cookies, pressing gently to adhere.
  15. Store between layers of parchment in an airtight container up to 4 days.
  16. Do ahead: it’s best to make and freeze the dough and bake as needed rather than freeze baked cookies. Frozen dough will keep up to 3 months. I find it pretty easy to roll/chill/cut and freeze the cut rounds of cookie dough between layers of parchment. Then just bake the cut frozen cookies as you like. The filling can also be frozen for up to 2 months but needs to be room temperature to pipe.

My friend and I were talking about The Swiss Colony the other day. I wasn’t aware they were still around but she’d just received a catalog in the mail and we were discussing the nostalgia of the catalog, the items we’d pine over and never receive. I confessed that as a kid I used to go to their store in the mall and eat all their cheese and sausage samples. All of them. It’s where I discovered my love of hot pepper cheese and summer sausage and there was no turning back. But at Christmastime, there were two things in that catalog I obsessed over: The Towers of Treats and the petit fours. First off, of course I obsessed over a tower of boxes taller than me filled with delectable treats. Who wouldn’t? But those sweetly decorated little cake squares had my heart. I dreamt of elegant ladies at fancy tea parties delicately sipping from porcelain teacups and nibbling at teeny sweets. Deep down, I knew they were terrible; overly sweet and dry but damn I wanted them anyway.

So today for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Cookies, I’ve taken inspiration from those petit fours. And yes, this was a rather different cookie last week when I shot the whole collection but after my Swiss Colony discussion I had some ideas and baked a new batch this morning. With cookie dough in the fridge you can do these sort of last minute things. To the base dough, I’ve added a few bananas, some chocolate chips and a simple icing once they’d cooled. You can certainly leave them plainly iced or you can go fancy schmancy and dig out the special sprinkles or whip up a batch of royal icing and really decorate those little things. Then you can have that fancy tea party. Because when not do something fancy schmancy if not the holidays?

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

Day 1: Cranberry Cocoa Nib Wafers

DAY 2: CHOCOLATE BANANA PETIT FOUR

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here. For this one I used a natural cocoa powder but I think I’d prefer a dutched for the darker color.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the desired pan with a criss-cross of aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, combine room temperature cookie dough, mashed banana, brown sugar and baking soda and mix on medium until well blended.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and mix until just blended (at this point the dough can be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature before proceeding.)
  4. Spread dough evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with no wet batter.  It’s better to slightly underbake than to overbake.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
  7. For the chocolate icing: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the melted butter and cocoa powder on medium speed for 30 seconds just to combine. 
  8. Add half the powdered sugar and half the milk and mix for 1 minute. 
  9. Add the remaining powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract and mix for another minute or two until smooth. 
  10. Use immediately or cover until ready to use.
  11. When the bars have cooled, smooth the icing over the top. If you like, decorate with sprinkles while the icing is still wet or leave plain. Or leave at room temperature to set (the icing will crust over nicely) or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  12. Cut the bars into neat little squares. If you like, decorate the squares with royal icing.
  13. For the royal icing: In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, whip together the sugar, egg white and lemon juice until thick and creamy. This is a small quantity and a bit of a pain but stick with it and scrape the bowl regularly. It’ll get there. Color small amounts and use paper cornets for piping. 

We’re starting this round of 12 Days a Cookies with a simple one to get us going in the right direction. One of the most popular cookies of past 12 Days has been a round, thin crispy cookie flavored with cranberries, pistachios and orange zest. So of course I did a chocolate version but with cocoa nibs instead of pistachio. Delightful. Slice and bake cookies are the real workhorses of holiday baking. 

One thing to keep in mind when baking chocolate cookies … it’s difficult to know when they’re done. Those visual cues you’d normally use – golden brown, etc. – aren’t an option due to the cocoa color so you have to go by feel. This one should bake up on the crisp side so at around 8 minutes, they should feel a little firm to the touch. If you like, bake a few to gage timing before baking a whole batch.

