Sunday 9 December 2012

Hammer Cookies

Some years ago, my daughter asked if I could babysit our younger grandson for the afternoon and, knowing I would have him there, I planned a baking project we could do together.  

Our wee fellow was five at the time, and a very kinetic learner, so I wanted to come up with a project that he would really enjoy.  I decided we'd make some chocolate cookies and then top them with broken candy cane pieces.

My little buddy and I painstakingly removed the cellophane from our candy canes and put them in a ziploc bag.  Then I gave him a hammer, sent him out on the porch, and told him to smash the candy canes to pieces. 

He did so with great enthusiasm; reducing them to candy cane dust. 

The pieces were smaller than I'd hoped for but we made the cookies anyway and, after a taste test, he pronounced them to be a great success.  He asked if he could take them to school with him for sharing the next day, so I packed them up.

Sharing time rolled around the next morning and my grandson proudly walked to the front of the class with his cookies.  

Once he had the undivided attention of his classmates, he announced, "MY grandma cooks with a hammer!"

Ever since then, this recipe has been affectionately known at our house as "Hammer Cookies."  They're very good cookies, and I'm sure that you can find someone in your household who will enjoy cooking with a hammer too.  :)

To make hammer cookies, you'll need:

  • 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces white chocolate (not pictured)
  • about a cup of smashed candy cane pieces, in a small, wide bowl (not pictured)

Begin by coarsely chopping the chocolate and then melting it in the microwave.  You should heat the chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between each turn in the microwave.  When it's melted, set it aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Beat the egg and mix it into the butter/sugar mixture.

Mix in the melted chocolate.

Mix together the milk and the vanilla extract in a small bowl or measuring cup and set it aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the chocolate and butter mixture and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.

Add half of the milk mixture and stir until it's been absorbed.

Add another third of the flour and mix it in, then the rest of the milk and mix it in.

Finish with the last of the flour.  

Form the dough into two-inch diameter cylinders and roll them in waxed paper.  

Chill the dough for an hour or two, until it's firm (or store it in the freezer until you need it).

Slice the chilled dough into slices about 1/3 inch thick and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the cookies at 350F for about 12 minutes.  The cookies will expand a bit and firm up, but won't change colour.

Allow the cookies to cool completely.

When the cookies have cooled, chop the white chocolate and melt it in the microwave just as you did earlier with the unsweetened chocolate.

Set the cookies to one side of you, the melted white chocolate and the bowl of candy cane pieces in front of you, and have a flat board or other moveable surface such as a cookie sheet off to your other side.

Use a knife or an offset spatula to spread white chocolate onto the top of a cookie, then immediately dip the white chocolate covered side of the cookie into the candy cane pieces.  

Set the cookie, candy-pieces-side-up on your board or cookie sheet and then repeat this process until all the cookies have been decorated.

Allow the cookies to sit until the white chocolate hardens.  Store the finished cookies in an airtight container, with a layer of waxed paper between each layer of cookies.
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Unknown said...

These look really good and I love the story about how the cookies got their name. Your grandson will have a story to tell his children too. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope to make some Hammer Cookies for Christmas too.

Aunt B said...

I'm glad you like the story Debra. It makes me smile every time I make the cookies. My grandson is twelve now, and still asks to bake them every year. :)

Anonymous said...

That's awesome what a nice story..haha!! I don't fancy candy canes but it seems like a great recipe for the kids and to get the kids involved like you did. Cheers Aunt B.

Aunt B said...

Thanks Mr CBB, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :)

April J Harris said...

I love the story behind these cookies! What a lovely memory :) They sound delicious too :)

Aunt B said...

Thanks April. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :)

Laureen @FoxKitchen said...

Cute story! Yummy cookies. I'm going to add these to my Must-Make list :-)

Aunt B said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post Laureen. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Alea Milham said...

These cookies look so good! I enjoy the combination of chocolate and peppermint. I will be doing a round up of Valentine's treats soon and will be including a link to this recipe.

Aunt B said...

Thanks Alea. I'm honoured.