Monday, April 17, 2006

Mondays with Maida - New Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

Page 125 in the old book / page 163 in the new book

Rather uncharacteristically, Maida provides no background on this cookie or its origin at the start of the recipe, but I believe these New Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies are so named because of the pine nuts in them. None of the other ingredients, or the cookies themselves for that matter, brings to mind New Mexico or the southwest. I might have felt otherwise if I had actually used pine nuts, but at the last minute I realized I was out and had to fall back on one of Maida's suggested substitutions - pecans.

I should mention that there is some nutmeg in these cookies, which gives them a slightly more exotic flavor than your run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies. The other thing that is a little different is that the chocolate is ground (or finely chopped) before being added to the dough. I liked the taste, but it was the texture of the cookie that I found most satisfying - crunchy outside and chewy inside.

The dough for these cookies is frozen in a loaf pan. The "loaf" is cut in two lengthwise and then the cookies are sliced and baked. I ended up with 60 cookies - slightly less than yield stated in the recipe (66) - due in part to the size of my loaf pan. I was aiming for slicing the cookies 1/4" thick, but worried that I was slicing them too thickly and wound up with some too-thin cookies (which had no chewy middle). Next time I would shoot for 3/8" slices.

Terri, who has graciously pinch-hit in for absent cookie panelists on many occasions, joins the cookie panel full-time starting this week...

Suzanne: "I expected the cookie to taste like a chocolate chip cookie except the cookie is square, but it had a slightly different taste. The cookie has a small amount of nutmeg which I could definitely taste. I’m not a big fan of nutmeg even though I know from all the cooking shows on TV that everyone loves nutmeg. I did like the texture of the cookie. The cookie was crunchy on the edges and softer in the middle. I also enjoyed the chocolate chips and nuts. Rating - 4.0"

Denny: "Crunchy and chocolatey are my two favorites in a cookie but something in them detracts a bit from the overall cookie. Ginger or some other spice? I'd give them a 3. Rating - 3.0"

Laura: "Crunchy chocolatey goodness. Rating - 4.0"

Terri: "Since I don't consider myself a 'chocolate lover' these cookies had just the right amount of chocolate. These are very similar to a chocolate chip cookie except the slivers of chocolate make them less chunky. The pecans add a flavorful touch - crunchy and chewy. Rating - 4.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.8

Next week - Black-and-White Coconut Slices

Nutrition Facts


Rosa said...

Mmmm. Looks good. I like the squares. Just a little out of the ordinary with the nutmeg. Nice.

Cathy said...

Hi Rosa! Thanks so much! These definitely had a little different flavor (which I assume was the nutmeg). I liked them, but I think for some people chocolate chip cookies, like brownies, are not to be messed with!

Anonymous said...


I don't think words can express how much I look forward to Mondays with Maida. Another great installment!

Cathy said...

That's so nice of you to say, Ivonne - thank you!!

Nic said...

Interesting reactions! I've noticed that in some recipes nutmeg really seems to stand out. Of course, I have yet to fully figure out why it comes out in some recipes far more than others. I love the shape of these cookies.

And let me also welcome Terry to the panel!

Cathy said...

Hi Nic! I've had a number of cookies with nutmeg now and I've decided it is a mysterious spice! I really should do some testing with and without the nutmeg in a couple of recipes, so that I can get a handle on how it changes the taste. I never would have identified the flavor of these cookies as being nutmeg.

Anonymous said...

I love the look of this cookie and the first thought that came to mind was an ice cream sandwich! I'm familiar with the round ones, so why not this? ;-)

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena! Ice cream sandwiches hadn't occurred to me in regards to this cookie, but I was just saying the same thing about the cookie I made last week (to be posted in a week) - it must be the season! These would probably be great that way too. I like the way the square shape looks, but best of all it's easy to cut!