Friday, February 22, 2019

Snow Day in Arizona

If you thought the weather in Arizona couldn’t get any stranger, Mother Nature threw out one more curveball. Snow reached southeastern Arizona early Friday, reaching towns including Benson and Tucson. Flagstaff set a record snowfall over 3 feet. By Saturday at noon Tucson almost 2 inches and here in Green Valley 3 inches so far as the elevation is higher. And it is still snowing. Lucky my winter gear is still available as I sure need it today.

I am wondering what effect all of this will have on desert vegetation with temps hovering 32-34 and heavy wet snow. So today I did what I would probably do if at home in Minnesota on a snow day-bake cookies. 
Chocolate Mexican Crinkle Cookies
Cook's Notes: DID YOU KNOW
There is a difference between natural baking cocoa powder e.g Hershey's
and Dutch process cocoa? And can you use either one when baking. The answer: it depends on what you're baking, but no matter what, the two varieties don't taste the same. Although all cocoa powders can vary in color from light reddish brown to a richer dark brown, the Dutch process gives the powder a noticeably darker hue.
Dutch process cocoa has a smoother, more mellow flavor that's often associated with earthy, woodsy notes. There are also heavily Dutched "black" cocoa powders that bring the cocoa powder to an alkaline level of 8. This the kind of bittersweet cocoa you'll find in Oreo cookies.

Since Dutch process cocoa isn't acidic, it doesn't react with alkaline leaveners like baking soda to produce carbon dioxide. That's why recipes that use Dutch process cocoa are usually leavened by baking powder, which has a neutral pH and do not use baking soda.
My grocery shopping has some limitations here so I had to go to Trader Joes to purchase this but I am sure more readily available in your areas. 
The subtle flavor of cinnamon with just a hint of cayenne pepper spice up this traditional chocolate crinkle cookie using Dutch Process Cocoa. They are absolutely delicious and a  winner in my book.
Recipe adapted slightly from  and makes about 15 cookies.
  • 1- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • Optional a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1- ¼ cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Beat until well combined. Let dough chill in freezer 25 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
I left one cookie dough not rolled in confectioners sugar to give you an idea of the process.
  • Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough, roll into balls and then toss in confectioner’s sugarcoating heavily. Arrange 2-inches apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies until crackly and puffed, about 9 minutes.

Sharing cookies with a friend would be a nice random act of kindness.
 Lastly, today is National Margarita Day
Share one with a friend 

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