This time of year, a cluster of normally inactive holiday brain cells turn on, and I find myself looking through my cookie files, which are extensive. I riffle past the chocolate chip cookie file, the European cookie file, and the spice cookie file until finally, I find the Christmas cookie file, which is voluminous. I extracted an insert saved from the December 1981 Ladies Home Journal. It featured cookie recipes from the then-luminaries of the cooking world. My attention was grabbed by a picture of Mable Hoffman’s Acorn Cookies, and knew immediately that I had to try them. As it turns out, not only are they incredibly cute, but they are delish, being basically a brown sugar shortbread cookie in acorn form. They are slightly time-consuming to make, but really demand no special pastry chef skills.
Mable Hoffman’s Acorn Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
About one cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the sifted flour with the baking powder. Stir this flour mixture into the butter mixture. I recommend using your impeccably clean hands, because this is a firm dough. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Pinch to a rounded point at one end to resemble an acorn. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet lying on one side. Bake about 15 minutes. To check for doneness, the bottom of the cookie should be golden brown.
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a small Pyrex bowl in the microwave. In my microwave this took about two minutes, stopping halfway through to stir. Have the chopped pecans at the ready. Dip the cooled cookie into the melted chocolate, pointed side down, dipping at least half of the cookie into the chocolate. Then dip into chopped nuts. Place on a piece of waxed paper and allow chocolate to harden. This makes about four dozen cookies.
Note: I have underlined “sifted” for the flour, because this is a firm dough, and having too much flour could render it crumbly.
You will not have to use all 12 ounces of the melted chocolate, but it has to be deep enough to really plunge the cookie into. I took the melted chocolate that was left over, and dolloped half-teaspoons of it on a piece of foil. These blobs hardened into giant chocolate chips, which I will keep on hand until the next chocolate chip cookie-making binge.
For inspiration, here is a picture taken on a glorious fall day in October, of a mighty oak.
Hope your week is a good one. Namaste. Fran