Monday, January 8, 2007

Cookie of the Month: Aunt Lisa's Chocolate-on-Chocolate

Every Aunt has their specialty.
Aunt Liz's thick Texas sheet cake.
Aunt Christine's slow-baked beans in a large cooking pot.
Aunt Gwen's fruit slush with whole fruit in large ice chunks.
Aunt Lisa's Chocolate-on-Chocolate cookies.

When my parents moved back to Utah,
after living in various states in the West, they bought the family home from my grandmother and raised their big crew in the same house. My Uncle Dave and Aunt Lisa bought the home across the street (built by Great Grandpa.) This meant that growing up I had two mothers, my own, and Aunt Lisa.

Aunt Lisa will always be exactly age 32 in my mind--even as I approach that age myself. She never ages. Her hair is always perfectly cut in short layers which allows for her natural wave. She laughs easily, has decorated her cottage-style home like a storybook (painted hutch and yellow walls) and has the loveliest little space between her two front teeth.

We were sent to Lisa when we need French braiding, eggs or a perm. Her house always smells like scented laundry detergent mixed with Sunday dinner. (I know that description sounds peculiar, but I assure you it sends a quick message to the brain that you are in a safe place.) Her house was always clean. Her penmanship is so neat, it reminds you of the worksheets you had to copy in the first grade. You should see her "q".

And then there were those Chocolate-on-Chocolate cookies, ever present at showers, family events and Cousin Jayne's piano recitals. The cookie itself is quite dark and cake-like, the color of Mexican chocolate. The frosting is made with butter, powdered sugar, milk and chocolate-- making it so just one little cookie satisfies both the dark and milk chocolate partaker. No cookie was more like heaven.

I started to make these cookies in high school. {Scratch that.} I started to try and make these cookies in high school. To date, I've never been successful. The cookie is either flat or the frosting tasteless. Meanwhile, year after year, Aunt Lisa produces them as easy as she can write a flawless "g". Sometimes I get everything right, but they still aren't clones of Aunt Lisa's cookies.

With Pinkie Pie at the helm, I decided it had been long enough to try again. I attempted them again this weekend, blocking off my entire Saturday morning to the cause. Disaster struck. The chemistry in the chocolate didn't perform up to baking standards. What resulted was a cookie that tasted like hot chocolate without enough cocoa powder (see: photo above).

It ruined my day.

Chup liked them. Ralphy liked them. But I sunk deeper into baking despair. Chup took me to a movie, took me shopping, took me to dinner but all the while I could only think about Aunt Lisa's Chocolate-on-Chocolate cookies. I thought about them while planning my Yw's lesson, painting my toenails and scrubbing the bathroom sink.

I couldn't even sleep.

And sometime in the night I was blessed with a very old memory. I was in high school and obsessed with only dating boys who drove cars with stick shifts. I was mesmerized when a date would shift and talk at the same time. I had driven only automatics and nobody had taught me manual. I didn't want them to, I wanted to always be in love with the boy who could shake the stick back-and-forth veraciously in neutral (not a double meaning, patriots.) Then one day my dad bought me a new car that required me to learn. My gaining this "talent" bled dry my immature turn-on. It was over.

And that was all I needed to remember. I didn't want to master Lisa's Chocolate-on-Chocolate cookies anymore, because I wanted to always love her for them. Sometimes, I over-zealously want to be like someone that I forget that it's almost more important to admire someone.

I will always admire Aunt Lisa for her perfect "b's", retaining youth and the cookies. Always the cookies.

Aunt Lisa's Chocolate-on-Chocolate Cookies:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4-1 ounce squares of baking chocolate (melted)
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk

Cream the butter, shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and beat. Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate. Beat some more. Alternate stirring the milk, flour and other dry ingredients. Makes a thick dough. Roll into balls, place on cookie sheet. Cook in oven on 350 for 8 minutes.

1 box of powdered sugar
Half cube of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 square of baking chocolate
1/2 cup milk
Blend everything except the milk, which is added until the consistency is desirable.

Frost when cookies are slightly cooled.