Saturday, 21 January 2012

Checkerboard Cookies


Dom from Belleau Kitchen hosts random recipes which is a great idea to use more of your recipe books. I tend to get recipes online or from other blogs and as my cookbook collection has grown exponentially last year, I really wanted to use more of my cookbooks this year.  The challenge for this month is simple - choose a random recipe from your newest book and blog about it. My newest cookbook is Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking. I have to admit I was nervous about joining this challenge particularly with this book as I feared my random recipe would be too challenging. As instructed, I closed my eyes and randomly opened the book to page 42-43 which is Chocolate-Orange Pinwheels and Checkerboards. My first thought was 'oh no, this looks complicated and time consuming!' (Dom - I have to admit I was very tempted to cheat and turn the page but the next recipe is apricot pecan rugelach! Lesson is don't cheat!) 
Anyway I decided I would tackle the recipe but only managed to make the checkerboards which to me were more challenging than the pinwheels.  I've never made these before and have always wanted to as they look so cute. I'm glad I tried it but I'm not sure I would make them again as they do require quite a bit of time and patience. They did taste good though so it was worth the effort and the friend that I ended up giving them to really enjoyed them. 
The recipe offers a few flavour variations and I chose to make chocolate-coffee for mine. I've probably made it sound more complicated than it really is! Has anyone else tried making these? 




 roll the dough into strips (ideally, they should be the same length!)

 creating the checkerboard effect 


 cut off the ends... 

 checkerboard effect! 

 ready to go in the oven 

 so pleased you can see the pattern! 

 I also made some 'mini' ones as I had some dough leftover - only managed 3 rows with these. 


Recipe from Williams-Sonoma essentials of baking

155g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
30g chocolate, melted 
125g butter, softened
125g sugar
1 large egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 teaspoon of hot water

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and continue beating.
  • Add the flour and baking powder and mix well. 
  • Divide the dough in half. 
  • Place one half in a separate bowl and stir in the coffee dissolved in hot water. 
  • Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to the other half and mix well. 
  • Form each dough into a 5 inch square and wrap separately in cling film. 
  • Refrigerate until firm (about 45 minutes).
  • Remove the dough from the fridge. 
  • Cut each piece of dough into 6 strips. 
  • One at a time, roll each strip into a rope, flouring your hands lightly, if necessary. 
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a fork until foamy. 
  • Lay 3 ropes parallel to each other alternating the colours (see picture above) and press the ropes together. 
  • Brush the top with egg white.
  • Place a second set of 3 ropes of alternating colours on top of the first set of 3, press them together and brush with egg white. 
  • Repeat until you have a stack of 4 rows, always alternating the colours so that a checkerboard pattern is visible when the stack is viewed from the end. 
  • Do not brush the top row with egg white. 
  • Trim the ends evenly, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Slice the cookies and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Bake for 8 - 12 minutes until the edges just begin to turn light golden. 
  • Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 



40 comments:

  1. These look really fun! Great post!

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  2. Fun indeed, Ros and you did GREAT!!! I've baked pinwheels before (we won't discuss it:) Never checkerboards though. I bet they were delicious!!!

    Thanks for sharing...

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  3. How can you go wrong with orange and chocolate. I love checkerboard cookies and your photos really show how easy and fun these are!

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  4. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww,, ADORABLE :D I love it :D

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  5. I have that cookbook. I love their photography. Your cookies turned out beautifully!

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  6. I am so silly! I never knew you made checkered boarded cookies like that! I somehow though...you used a mould or something...but you just roll the dough into strips and put them onto of each other :) Great!

    And you know I have orange and chocolate flavoured goodies ~

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  7. These look tasty...would be good for a kid's car themed birthday party!! :-)

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  8. I'm glad you did some "How to" photos as I couldn't think how to create the chequerboard effect. Very clever! These look fun, even if they are a bit time consuming.

