Some sweet treats that really bring the heat…er, smoke!
I’m going to be honest with you – these are some pretty burly cookies. They are intense, in that “pair with some whiskey” kind of way. Not that that’s a bad thing.
I didn’t start out with the intention of making such a wildly intense cookie, but you know what’s a bummer about the Internet? Every time you have an idea that you think is totally original and awesome, you realize that other people have already had that idea. Lots of people, as a matter of fact. I was going share some spicy chocolate cookies I love, and then not one, not two, but THREE recipes all too similar were posted in the last month. And those are just from the blogs I actually follow.
While racking my brain for a plan B, I remembered the bottle of Lazy Kettle liquid smoke I purchased a while back. I have never used liquid smoke before, but I had an amazing smoke-flavored ice cream at a restaurant that I wanted to try to replicate, so I snatched that little bottle up. Smoke happens to go marvelously with chocolate, so I figured why not give it a whirl?
While investigating what exactly liquid smoke is (basically water that has captured the flavor of smoke) I learned that it is pretty touchy stuff and easy to over-use. I got a little nervous and went drop by drop, tasting in between, but eventually decided that since chocolate is pretty robust on its own, this cookie could handle a generous amount. Get the deepest, darkest cocoa you can get your hands on. If you’re going to have cookies, you might as well get some extra mileage out of it. They’re pretty rich on their own, but if you want extra credit, go big and throw some chocolate chips in there. Why not?
Smoked Chocolate Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
• 1 ½ cups flour
• 2 tbsp cocoa powder
• ¼ cup honey
• ½ cup brown sugar, packed
• ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
• 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
• 10 drops liquid smoke*
• Granulated sugar
• Smoked salt
Note: Apparently not all liquid smoke is created equal, as some have other things like caramel color or molasses added to them. I would recommend getting an all-natural version like Lazy Kettle. You can find liquid smoke in most major grocery stores around the condiments like Worcestershire sauce. Now you’ll have some on hand to fancy up your meat and soups! Smoked French Onion soup? Yes please.
1. Whisk together flour and cocoa in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a new bowl, cream honey, brown sugar, and butter, stopping at least once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Tip: If you only have unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients
3. Mix half the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
4. Dissolve baking soda in 1 ½ tsp boiling water and beat into the flour and butter mixture, then add rest of the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon. The mix will be a little dry at first but will moisten up. Be careful not to overwork it, stopping as soon as it is completely moistened.
5. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat over to 325°.
6. Pour some granulated sugar into a small bowl. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and coat in sugar. Place on a cookie sheet, then gently flatten just a little. The thicker the dough, the softer the cookie will be. Press a few grains of smoked salt on top of each cookie.
7. Bake for 16 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.
Finally, pour yourself a big glass of milk – or some whiskey – and enjoy!
Readers – do you love smoked treats? What are your favorites?