I really hate to reveal how old some of my recipe clippings are: suffice to say, I was riffling through my deepest, oldest cookie archives, in the veritable catacombs of my collection, where I had to brush away cobwebs and hurry past the skeletal remains of long-deceased monks, to find this recipe, from the Food Guide of the Chicago Tribune, dated Thursday, June 29, 1989.
These Chocolate-Iced Cookies from Marshall Fields are legendary. I can remember going to their store in Oak Park, and stopping by their tiny bakery. It was always mayhem–even though we took numbers, the mere suggestion that someone might illicitly jump ahead of line caused an underlying sense of mob violence poised to erupt. I always requested one Chocolate-Iced Cookie, cost: 75 cents. The cookie was nestled in tissue paper and handed to me in a small, white waxed paper bag.
Then I seem to remember hurrying off, slavering, like a wolf to her lair, to devour the cookie, crumbs of which were left on my snout. The cookie was cloud soft, chocolatey, and a bit crackly from the frosting. In the words of Oak Park native son Ernest Hemingway : It was good. It was very good. I ate it.
Here is the recipe.
Chocolate-iced Cookies from Marshall Fields
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey or corn syrup
4-1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter, softened
4-5 tablespoons boiling water.
Ahead of time: chop nuts and melt the unsweetened chocolate. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, brown sugar and honey in a large bowl, using an electric mixer. Add cooled chocolate and eggs; beat well. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and then chopped pecans. Using a 1/4-cup cookie scoop, scoop dough onto lined baking sheet. (If you don’t have a cookie scoop, use two tablespoons dough.) Leave two inches between cookies. Bake for 12 minutes, or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 2-1/2 dozen cookies.
For frosting, mix powdered sugar, cocoa and softened butter. Add about four tablespoons of the boiling water and mix. Add more boiling water, by the half tablespoon, if needed. (This imprecision is because powdered sugar seems to vary as to how much moisture it contains. Add the water little by little.)
Baking note: The recipe called for 4-1/2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate, and, unfortunately, Baker’s chocolate is sold in 4-ounce bars. Darn! I used a little chocolate left over from a previous recipe to make up the 1/2 ounce. Failing that, you may have to buy two bars, though my guess is that using only 4-ounces of chocolate would be fine. The original recipe called for invert sugar, a type of liquid sugar used by pro bakers. The honey works perfectly, though.
Seen the other day: a goldfinch perching above a feeder as the wind ruffled its feathers. My bird identifying skills are primitive, and I don’t know if this is a young bird, or a male with his bright summer feathers falling out and his duller fall feathers coming in. Either way, I enjoyed seeing him.
Peace to you. Fran