36 One Dough/Many Cookies from years past:

Fruity: Jam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

Nutty: Mexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

Spiced: Cinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

Chocolate: Mexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

Bars: Rum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

2020 One Dough/12 Days of Cookies line up to date:

Basic Chocolate Butter Cookie Dough

DAY 1: CRANBERRY COCOA NIB WAFERS

Start with the base chocolate dough – recipe here; for this one I chose a dutched cocoa

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the room temperature cookie dough, cranberries, cocoa nibs, orange zest, baking soda, salt and water until well combined.
  2. Divide the dough in quarters for the largest batch (2 pieces for the medium and 1 for the smallest) and roll each piece on a piece of plastic wrap into a nice, tight, round log, around 5-5 ½” long.
  3. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight (or freeze up to 3 months).
  4. When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350°F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking liners.
  5. Place the dipping sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  6. With a sharp thin knife, cut the log into ¼” thick coins, rotating the log frequently to keep one side from flattening. If the dough is frozen, give it a few minutes to soften enough to cut cleanly.
  7. Dip one side of the cookie into the sugar and place, sugar side up, 1” apart on prepared pans.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through until lightly golden brown.
  9. Do ahead: it’s best to make and freeze the dough and bake as needed rather than freeze baked cookies. Frozen dough will keep up to 3 months.

For the last several years, I’ve done a series of 12 Days of Cookies posts built around a basic butter cookie dough. Divide that base dough up in two, four or eight pieces and flavor each a different way. With a minimal amount of extra effort, you’ll have a whole variety of delicious cookies in different flavors, textures and colors. It’s an easy and incredibly efficient way to approach your holiday baking. In these weird times, maybe you need a bit of normalcy so I’d encourage you to bake some cookies and gift them to friends and family. Particularly your single friends and those that live alone. They’ve spent 8 months quarantining solo and now are likely going to spend the holidays alone too. It’s rough. Bake them some cookies.

In three years’ worth of December posts, I’ve given you one basic butter cookie dough and 36 different variations; something for everyone – fruit, spice, nuts, holiday classics and new fangled recipes. Well, hold up … last year I did savory crackers – 3 doughs, 12 different crackers. Same idea, different application. With that, I thought I was done. After 36 cookie recipes and 12 more for crackers I didn’t think I had any ideas left in me. Until I went to make some cookies a few weeks ago and thought … chocolate. I’d made several chocolate variations of that basic butter dough. What if I started with a chocolate dough? Surely I had 12 more chocolate ideas in me? I sure did. 

So this year, in the midst of this pandemic shitstorm when we need stress baking more than ever, prepare yourselves for the 12 Days of Chocolate Cookies. Same basic butter dough we’ve been using all along but with the addition of cocoa and a few other things. Get ready. 

First up, and this may seem obvious, you need cocoa powder. This is not as simple as it initially seems as there are a few different types out there. There are three general options:

  • Natural/Unalkalized: The most commonly found natural cocoa is your standard Hershey’s cocoa powder. Best used when there’s some type of acidic leavener in your recipe, such as baking soda. Some think natural cocoa tastes more “chocolatey” but I often find the results, when tasted side by side, to be neglible. For me, it’s more of a color consideration as it tends to bake up a bit lighter than a dutched cocoa.
  • Dutch Process/Dutched/Alkalized: sometimes also referred to “European style”. A lower acidity than natural cocoa, dutched cocoa tends to give baked goods a richer, darker color. It is my standard cocoa powder. The Hershey’s version is called “Special Dark”, Droste has won a Cooks Illustrated taste test or two and Cocoa Barry Plein d’Arome is a pastry chef standard. 
  • Black/Super Dark: an almost black dutch-processed cocoa with an intense, dark color. Think Oreo dark. This one is a little harder to come by but is available via various online sources. Makes gorgeous cookies though I like to combine it, about 60/40, with a dutched cocoa for best flavor. King Arthur has both dark and “double dutched”, a black/dutch blend. 

So … which one should you use? That depends on both the recipe and frankly, you. Dutch-processed cocoa is natural cocoa that’s been treated with an alkalizing agent to lower its acidity, thus allowing more of its pure chocolate flavor to shine through. It has been my go-to cocoa for years and I’ve used it in all kinds of recipes to great success but if you want to get technical, here’s the deal: if you’re preparing a recipe that uses baking soda as a leavener and there’s nothing else acidic in the recipe, then natural/undutched cocoa is ideal. Its acidity neutralizes baking soda’s potentially strong, “soapy” flavor; and because natural cocoa is acidic, and baking soda is a “base”, when the two get together they produce a reaction – CO2 – which makes cakes, brownies and cookies rise in the oven. For every recipe I’m posting, there’s some added baking soda or baking powder so a natural cocoa would be great. I just happen to like the deeper, richer colors that dutched cocoa brings to the table. For some cookies, particularly a sandwich cookie, that extra dark is quite spectacular. If you like dark Oreo-like cookies, black cocoa is an excellent choice. I’m currently sitting on a lot of samples of all three types, I used them all so you can see the difference. All the cookies were delicious so I think the decision comes down to how you’d like your cookies to look and/or what cocoas you can get your hands on.

