Yes, I’ve said more than once that I’m going to lay off baking for a while. And more than once, I’ve proven how shallow my resolve really is. Now, I’ll prove it again.
I bought a bag of flour the other day, because we had nearly run out. (Hmm, wonder how that happened?) But when I poured it into the canister, it appears I miscalculated—there was still enough remaining from the last bag that it didn’t all fit. I had about a cup and a half of overflow, and no time to plunge into a big baking project. This left me with three choices: 1. Leave the extra flour in the bag and stow it in the cabinet, which struck me as unavoidably messy; 2. Throw away the extra, which struck me as wasteful; or 3. Make something that could be mixed and held to be baked later. I don’t have to tell you which one I picked.
But rather than baking something truly sinful, I thought I’d return to one of my favorites from when I was following Weight Watchers, a deep cocoa-and-coffee flavored cookie with a pleasantly crumbly, almost shortbread-like texture and a pretty rim of sparkly sugar. The recipe is a clipping from Eating Well magazine, nearly seven years old. If I didn’t tell you these were low-fat, low-calorie cookies, you’d never know. In my publishing days, I’d bring half the batch into the office and they’d be scarfed up in no time. And they met my need to be mixed, then held—the recipe calls for a minimum of an hour and a half in the fridge, and can be frozen for up to a week.
The dough comes together in about ten minutes, since there’s no melting of chocolate or creaming of butter. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, it waited patiently for baking time, first in the fridge for a day, and then in the freezer for two more. There’s a little bit of prep work on the other end, but once the sheets are in the oven they’re done in under seven minutes. I defrosted the dough overnight in the fridge, and when the time was right, a half-hour later S and I had 40something cookies. True confession: I baked them around 11AM, and they were so good that S and I had cookies for lunch. Yes, this is why I’ve gained 20 pounds in six months.
Chocolate Cappuccino Wafers
Makes 4 dozen cookies [I got 44 this time]
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dutch process [I use Double Dutch Dark from the Baker’s Catalogue]
¼ t. salt
1 large egg white
¾ cup plus 3 T. sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 T. light corn syrup
1 T. instant coffee granules, preferably espresso, dissolved in 1 T. hot water [tap is fine]
2 t. vanilla extract
Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg white, ¾ cup sugar, oil, corn syrup, dissolved coffee granules, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in dry ingredients until smooth.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 ½ hours. (The dough will keep, well wrapped, in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 week. Defrost in the refrigerator before using.)
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350. Lightly oil several baking sheets and the bottom of a drinking glass. [If you use silpats, only oil the glass.]
Put remaining 3 T. sugar in a small shallow bowl. With lightly oiled hands, roll dough into ¾-inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. [Note: there’s no butter in the dough so the cookies don’t spread. You only need to space them far enough apart for when you flatten them in the next step.]
Dip the oiled glass into sugar and use it to flatten balls into 2-inch circles, dipping in sugar between each one. [Mine are usually more like 1 ½ inches.]
Bake cookies in upper and lower thirds of oven for 5 to 7 minutes, swapping placement and turning front-to-back halfway through. Cookies are done when just becoming firm in the center—do not overbake. With a spatula, immediately transfer cookies to wire racks. Let cool completely.
According to the clipping, these babies have a mere 40 calories and 1 gram of fat each! You can’t beat that, can you?