Friday, December 9, 2011

Spicy Cheddar Snowflakes and the Lean, Mean, Cookie-Flipping Machine Giveaway

The Setting: Large white flakes falling outside an uncharacteristically quiet apartment.

The Soundtrack: Only the blissful striking of the keys as the melody of my one-handed typing takes life. I am attempting to curb the amount of television exposure Oia gets, per the AAP's request. They request that she gets none. I generally allow a full day's worth. Today is a compromise.

Steaming up the oven: Remaining batches of Hoosband Cookies, Homemade Graham Crackers, and Spicy Cheddar Snowflakes.

The Scenario: Wrapping up the baking for tomorrow's sale.

I love to case you couldn't tell.

Hoosband sometimes complains that his pants don't fit as well as they should, which is my signal to cut back on the regular production of mass sweetness. I received just such a signal recently.

But then came the bake sale.

Suddenly, to my great joy, was an excuse to bake and bake and bake and not (necessarily) expand the waistlines of those residing in Casa de Crumm.

I had visions of French almond macaroons, stunning layer cakes, delicate pastries, and a myriad more never-get-to-bake delights.

But then a realization came over me:

Woman, you have a four-month-old, nipple-munching time-suck (whom of course you love and adore, but) who negates your ability to be Wonder Woman with a whisk.

Simpler fare would be in order.

Cookies, peppermint bark, and incredibly simple spicy cheese wafers.

All was going according to plan.

Doughs were made and frozen ahead of time; cookies were baked in batches between playtimes and feedings.

Then came time to bake off the cheese wafers.

In my personal-chef days I used to make these in great variation all the time for parties and functions. I was pretty sure I new what I was doing and could bang them out from memory, no problem.

Turns out I should have searched harder for my recipe.

In the place of the savory, shortbread-like cookies I had envisioned pulling out of the oven were sizzling cheddar tuiles.

Flavor? Excellent.

Texture? Fragile...a little crisp...a little chewy.

Appearance? Thin, delicate, each one a little bit different...a little like...snowflakes.

C'est la vie!

Spicy Cheddar Snowflakes
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened slightly at room temperature
1 T hot sauce
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus a touch extra for sprinkling

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter with hot sauce and seasonings until soft and fluffy. Add cheese and flours. Beat till well-combined.

Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle a little extra flour on your hands, roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and wrap in the plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week in fridge or freeze for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 weeks.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Allow the dough to sit out at  room temp for 15 minutes if frozen solid. Slice the log into 1/4-inch rounds and place rounds 2 inches apart (and not too close to the edges) on the the cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F for 8 minutes or till golden, sizzling, and crispy on the edges.

Want a lean, green, cookie-flipping machine like mine?

Don't forget to enter the "Be a Good Cookie" Giveaway!

To enter, simply...

1. Become a follower of Being the Secret Ingredient either on the blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

2. Then tell Being the Secret Ingredient your all-time favorite cookie either by Tweeting @BeingTSI, commenting on the blog, or leaving a wall post on our Facebook page. Increase your chances by doing all three!

Must enter by January 15, 2012. Winner will be selected by a drawing and announced January 16. Winner must be a resident of the 48 contiguous United States.

For more information on the OXO "Good Cookie" Spatula, see this post: Cookies for Kids' Cancer--And a Giveaway!

For more info on Cookies for Kids' Cancer, visit

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