The rest of the recipe is very straight forward – the usual butter, sugar, flour, eggs with the addition of a little espresso powder to boost that deep chocolate flavor. Make the dough and divide into pieces – 2, 4 or 8. Then decide how soon you’ll use it. If the same or next day, leave at room temperature. If within the next 3 days, refrigerate and let come to room temperature before proceeding. If within the next 2-3 months, freeze and let come to room temperature before proceeding. I like to break up the tasks so I’ll flavor the dough then freeze it in whatever shape my cookie will be – logs for slice and bake, rolled into balls or rolled into sheets and cut into rounds or squares and frozen between sheets of parchment paper. When I need a few cookies, I can bake off as many as I need; two or twenty.

So round up your ingredients. Decide what cocoa you want to use. Find some instant espresso or coffee. Make your base dough, maybe peruse the past recipes and get ready. I’ll post a new recipe every other day starting tomorrow.

12 Days of Cookies from years past:

FruityJam ThumbprintsJam Streusel TartsRaspberry Linzer SquaresLemon Poppyseed ButtonsOrange Sesame CrispsCranberry Pistachio CoinsAlmond Raspberry StripsOrange Sandwich CookiesApricot Rosemary ShortbreadCoconut Lime SticksBourbon Glazed Fruitcake ButtonsLemon Cornmeal BiscottiBlueberry Lime ButtonsDate Swirls

NuttyMexican Wedding CookiesRussian Tea CakesPecan TassiesMaple Black Walnut CookiesPB&J Sandwich CookiesPecan Triangles

SpicedCinnamon Sugar PinwheelsCandied Ginger Spice ButtonsCardamom Rose CoinsBrown Sugar Wafers with Lemon Lavender Glaze

ChocolateMexican Chocolate CrinklesChocolate Cocoa Nib WafersRaspberry Chocolate DropsChocolate Hazelnut ButtonsDark Mocha Sandwich CookiesEspresso Crinkles

BarsRum Butter BarsPeppermint Brownie BarsBanana Walnut Bars

Holiday Classics: Cream Cheese WreathsClassic Molasses CookiesPeppermint Candy Canes

BASIC CHOCOLATE BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH

Makes dough for 2 or 4 or 8 batches of cookies and will be the base dough for the next twelve posts

If vanilla is out of your price range right now, bourbon or dark rum makes a nice if not quite as flavorful substitution.

  1. In a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Scrape the bowl and with the mixer running on medium-low, add the yolks one at a time, then vanilla and espresso mixture and beat until incorporated.  Scrape the bowl.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually mix in the flour and cocoa until combined.  Scrape a final time and turn the dough onto a work surface and gently knead to incorporate all remaining flour.
  4. Divide the dough into two, four or eight equal pieces and use as is for a delicious butter cookie or proceed with one or several of the variations that will follow in the next twelve posts (or the twelve posts from last year). If you have a scale, use it to divide the dough into precise measures.

Tips:

  • Dough can be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.  Let return to room temperature before continuing.
  • If using salted butter rather than unsalted, decrease the salt in the recipe to ¾ teaspoon.

So, OK. I’m going to throw a little wrinkle in here. Maybe you don’t want to make all your cookies chocolate this year. So here’s what you do: make a full batch of butter cookie dough, like we’ve done in years past, and make half or even a quarter chocolate. Then you can make any of the recipes from the past years that use plain dough and/or any of the chocolate recipes this month. Options. The holidays are about options.

