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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Swirls

May 14, 2012

You know those chocolate almond swirls I made recently?  Well, as delicious as those were, I couldn’t help but wondering what other fun types of cookies I could make using the swirl concept.  I decided to make good use of the strawberry extract I have lying around.

These dark chocolate strawberry swirl cookies were inspired by Italy.  Yes, the nostalgia is getting pretty intense lately.  When I was studying abroad, I ate gelato probably five times a week.  I gained at least ten pounds and I wouldn’t change a thing (especially since at the time, I was in college, and could gym it up relatively easily when I got back to my normal life).

My favorite gelato flavor combination was cioccolato e fragola, or chocolate and strawberry.  So I figured that chocolate and strawberry would make a pretty good swirl cookie, too.

An important note on fruit extracts – I did a lot of research before purchasing the Frontier Co-op fruit extracts, and from what I’ve read, the brand makes all the difference.  All of the Frontier Co-op extracts I’ve tried so far work very well, and none have tasted like fake fruit or like candy fruit, in my opinion.  And their almond extract is fantastic.  All of this is to say that I can’t tell you what this recipe would be like if you used a different strawberry extract, but I recommend that  if you don’t want to buy Frontier Co-op extract, you look around and read reviews before you purchase the extract.

One more ingredient note, and then I swear I’ll give you the recipe.   In making these cookies, I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa for the first time.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but my life is better now that I found out.  It was easy to find at my grocery store, and I think some drug stores sell it.  If you can’t find it, you can purchase it online.  I am sure that these cookies would taste pretty good with normal cocoa, but the dark chocolate flavor really makes them unique and addictive.  I say this not out of lack of humility but because I still have some dough in my freezer, and it is all I can do not to bake more right this second even though I had, um, several earlier today.  

Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Swirls

Adapted heavily from Land O’ Lakes Chocolate Almond Swirls

  • 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 1/2 tsp strawberry extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4+ drops red food dye, optional

I’m including the full instructions below, but if you’ve made the chocolate almond swirls, the key difference is that you use the strawberry extract instead of the almond extract, the dark cocoa instead of the Dutch-process cocoa, and you also add red food dye to the “white” dough if you want the non-chocolate portion to be pink.

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 at medium speed until creamy.  Add the egg, the strawberry 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.  Add the dark 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.  You will not believe how dark the Special Dark cocoa makes your dough – it is incredible.

Take the chocolate dough out and place on a lightly-floured surface.

Wash out the bowl of your mixer or grab another bowl if you have two bowls for your mixer (lucky).  Put the white dough back in the mixing bowl and add red food dye a few drops at a time, mixing after each addition.  How pink you want your dough is a matter of personal preference and will determine how much food dye you should add.  Technically, you needn’t add any food dye at all, but I worried people would be surprised by the strawberry flavor if there weren’t something different about these cookies.  Plus, aesthetically, it looks cool.

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 plain strawberry 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.  Cut off the ends of the dough, so that each roll has flat ends.  Set this extra dough aside.

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

Take the extra dough you chopped off the ends and mix it together with your hands.  Roll this dough out into a log.  It will make cool-looking marbled cookies.

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 too much 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.  Do not let the cookies brown at the edges.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 30 seconds to 1 minute before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.

After the cookies have cooled completely, dig in!

Or store in an airtight container – but don’t store the cookies until they are fully cooled, or they will steam in the container, which will have a negative effect on the texture.

The great thing about freezing portions of this dough is that you can take the frozen dough out of the fridge, cut off five or six slices, and make tiny batches of these cookies.  And if you have self control, those five or six cookies might last longer than an hour.

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