California Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2010

It’s shaping up to be a very California Christmas around here. Christmas lights in palm trees. Boys in Tutus. Walks along the sea, without a coat. Hot chocolate and bare ankles.

I’ve been thinking about what Ohlone traditions at this time of year must have been, too: observation of the seal migration, for sure. Hopefully we’ll do that before too long, but it might be January. Despite my efforts in gathering advent activities--both local and personal-- I don’t really know to much about Mexican advent traditions. I’ve read about La Posada/ La Posarela (I think J is too young this year, but maybe next year), but that’s it.

Mostly, I think J-- and ok, me, too-- might be happy if the “mexican” portion of our observances included a stop at Mitchell’s, say every other day, for a cone of Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. I think it is my favorite ice cream flavor ever, and I don’t like Chocolate Ice cream. Inspired by that ice cream, and the chocolate spice donut at our local shop, I came up with this cookie for desert for last week’s taco night.

They are spicy, exotic, rich tasting, great with milk or tea or red wine. They are a bit dry, and not super sweet, so I definitely think this is an “adult” cookie, and not an afternoon treat. Unless of course it’s a California Christmas where you are, too.

Mexican Chocolate Biscuits
I cooked these on a lined cookie sheet-- and one sheet was big enough. You could easily make the cookies smaller and use more sheets-- the butter tends to spread, so don’t place them too closely.

1 piece star anise
½ tsp cinnamon
3/4 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 c sugar (don’t use turbinado, there isn’t enough time for it to melt well)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs steel-cut oats
1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grid the star anise. Combine star anise, cinnamon, flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt in a bowl. With and electric mixer, beat butter with sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add flour mixture, beat just until dough begins to set. Mix in oats with spatula. Add chocolate chips and beat maybe twice (just to combine).
With your hands, shape cookies into 1 tbs size balls. Place on sheet, and smoosh down.
Bake for 15 minutes, cool on sheet.

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