BASIC BUTTER COOKIE DOUGHMakes dough for 2 or 4 or 8 batches of cookies

BASIC CHOCOLATE BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH VARIATION

  1. For the base dough: In a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Scrape the bowl and with the mixer running on medium-low, add the yolks one at a time, then vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Scrape the bowl.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually mix in the flour until combined.  Scrape a final time and turn the dough onto a work surface and gently knead to incorporate all remaining flour.
  4. Divide the dough into two, four or eight equal pieces and use as is for a delicious butter cookie or proceed with one or several of the variations that will follow in the next twelve posts (or the twelve posts from last year). If you have a scale, use it to divide the dough into precise measures.
  5. For the chocolate dough: choose your dough piece (½ or ¼ batch), break it up and place in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment along with the sugar and baking soda.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the espresso and water and stir until dissolved. Then add to the mixing bowl.
  7. Mix on medium-low – medium until well combined. Divide into smaller pieces and wrap tightly until needed. If making other recipes, proceed with room temperature dough; if not refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature before proceeding.

I’ve discovered that Thanksgiving cranberry sauce is a deeply personal thing. As a kid, it was the jellied canned type; the ridges and distinctive sound of the jelly releasing from the can were as much a part my Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and stuffing. Around 12 years old, I got snooty and insisted on whole berry cranberry sauce, ironically also from a can. Alas, my true snootiness had yet to be refined. That came in my twenties, as I became a more involved cook and hosted my first Thanksgiving. Because I am an absurd overachiever and apparently hadn’t taken on enough for my first attempt, I made a sauce with whole, fresh berries from the recipe on the back of the bag. While I haven’t hosted many Thanksgivings of my own, I’ve discovered that offering to make the sauce is easy and happily accepted by harried hosts. For years, I used this triple berry sauce and while it remains my ideal of a classic cranberry sauce, I’m always open to new ideas. This is where my friend Maurine stepped in.

I met Maurine through my friend Kate Hill in their beautiful corner of Southwest France. She is a delightful woman, a California transplant full of energy and light and ideas with a big laugh and incredible blue eyes that sparkle. I swear, her eyes truly sparkle. I just adore her. She has a great blog full of stories of her life in Southwest France and has been doing really fun French cooking classes on Facebook throughout the pandemic. Check her out! Several years ago, she posted a picture on Instagram of her cranberry chutney, a tradition in her house. I was intrigued and she generously shared her recipe; a mix of fresh cranberries, whole orange, dried fruits and spices. Let me make this abundantly clear: it is delicious. Incredibly delicious. A wonderful mix of sweet and tangy, a little spicy; full of bright flavors and interesting textures. It is great as a turkey accompaniment but really shines on a leftovers sandwich. Don’t limit yourself to Thanksgiving and Christmas, it works wonders on a cheese plate any time of the year and is wonderful with goat cheese and cheddar in particular. One Christmas I got really crafty and molded a cheeseball around it so there was a cranberry chutney surprise center. Delightful! 

This is one of those dump it all in a pot and let ‘er rip kind of recipes that I really appreciate. It starts with fresh cranberries and is enhanced with a variety of fresh and dried ingredients, spices and just enough vinegar to give it that tangy chutney hit. The orange – I used clementines – is chopped whole, rind and all, and thrown into the pot. As a lover of candied rind, this absolutely delights me. The dried fruit – cranberries, figs, raisins, cherries – can be varied to your tastes. I really like the addition of dried figs but I didn’t have any so I threw in a few prunes, purchased from a village near Maurine so it felt perfectly appropriate. I also switched out the raisins for currants. Hard, dry little unattractive nuggets. (FYI, chutneys are great uses for those dried fruits that maybe don’t look so hot but still have great flavor. The heat/moisture combo revives them quite nicely.)  I would also encourage you to not skip the nuts as they add a nice texture to the finished chutney; the recipe calls for pistachios but any nut will do. Whatever your ingredient mix, bring it all to a boil until the cranberries pop, about 3-4 minutes, and it’s done. It will take you longer to round up the ingredients than it will to cook.

I don’t know what your Thanksgiving plans are under these new covid surges but I urge you to be smart and be careful. As much as we absolutely hate it, in person indoor gatherings are risky so it’s time to think differently. My friends are planning a Friendsgiving potluck where we each claim a dish and portion it out. We’ll meet up somewhere for an exchange, each person going home with a full dinner. A few hours later, we’ll reheat, regroup and dine together via zoom call. It’s not traditional or what any of us would choose given the option but we’re adapting. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these people. I’m planning on making this chutney and raising a glass in Maurine’s general direction.

STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: EASE INTO IT. Maurine likes to make a double batch and gift it to friends and I think that might be a wonderful thing to do in these weird times. I’ve made smaller ½ batches, often in the offseason with frozen cranberries that work perfectly. It’s a great thing to have on hand as it really elevates deli counter turkey sandwiches. And here’s a hot tip – spread some on the bread before making a grilled cheese. Swoon.

Some other great Thanksgiving recipes

appetizers – Bacon Cheddar GougeresSouthern Cheese StrawsBaked Brie with Savory Fig JamPort Wine Cheese LogSpicy Seeded Parmesan StrawsSausage Stuffed MushroomsAntipasto SquaresFrench Onion Stuffed MushroomsBacon Wrapped DatesSpiced PecansParmesan Black Pepper Crackers Mustard Puff Pastry Bâtons

starters & side dishes – Maple Bourbon CarrotsRoasted Delicata Squash – 4 WaysMaple Mustard Glazed Delicata, Brussels Sprouts & ShallotsBaked Corn PuddingThanksgiving Stuffing Stuffed SquashRoasted Stuffed SquashEasy Squash Carrot SoupSherry Candied Walnut SaladThe Original Kale SaladKale Salad with Crispy Salami & Chickpeas

dessertsFrench Apple TartFrench Apple Tart for a CrowdFrench Apple PieSalted Caramel Apple PieCider Apple PieClassic Apple PieSimple Apple TartsGingerbread with Bourbon SauceClassic Pumpkin PiePumpkin RouladeSweet Pumpkin EmpanadasPumpkin Bundt CakeCranberry Crumble Tart

eleven years agoCider Donuts

ten years agoClassic Wedge Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

nine years agoMaple Buttermilk Spoonbread with Glazed Pears

eight years agoKale & Squash SaladLemon Slice Cookies

seven years agoSunday Lunch RamenApple Cider RollsPumpkin Spice Granola

six years agoFrom Scratch Rum Cake

five years ago: Caldo Verde (Portugese Kale Soup)

four years agoCreamy Steel Cut Oats with Roasted Pumpkin and Pumpkinseed CrumbleTurkey Egg Drop Soup,  

three years agoChunky Applesauce CakeCrispy Squash SandwichDairyland Sour Cream Apple Bars

two years agoCreamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

last yearDate Bundt Cake with Brown Sugar Caramel Glaze

MAURINE’S CRANBERRY CHUTNEY – from Maurine’s recipe

Makes about 2 cups

12 ounces fresh cranberries (1 bag)

1 ½ cups sugar

1 medium orange or 2 clementines, chopped 

½ onion, finely chopped

½ cup raisins (I used currants)

¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped

6 dried figs, chopped (I used prunes)

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup white vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

1 Tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy, nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. 
  2. Increase the heat and let the mixture boil until the fresh cranberries pop, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Let sit, covered, off the heat for 30-60 minutes to allow the dried fruit to fully plump.
  4. Transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate. I like to let it sit for a few days before using to let the flavors fully meld but have been known to make a sandwich and spoon some right out of the pot too. Will keep refrigerated for months.

It’s that time of the year again, the pre-holiday rush, but it’s different this time. Very different. Many of are trying to figure out what to do in the midst of pandemic with increasing infection levels in every corner, particularly the Midwest. (WTF North Dakota?!) We want to celebrate with family, with big tables of abundant food and rounds of laughter, however, we’re aware of the current situation and certainly don’t want to put anyone at risk. So we’re wisely scaling down. Celebrating virtually. Maintaining our distance. Having BYO cocktails in backyards around makeshift fire pits. We’re doing what works to keep others safe and that really is a good thing. Remember that. Hang in there.

But oh boy do we need a good food celebration. Potlucks are out, individually served things are in. And snacks. God damn do we need snacks. I’ve been snacking on the regular since April and have no intention of stopping. Snacks for dinner is a regular thing around here. You definitely need a tasty nibble to offset that glass (ahem, or three) of wine with your social Zoom calls, right? I was flipping through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, looking for ideas that used mustard and stumbled upon the most genius of snacks with only three simple ingredients. That woman is a wonder.

So here’s what you’re going to do for the easiest snack ever. Go to Trader Joe’s and buy a box of that great all butter puff pastry they only have at the holidays. Hell, buy four. Then dig around the fridge for a jar of Dijon mustard. If you have some cheese or a bit of prosciutto, fantastic, but it’s not necessary. Grab an egg while you’re in there. Preheat the oven to 400°F while you’re rooting around for these things.

