Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cook your hobby: Scrabble cookies!

Recently there was  a cooking challenge over at the Chickenless Kitchen: Cook your hobby!  By that, she she meant that everyone should in some way cook something that represented in some way one of their other non-cooking hobbies.  I thought it was a great idea, and immediately thought of several options: cooking (wait, no, that didn't count)... reading!  Yes, that works!  Ah, but what then?  Make a bunch of book cupcakes?  Nope.  I needed something more interesting... How about mice racing?  Hmm... would be great if I actually did something like that, but since I just made it up I'm pretty sure I'd get called out pretty quickly.  Yeah, I could say photography, painting, travel and all the other hobbies easily found on survey checklists... but that's no fun, right... ? 

You know what IS fun?  Scrabble!  I decided to do Scrabble Cookies because I really do love Scrabble and Jason and I often talk friends into playing horrible mutant versions of the game for our amusement.  It's always good times.  Also, the idea of making rectangular cookies with letters on them seemed simple enough...

So I went to consult my trusty Joy of Cooking and found a nice recipe for a fourteen-in-one master cut out cookie recipe and adapted it to make: Wood Grain Orange Chocolate Cookies!  The wood grain was important to me as real scrabble tiles are wood and I've always loved that about them.  After finding a good way to achieve that, it's simply a matter of either piping on chocolate ganache for letters or using an edible marker (I tried the latter version on my "actual size" cookies since they were a bit small to manuever a piping bag around).  On a side note: I had tried another method for the letters involving mini alphabet cookie cutters that I sent away for specially, but it was a total, hilarious disaster.  I wish I'd taken a picture of the sad, slumpy & disfigured letters it produced.  Ah well, in the end it turned out good!

If you enjoy these cookies half as much as I enjoy Scrabble, my work here is done...

Recipe: Scrabble Cookies

For the Wood Grain Chocolate Orange Cookies (adapted from Joy of Cooking's Marble Cookies)...
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter cut into 14 pieces, at room temperature (that's 2 sticks)
1 cup superfine sugar (you can also pulse granulated sugar in a food processor for 1 minute)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces melted semisweet baking chocolate
The zest of 1 orange

For the Letters...
For larger (2 inch high) cookies: 1 cup chocolate ganache, cooled slightly and added to a piping bag with a number 3 round pastry tip (you'll need a bar of semisweet baking chocolate and a pint of heavy cream for this - see "ganache" link for method)
For "actual size" (2.5 cm high) cookies: Edible black marker

What to do with it all...
  1. On medium speed, mix butter, sugar and salt unti fluffy
  2. Add egg yolk, whole egg, zest and vanilla and mix until well blended
  3. Reduce speed to low and add flour slowly until well combined
  4. Divide dough half, wrap and refigerate unti firm - at least 1 hour and up to 2 days
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degree F and prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat
  6. On a well-floured surface, roll out your first round to a 14 inch thick then drizzle over half your melted chocolate
  7. Knead the dough loosely to incorporate the chocolate just so you see streaks in the dough
  8. Re-flour your surface and roll dough out to 1/8 inch thick
  9. Cut cookies to desired size using a ruler and a sharp knife: 2 inches by 1 1/4 inches for large cookies, 2.5 cm by 2 cm for "actual size" cookies"
  10. Repeat process with second dough half
  11. Place cookies on baking sheets, and place sheets into oven (one on lower rack, one on upper)
  12. Bake for 5 - 7 minutes, rotating sheets half way thru baking (watch closely for browning)
  13. Cook and decorate either with melted ganache, or edible marker (recommended for smaller cookies)
Makes approx 2 dozen large Scrabble cookies, or a whole boards' worth of the "actual size"!

On another note, I'd like to thank Nancy of wonderful Spicie Foodie and Kathy of the brilliant Colors of Indian Cooking for the Honest Scrap Award!  In accepting this award, I am supposed to list 10 honest things about myself, so here goes!

