Musical Note Cookies with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and White Chocolate Chips

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  30 or so cookies
Prep Time:  40 minutes Chilling and Cooling Time:  52 minutes Cook Time:  15 minutes

Musical Note Cookies with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and White Chocolate Chips

This cookie is a variation on a traditional chocolate chip cookie. I designed it as part of my fantasy meal for actress-writer-singer Rashida Jones; they are cut into the shape of musical notes and layered with fondant. But they are also great as rolled-out, shaped cookies of any sort, though I’d stick to a size no larger than about 2½ inches or so. Make sure your chocolate is well chopped—I direct you to do it minced—so that you can roll the dough to a uniform thickness without bumping into big chunks of chocolate. This turns out best with white chocolate (which is not a chocolate at all), adding flavor and texture as well as making this a little shorter (butterier) cookie than usual. These do puff a little when they bake, but my trick is to go back with the same cutter while the cookie is warm, and press the exact shapes out. It gives you a very even cookie. Like most chocolate chip cookie recipes—well, all recipe I create—I encourage you to use it recipe as a template. Want it spicy? Try five-spice powder or ras al hanout instead of the cinnamon. Want to go Caribbean? Substitute rum for the vanilla and add ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice. White chocolate and the dark brown sugar opens this cookie up to a world of flavors. So, go, make this your own, and be a cookie artist!!

Ingredients

2½ cups (325 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons (2.3 grams) roasted ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon (4.8 grams) baking powder

¼ teaspoon (4.3 grams) baking soda

½ teaspoon (1.9 grams) kosher salt

2 sticks (1 cup/227 grams/8 ounces/16 tablespoons) unsalted cultured (European) butter, room temperature

1¼ cups (269 grams) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

2 large eggs

75 grams white chocolate, minced

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, or as needed for dusting and rolling

1 pound vanilla-flavored black fondant

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl or onto a sheet of parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl if you are using a handheld mixer), combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla bean paste and mix at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light in texture and fully incorporated.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing at medium speed after each addition for about 15 seconds, until completely incorporated. With a spatula, scrape down the side of the bowl and under the blade between additions.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed, scraping down side of bowl as necessary, until just combined. Add the white chocolate and mix to combine. Remove the dough, form into a small, flat, rough rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about ½ hour to 45 minutes, until firm.
  5. When the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Flour a work surface and rolling pin lightly. Unwrap the dough, place it on the work surface, and dust it lightly with flour. Roll the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch. Using a cookie cutter shaped like a musical note, cut the dough and carefully place the cookies on the prepared pans, spacing them about 1½ inches apart. Reroll any scraps to use for more cookies.
  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies have risen, are golden brown in color and just barely set; do not overbake. The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven. Allow them to sit on the baking sheet and firm up for 5 to 7 minutes. Some might have become slightly misshapen during baking; to fix this, spray your musical-note cookie cutter with nonstick vegetable oil spray and press to reshape the cookies, gently tapping the cookie out if it gets stuck. Respray the cookie cutter with nonstick spray after every few cookies to help them slide out easily.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. (If you don’t wish to reshape the cookies, that’s fine. Leave them leave exactly as they came out of the oven. This alternative method makes sure every cookie crumb is used—although when we recut them, we just ate the scraps! When you cut the fondant [see step 9] simply affix it to the cookies leaving an even perimeter of cookie visible, and it will look lovely as well.)
  7. Set up a small bowl with a few tablespoons of warm water and a small pastry brush. Dust a work surface with lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Place the fondant on it and roll it out to a thickness of ⅛ to 1/16  inch. Dip the same musical note-shaped cookie cutter into the confectioners’ sugar and cut as many musical notes as there are cookies (cutting a few extra is a good idea in case of breakage, but not imperative). Hold a fondant “note” in your hand and brush both sides with water, coating the top side well. Place the it on top of a cookie, matching it to the edges. Return it to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining cookies and fondant.

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