Smear one side of the pastry with Dijon, fold it over, cut into strips and bake. A very simple yet delicious and surprisingly elegant cocktail snack in no time. If you want to fancy it up, sprinkle some finely shredded cheese (gruyere is perfection) over the full sheet. Or lay a few pieces of prosciutto over the lower half. I did all three on one pastry sheet, for a nice mix of each. A little egg wash, and a pinch of poppy or sesame seeds are nice. That’s it. The recipe can be doubled. Tripled. Halved. It can be assembled and frozen to bake off as you wish. Bake one; bake twenty. Do what you want. It is the ideal appetizer for these uncertain times and even when things go back to whatever normal might be. When you start having parties again, remember this one.

STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: WHO ISN’T STRESSED RIGHT NOW? Things suck. They just do. Chicago is going back on lockdown next week and I imagine, a lot of the country isn’t far behind. Which is why you might want to think about baking up a whole sheet of mustard puff pastry bâtons, pour yourself a glass of chilled crisp white wine and eat them all. Hey, just saying, it’s a thought. 

eleven years agoMultigrain BreadChicken Salad Full of Good ThingsLamb & Ale Stew

ten years agoClassic Wedge Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

nine years agoMaple Buttermilk Spoonbread with Glazed Pears

eight years agoKale & Squash Salad

seven years agoApple Cider Compote and an Orchard PartySunday Lunch Ramen

six years agoRoasted Delicata Squash – 4 Way

five years agoShaved Mushroom and Fennel Salad

four years agoChicken Wing Friday – Green Curry Chicken Wings,  Kale Salad with Crispy Salami & ChickpeasChocolate Malt Cookies

three years agoHomemade Sour Cherry Cracker JackFresh Apple FrittersPumpkin Cream Cheese BreadGjelina Style Roasted Beets with Spiced Lentils

two years agoCreamy Spinach Artichoke DipThe Original Kale Salad

last yearDate Bundt Cake with Brown Sugar Caramel Glaze

MUSTARD BÂTONS – loosely adapted from this recipe

Makes about 20 bâtons

Be sure your Dijon really packs a punch as the spicier varieties tend to come through more after baking. If you like the pop and crunch of a mustard seed, the grainer varieties are nice too. 

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in the fridge (about 12 ½” x 9 ½”)

¼ cup Dijon mustard, more or less

Good pinch of kosher salt

1 large egg + 1 teaspoon of water

Poppy or sesame seeds, for topping (optional)

A bit of flour for rolling

  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Have a ruler and a pizza cutter (or sharp knife) handy.
  2. Lightly flour the top of the pastry sheet, flip it and lightly flour the top.
  3. Roll out lightly to extend the size a bit, about an inch or so more on either side. You want to even out the dough and make it a bit thinner.  
  4. Turn the dough so that the longer side of the rectangle is closest to you. 
  5. Spread the mustard in an even, thin layer all over the pastry. An offset spatula works great but you can use a butter knife. 
  6. Sprinkle a good pinch of kosher salt all over the mustard.
  7. Optional: if you like, at this point sprinkle finely grated cheese in a thin loose layer over the pastry or lay prosciutto in a single layer on half of the pastry. 
  8. Fold the top portion of the dough over the bottom and lightly press to adhere. Trim the edges into nice, tight rectangle.
  9. Chill for 30 minutes to make the cutting easier and cleaner.
  10. Using the pizza cutter (or sharp knife for the prosciutto strips) cut the pastry from top to bottom into strips about ½” wide. 
  11. Carefully transfer the bâtons to one of the baking sheets and chill for another 15 minutes to get the pastry nice and cold before baking. (You can make all the strips to this point and freeze them on the baking sheets, then pack them airtight and keep them frozen for up to 2 months.)
  12. Lightly beat the egg with 1 teaspoon of cold water and brush the tops of the strips. If you like, sprinkle them with poppy and/or sesame seeds.
  13. Bake 8 minutes. 
  14. Rotate the sheets (top to bottom, front to back) and bake for another 7-8 minutes, or until the strips are puffed and golden brown. 
  15. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the bâtons rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
  16. Storing: Unbaked bâtons can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months and baked while still frozen. Brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle them with the seeds, just before baking.