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Chocolate Almond Swirls

April 18, 2012

We will get back in the swing of blogging at some point, I promise. Now that the fella and I have finally finished unpacking our apartment and are almost all the way done with purchasing furniture (a long saga, let me tell you), I finally have time to cook and bake again. Or, rather, I choose to have time for these activities – work has been incredibly busy all year, but baking keeps me sane.  As does exercise, so the two hopefully cancel each other out.

Saturday morning, I decided to bake 4 different types of cookies after almost pulling my hair out over our taxes.  It turns out that being a full-time student for the first five months of the year, moving, getting married, starting a new job, and moving again–well, all that makes for one heck of a complicated tax filing.  Luckily, I had plenty of flour and butter, because I was already planning to bake at least one type of cookie for my wonderful mom, who was coming into town for business.  Having my mom stay at our finally-fully-furnished and clean apartment made me feel all grown-up in a way that probably indicates I’m not actually all that grown-up.

These cookies were a last-minute addition to my set of cookies. I remembered I hadn’t yet used the almond extract I purchased from Frontier Co-op when I made Emily those cupcakes with strawberry orange banana frosting. After a bit of googling, I landed on a Land O’ Lakes recipe for Chocolate Almond Swirl cookies.  They looked delicious and I had to try them.  They are delicious and are now going to be a staple cookie for me, particularly during the holiday season.

These were a little tough to roll up because the chocolate dough cracked a bit.  I got worried that they wouldn’t actually make a swirl design because I’d done so much patchwork on the chocolate portion of the dough.  Foolishly, I cut a little bit of the dough before I refrigerated it, and of course it looked like a mess.  Luckily, after a night in the refrigerator, it cut better, and the swirl pattern was there.  Next time, though, I might roll the pieces of dough a little thinner, so that there will be even more swirls.

Additionally, I reversed the placement of the chocolate and plain almond dough, putting the chocolate on the bottom. As a result, the chocolate was on the outside, not the white dough.  I liked this look better than the cookies in the Land O’ Lakes photograph, but it’s up to you.

Chocolate Almond Swirls

Adapted slightly from Land O’ Lakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
Blend flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium-sized mixing bowl.In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy (Land O’ Lakes says “medium speed” but on my Kitchenaid, medium speed is insanely fast, so I used the second speed after the “off” position).  Add the egg, the almond extract, and the vanilla extract.  Beat until all of these ingredients are blended.

Add the dry ingredients in two or three batches, beating at low speed after each addition.  Raise the speed of the mixer one or two notches and beat until all the ingredients are well-mixed.

Take half of the dough out of the mixer and set aside on a lightly-floured surface.  Add the cocoa and vegetable oil to the dough that remains in the mixer and beat at medium speed until all of the dough is an even chocolate color.

Take the chocolate dough out and place on the lightly-floured surface.  Divide the chocolate dough in half.  Shape one of the halves into approximately an eight-inch log, then use a rolling pin to roll the log flat until it is approximately 5 inches wide.  The exact size is not that important, although you don’t want it to be smaller than this.  The important thing is that when you roll the vanilla dough out, it should be the same size.  Set the rolled out chocolate dough to the side.

If the chocolate dough is sticking to the rolling pin, you will probably want to wipe off or wash the rolling pin before turning to the non-chocolate dough, so that you don’t accidentally mix the chocolate dough into it while rolling.

Next, take half of the non-chocolate dough, shape it into an eight-inch log, and roll it out until it is the same size as the chocolate dough.  Place this dough on top of the rolled-out chocolate dough and press it down firmly or use a rolling pin to roll the combined dough out a little bit more.

Carefully roll the dough up, pressing it down gently as you roll it so that it stays tight.  If the outer chocolate dough cracks, you can try to patch it with your fingers, but don’t worry too much about it.

Repeat these steps with the other half of the chocolate dough and other half of the non-chocolate dough.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours; the dough will become much firmer and feel almost rock hard (or maybe my fridge is too cold).  You can also freeze the dough for a later time.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use a very sharp, non-serrated knife to cut each log into slices 1/4 inch thick.  Make sure you are holding the knife so that it goes straight up and down.  If you cut the logs at even a slight slant, the thinner edge of the cookies will brown and not taste as good.  Place the cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets (no parchment paper needed), leaving about two inches in between each cookie.

Bake cookies for 5 to 7 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet after three minutes if your oven has hot spots.  If you don’t know, here’s a great test you can do.  Do not let the cookies get brown.  Remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

If your mom is coming, consider putting them in a little baggie and tying them with ribbon leftover from wedding crafts so that it can be part of her welcome kit.  (Can you tell I really missed my mom and was crazy excited to see her?)

Also, if you want a fun-looking variation on these cookies, feel free to mix the two doughs by hand in small batches.  Then you can have marbled cookies.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink*
    April 19, 2012 10:45 am

    They look beautiful! I can’t decide if I like the swirl or the marble better. So happy you got a chance both to bake and to see your mom after the stressful taxes experience.


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