When I was a 12 years and 51 weeks old, my Dad ran a conference in Australia, and took the family with him for a holiday, via Hong Kong. Being almost 13, I took this entirely in my stride. Doesn’t everyone go to Hong Kong for their 13th birthday?
We headed to the night market to spend my birthday money – thanks Aunty Edna and Grandma. I already knew exactly what I wanted. The casette tape of Madonnaâ€™s Immaculate Collection. It was my ticket to total cool. I knew this for certain, because Joanna at school had told me so. It was fantastic luck to find it at such a great price!
In fact, though I would never admit it to anybody, I had never actually heard Madonna before. I was literally like a virgin, touched for the very first time.
Which is why I didnâ€™t really question why Madonna had a thick Chinese accent and was accompanied by a non-too accurate synthesizer backing track.
Itâ€™s not as far fetched as you might imagine â€“ after all, she had a pretty thick Dick Van Dyke British thing going on when she was all about book signings and wearing silk shifts. Add one lover with a Willow Pattern style Pagoda mansion overlooking the distant lands of Tibet and, who knows? Itâ€™s possible. Iâ€™m just saying.
These chocolate cookies look like traditional Christmas cookies, but are actually scented with cinnamon and spiced with paprika and ginger and a kick of pepper. Much like Chinese Knock Off Madonna, theyâ€™re unexpected, but authentic and awesome in their own way.
Added bonus? Theyâ€™re easy-to-make traditional freezer cookies. This means that you keep them rolled up in parchment until you want to slice and bake them. Youâ€™re literally moments away from a freshly baked cookie at any time! This will feel very impressive. This is what Martha Stewart must feel like all the time.
Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cookies (makes about 30 cookies)1 Â½ cups flour Â¾ cup coco powder (not hot chocolate powder, real coco powder) 1 tsp cinnamon Â½ tsp ginger Â½ tsp paprika (or cayenne if you prefer) pinch of salt pinch of black pepper (about 1/2 tsp) 1 cup sugar 1 Â½ sticks of butter 1 tsp espresso coffee (or vanilla extract) 1 egg Â
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature, then add the sugar and mix until fluffy, then mix in the egg and the espresso
- Sift together the flour, coco, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl, then add the dry mixture tbsp. by tbsp. into the butter mixture until combined
- Divide the dough in half so that it is easier to manage, then roll each lump into a fat sausage. Wrap the logs of dough in wax paper, then freeze for at least 2 hours, or up to a month or so
- Pre heat the oven to 375f
- Slice the dough into fat cookies. Place on a cold baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 8 â€“ 10 mins â€“ keep an eye on them. Itâ€™s hard to tell if they are burning because the dough is so dark. Plus, they firm up when they cool.
- Cool on a rack, and eat warm with ice cream as dessert, or anytime with a cup of coffee