A friend gave me beautiful Muji cat cookie cutters and I made these: (some of the chocolate cats have wrinkles, but I think Murakami would approve)
It seems that a night of snow and wild winds battering at my window requires that I turn on the oven and bring out the chocolate. And what is better than a cookie bursting with spices, currents, and chocolate? I’ll be brief here, because biting into this cookie is a velvety experience. Like overturning fresh snow with your shoes, it’s quite satisfying. The holiday season may be long gone, but with one of these, you will find yourself transported to the mulled wine and spiced cakes of winter eves. And I’ve never tasted a cookie quite like this one, with its snow-capped lemon icing and spicy, moist interior. I find they are best eaten the day of, but you can keep them a day or two in an air-tight container.
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
¾ cup currants
2 tbsp brandy (I didn’t have any brandy so I substituted water)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp best-quality cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg
¼ tsp overflowing salt
5 oz/150g dark chocolate (I used 60%)
½ cup butter, unsalted, at room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar
½ tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ large free-range egg
3 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice (about two lemons)
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Soak the currents in brandy for 10 minutes. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and dark chocolate. Stir well with a fork or a whisk.
Put the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon and orange zest in a large bowl. Mix until combined, and then add the half egg and mix another minute. I beat the egg in a separate bowl and added half of the contents, though sadly I threw out the other half egg. Add the dry ingredients, followed by the currents and the brandy (or in my case, water). Mix until everything comes together.
Gently knead the dough with your hands. Make small balls with your hands and place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Let rest in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. You will probably need two baking sheets, as the cookies should be spaced about ¾ inch apart. Bake the cookies for about fifteen minutes until the top is firm but the center still slightly soft. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes. Whisk together the sugar and lemon juice to form a glaze, and while the cookies are warm, drip a spoonful of glaze over each cookie, letting it coat the cookie with a white-transparent film.