There is not anything better than a gift of a cookbook. I obsess over my cookbook collection, having to have the best new additions to the cookbook scene, as well as the oldie-but-goodies. However, sometimes the best books are those that are free, or more so, those that warmly belonged to another and then, were passed onto you.
My cousin recently gave me The Better Homes and Garden Homemade Cookies Cookbook, published in 1975. Packed with retro-styled cookies, bars, candies and teacake pastries, the hardcover kitchen companion was received at the most perfect time of the year.
Opting to start my Christmas cookie baking with a little bit of chocolate, I selected a recipe from the above-mentioned text, a 3-dozen batch of a walnut-packed, cocoa blend that undeniably proved that this baking handbook stuck around for obvious reasons.
Mexican Mocha Minis
makes 3 dozen
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or raw sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose, 1/2 cup flax seed meal and 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso crystals
1/4 teaspoon of salt (or sea salt)
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (or almonds)
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries (or more more choc-crunch, add chocolate chunks here)
powdered sugar for dusting
Cream first 3 ingredients. Sift flour with cocoa, coffee and salt. Gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and cherries. Form into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on rack. While warm, but not hot, dust with powdered sugar.