These are the cookies that garnered the kudos that started the feud with the neighbor.

No joke.

I made these beauties a number of years ago, when my business was beginning and I was feeling my way through its infancy. A friend asked me to make lunch for our local elementary school teachers, and I served these chocolate-cream cheese sandwich cookies for dessert.

The cookies are easy to make. They’re also delicious: Adapted from an old Martha Stewart recipe, they boast a heady balance among chocolate, sugar and salt. The cream cheese frosting is rich but not cloying; a perfect complement to the cocoa-rich orbs.

The teachers loved them. So did the friend who hired me. And — I guess — the neighbor did, too. She asked for the recipe.

Now remember … this was back when my biz was beginning. I didn’t know industry etiquette. I did know a woman who owned a cake company, and she judiciously guarded all her recipes. So I took my cue from her.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “My cookie recipe is proprietary.”

Oops. Turns out hell hath no fury like a recipe-seeker scorned.

That was a number of years ago. And while relations are still a bit tenuous with the neighbor, these cookies continue to keep teachers, clients, friends and family cocoa-fat and happy.

Looking back, I should have shared my recipe. So here it is. (You can share it, too.)

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Cookies (Adapted from “Martha Stewart Living”)

For cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter until creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until it’s well-incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

With the mixer on its lowest setting, add the dry ingredients and mix only until they’re incorporated. Finish mixing with a spoon to ensure you don’t overwork the dough.

Using a melon baller, scoop the cookie dough onto your prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes, then cool before transferring to a platter.

When the cookies are completely cool, make the icing:

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat until creamy.

Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt, and beat until smooth and spreadable.

Spread a dollop of icing on one cookie half, and sandwich with another. You’ll have some leftover icing when you’re done … use it to top carrot muffins.

Or share it with a neighbor.

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