1.  My kitchen is a whopping 100 square feet (about 7 x 14), galley style, with practically no workable surface areas.  I sometimes pretend I am MacGuyver to invent ways to cook (I know lots of people have much smaller kitchens and I should not complain!)
2.  I've never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like
3.  I will choose a pickle over a cupcake on any day of the week
4.  I didn't not learn to swim until I was 20 due to a fear of water
5.  I secretly believe myself to be a queen of the thrift stores (with pride) for my ability to find amazing things in them
6.  As a child I was so sensitive to sugar that I once ran off and dislocated my own shoulder in a hyperactive flurry after inhaling a pudding cup that a friend of my parents' unwittingly gave me
7.  I have a dream to someday own goats
8.  My big toes point upwards a bit and give off the appearance of being snobbish
9.  Everyone in Chicago seems to love living by the lake, which I did once, and hated it passionately come Winter
10.  Though I am a born and bred Chicago girl, I prefer New York style pizza to Chicago deep dish... which is, of course, sacrilege...

Thanks again everyone!


  1. I love your scrabble tiles! Goats huh? Did you know they love to jump up on your car. When I got my one and only brand spankin' new car, I found out the hard way. LOL

  2. Oh no! Hmm... note to self: get garage and loud horn to keep goats from jump on car. Thanks, Jeanette! :)

  3. This is seriously the cutest thing that I have ever seen! I just RSSed your blog!!

  4. These are adorable! And I can relate to so much in your 1-10 list! Have a great week :-)

  5. great scrabble tile cookies! i have to admit having fantasies about goats also..though sometimes I also think about chickens. are you talking about pygmy goats or serious goats?? because a friend of ours has two pygmys and the only thing they seem to do is eat popcorn from a big bowl..milk...forget about it..more popcorn please.

  6. I love Scrabble! But I don't remember ever seeing wooden tiles. Maybe you have special American versions. We played Scrabble on Bundt Day:

    The heart cupcake is amazingly cute by the way. I know you made that for me and it's in the post.

  7. Congrats on the award and love those cookies... just in time to make for my fella's birthday!

  8. Awesome cookies! I love Scrabble. Unfortunately, no one else in my house likes to play with me. Not because I'm a genius, really, but more because I take FOREVER to take my turn. I always think there will be something better to come up with, if only I just think a little longer...LOL

  9. Oh my gosh how cute are these cookies?! I'm a Scrabble maniac (like an old aged pensioner!) I have to make these for my friends. It's so nice to know more about you- I was going to nominate you for this award but I saw Kathy beat me to it :) x

  10. I think I'm losing it because I swear the title to your post said "cooking your hubby". My hubby is not in trouble (at the moment), but I was going to save your recommendations for future use when he (inevitably) errs in the future. But, after I got over my initial disappointment, I have to say I love your cookies. And the new masthead is pretty awesome too.

  11. That is fantastic...and real innovative. Who would have thought..scrable cookies!

  12. Could these be any more awesome? No, no they could not.

    Also, alphabet cutters are a wonderful way to lose your will to live.

  13. You ALWAYS have such creative and fun food to share. I love it! And yes, you should be grateful for your HUGE kitchen! I have ZERO countertop/workable space and it's 5x5, including the space that the stove, sink and refrigerator take up.

    Thanks for sharing the random facts about yourself. I have to post mine as well but I can't seem to figure out how to properly post the badge???

  14. I love this idea! Those cookies are adorable, especially all laid out on the scrabble board. I'm impressed by the level of detail you achieved, especially even getting a wood grain on them!

  15. @Vegetable Matter - you never cease to make me laugh with your witty comments!

    @Dhale - You're right, I should be thankful!

    @All - you're all amazing, and all invited over for cookie Scrabble! Thank you for the comments!

  16. This is so cute! I can see so many uses for these adorable cookies!

  17. these are great! i can play and have a snack!! Oh mathea you make me want to learn where my stove is! :)

  18. I'm just marveling at the clean, crisp edges/corners.

    Those cookies don't spread much at all in the oven, do they. Woah, and no flour! Very interesting.

    They look wonderful for a cutout recipe. What is the texture like? Do they taste good too?

  19. My family is full of Scrabble players, with my older brother and I playing Scrabble on Facebook constantly. I will HAVE to make these for us. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I'm very happy tht ur happy to hear from me:-)))
    these cookies are soo dang cute as much as ur blog is...mental note to self to add ur blog to my reader soon......


  21. Hiya... just got back from visiting some farms in Colorado (being that I too hope to own goats one day). Sorry to hear the cookie cutters didn't work out, but these are absolutely adorable the way they are! Love how you included the point values for the letters and everything. Thanks so much for participating :)

  22. Made these for my boyfriend's birthday. Check out pictures on my blog if you want. I also mentioned you in my post :D have a lovely day!!


  23. Edible game pieces? I'm IN!


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