Monday, June 26, 2006

When life gives you sour milk… make chocolate cookies

When I was a kid, my mom would make my grandmother’s chocolate cookies when we had milk or cream that had gone sour. The sour cream her recipe calls for is not the thick custard-consistency topping we use on Mexican food. It is actually the chunky, clumpy liquid that results when you leave milk or cream in the refrigerator a week past its due date. Lou thought I was crazy when he was about to dump the old container of cream into the compost bin and I stopped him saying I wanted to use it to make cookies. Sour milk and cream are great for baking because their increased acidity causes them to react with baking soda. Their use in this recipe results in a tender, cake-like cookie. In fact, these are so cake-like, my grandmother used to frost the bottoms, which intrigued us even more than the fact that such delectable treats could come from sour milk.

Grandma Helen’s Chocolate Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup cocoa
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream or sour milk
6 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons table salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Warm butter to room temperature (can be done by zapping for 30 seconds or so in microwave). In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars. Add the cocoa and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs and vanilla. Combine.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the baking soda and salt. Then while mixing, alternately add 1/2 of the flour mixture and 1/2 of the sour cream to the dough, then the remaining flour and sour cream and mix until incorporated.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Cool and frost the bottoms with your favorite chocolate frosting if desired. As a kid, I loved the frosted bottoms, but these days I prefer the cookie sans frosting.

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