Baking Through Fika: Checkerboard Cookies
This one was harder than I thought it would be. It had a simple ingredient list and seemingly simple instructions. But I just didn’t really deliver on the execution. Gotta love being humbled in the kitchen!
As you can see, my cookies are not sweet, dainty squares divided into equally sized plain and chocolate shortbread quadrants. They are wavy, oddly shaped, and so far from dainty. BUT they were yummy. So yummy, in fact, that my son who much prefers a packaged sweet to my baked goods referred to them as the “special black and white cookies” when he told me what he wanted for dessert. I thought he meant Oreos. When I gave him an Oreo he says, “No, mom, the special ones you made!” It was a rare moment, and a good one.
There is a certain amount of precision required to make these cookies look like they should. In order to get those straight edges you must really make each part neat, and then piece everything together neatly. I just made rough rectangles by hand and the results were a more rustic cookie. Here are some ideas I have for making them better. Anyone out there have good tips to share?
- Chill the dough after dividing it so that it’s just a bit firmer. When I used the dough it was very soft, and too malleable.
- Use a dough scraper as your straight edge to get neat edges on each piece, then chill them separately before joining them together.
- Use the dough scraper again after putting the pieces together, and be sure to put them together on a flat surface that you can transfer directly in to the fridge to chill again.
- When creating the long rectangles of dough, they become long and difficult to move. If you made two sets of long rectangles, a total of 8 (4 chocolate and 4 plain) they would be easier to move and place together.
I’ll have to give these another go and see if any of those things help!
Even though these weren’t the prettiest of cookies, they had good flavor, buttery and slightly soft with a subtle chocolate flavor. They’re nice along side your cup of coffee or tea and would make a nice addition to a Christmas cookie plate. Not that I’m already thinking about Christmas…
From Baking Through Fika
- 7 ounces of butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Beat the butter and sugar together until combined, then add in the vanilla followed by the flour. Mix until evenly combined.
- Divide the dough into two equally sized pieces.
- Mix the cocoa into one half of the dough until it’s incorporated and the dough is a consistent color.
- Divide each half in half so that you have 4 pieces, two plain and two chocolate. If your dough is especially soft, you may want to chill it for 10-20 minutes.
- Form each piece into a long rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Make all the pieces the same length and width. (This is the part where dividing the dough further might be helpful.) Place one chocolate rectangle next to one plain. Then place a plain piece on top of the chocolate and a chocolate piece on top of the plain. Press together lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove from the fridge and unwrap. Slice (a large chef’s knife is good for this) into slice that are about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. They spread a bit, but not too much, so space them 1/2 an inch or so apart.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until they are set and the edges are just beginning to brown.
- These store very well once cooled at room temperature in a container. They would also freeze very well.