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  9. Now that's what I'd call an impressive cookie - they look really good. I've never tried making anything like them - I suppose they've always been on the too difficult pile for me. But that's the point of a challenge, I suppose.

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  10. yummychunklet - thanks, they were fun and I am pleased with the end result :)

    Louise - ok I won't ask about the pinwheels then ;P

    Janet - chocolate and orange are good as are chocolate and coffee :)

    LoLy - thanks :)

    Megan - I am totally loving this book! So pleased that I bought it.

    Daisy - I didn't know how checkerboard cookies were made either until I saw these.

    Laura - thanks, will have to host a kid's car themed party then ;P

    Jo - glad the photos are helpful!

    Phil - thanks, I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The challenges are great as I probably would not have attempted these otherwise.

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  11. They look fantastic! I always consider this and the Battenburg cake to be "magic" with the technique :)

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    1. Battenburg is on my to bake list as well. Despite what I said, I think I will be making this again as it's so cute!

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  12. aren't they so totally adorable? I too have never made these but always wanted to and to be honest you make it seem quite simple. The photos are brilliant! That you so much for taking part and I bet you feel so much better for not cheating. It's much better for the soul!!

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    1. they are super cute, thank you for making me take the leap! :)

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  13. I take my hat off to you, reckon if I had picked these little guys I'd have been tempted to pick again lol. The finished product is well worth your labour of love though.

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    1. I did try to pick again but the recipe was even more complicated! Would you believe that after all that, I gave all my cookies away?

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    2. That was very selfless of you ;-)

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    3. Thanks Choclette! I did of course try a few - quality control you know :)

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  14. These look amazing and I'm sure were worth the effort, but I know what you mean. My preference is to stick to the simpler things. But that's why I like doing blogging challenges, it often forces me to try something I wouldn't otherwise do.

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  15. I agree and I've tried so many new things with these challenges.

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  16. These cookies look delicious! I'm quite a lazy person, usually I don't like to trouble myself with making difficult or time-consuming recipes, but sometimes it's well worth it. :)

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    1. I'm lazy too but you're right, sometimes they are worth it and it really was not as bad as I thought. I'm just pleased that it worked (not perfectly) but good enough for me :)

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  17. These look so good! I'm really really impressed with the chequerboard effect!

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  18. I bought that Williams Sonoma cookbook around Christmas, and I love it. The checkerboard cookies came out great!

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    1. It's a really good book and I'm sure I'll be using it a lot. So pleased these cookies turned out ok.

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  19. Love the method - reminds me of playing with plasticine at infants school (although I bet that didn't taste as good as these biscuits!)

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    1. Definitely tastier than plasticine! :)

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  20. I must say that your checkerboard cookies looks fabulous! I wanted to try making the pinwheel cookies for awhile, but never have the courage to do it. Your checkerboard cookies really looks great. Well done :)

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    1. thanks! I'll have to make pinwheel cookies next

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  21. I never realised that's how these were made! Looks a bit fiddly but not that technically difficult - and they turned out really well!

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    1. I never knew either until I looked it up! They really are not that difficult just time consuming and clearly I cant make equal length dough! I am pleased with the final result :)

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  22. What a neat challenge! I have not made these yet, but pinwheels are on my list!

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    1. thanks! pinwheels are on my list too.

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  23. I have been looking at these on my searches as I have ben researching a chequerboard cake. These look great. Perfect for when you can not decide which flavour - which is sadly me most of the time.

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    1. ooh a checkerboard cake sounds good :) I'm quite indecisive myself especially when it comes to food!

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  24. These are so cute! I've used this technique with modelling clay before, but for some reason, never transferred it to biscuits - but I will! Someday!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. They really are cute, aren't they? :)

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  25. I saw a version of these in a magazine and thought they looked very impressive but the instructions weren't very clear? Your instructions are very clear and the results look delicious. I love the mix of coffee and chocolate. GG

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    1. I'm glad the instructions are clear enough. They really were very cute and worth the effort! :)

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