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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Candy Kiss Cookies




Still looking for something to take to the Valentine's day party at the kids' school or for a special treat for friends, family, or neighbors? Here is one that includes two layers of chocolate, and what says Valentine's day more than chocolate and kisses!



Chocolate Kiss Cookies

6 oz butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2/3 c sugar
1/3 c ground almonds (see NOTE)
1/4 c cocoa
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
2 to 4 T water, ONLY if needed
42 to 60 Hershey's Kisses

Combine the butter, sugar, almonds, cocoa and vanilla and mix until evenly blended. Stir in flour. If the dough is too crumbly, add just enough water to hold it together. (The less water you use, the easier the dough will be to work.)
Unwrap the Hershey's Kisses. Take a small amount of dough and wrap around each kiss, shaping the dough to completely cover the candy and molding it into a candy kiss shape. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 11 to 12 minutes at 325 until dough is no longer shiny and just set. Allow to stay on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Cut foil into 3 to 5 inch squares, depending on the size of your cookies--make a test wrap or two before cutting all the foil! Wrap each cookie to look like a candy kiss. If desired, strips of paper can be prepared with valentine messages and twisted into the foil as well.

Makes 40 to 55 cookies, depending on the amount of dough you wrap around each candy.

NOTE: If you don't have access to ground nuts, you can process some chopped nuts in a blender or processor OR just omit them entirely. Using chopped nuts, even if rather finely chopped, will make the dough quite a bit more difficult to work with.

And speaking of difficult to work with: This is a recipe that really needs to have butter at that "just right stage" to work easily. Too firm and you end up having to add water to hold things together, resulting in a much stickier dough. However, if you melt the butter, you will have a pretty greasy mess to work with too. So how did I get to the right consistency? Here's my trick: my coffee was getting a little on the cool side, so I tucked it in the microwave to heat up and then just put the dough bowl on top for a few minutes. A cup of just plain boiling water would have the same effect. (Yes, if you are using a microwave-safe bowl, you could just put the butter in that and nuke a few seconds. However, this often leads to melted rather than softened butter if you aren't really careful. Thus, this crazy double-boiler kind of approach. And no, you DON'T want to turn the microwave on while that stainless steel bowl is inside!)






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