Archive | September, 2012

Rose del Deserto (Desert Roses)

23 Sep

Kids need between-meal pick-me-ups.  Why not make this Italian variation of yummy chocolate chip cookies? “Desert roses” are delicious, perfect for a tasty and healthy snack to enjoy with a glass of milk.  Even adults love them with a nice cup of tea or, even better, with an Italian espresso or cappuccino.  These cookies get their name from the rosette-shaped formations of  ocher-colored minerals found in desert areas.  


Preparation time: 20 min.               Baking time: 10-12 min.      

130 g (⅔ cup) granulated sugar
120 g (½ cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
240 g (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
5 g (1 teaspoon) baking powder
Pinch of salt
180 g (1 cup) chocolate chips
200 g (7 oz) approx., cornflakes (like Special K) or similar
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 170°C (350 °F) 

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl with an electric mixer
  2. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract
  3. Mix the flour and the baking powder in a small bowl
  4. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips
  6. Roll teaspoon-sized balls of dough in a bowl of cornflakes
  7. Place the cookies, well-spaced (about 3-4 cm), on a greased cookie sheet
  8. Bake about 10-12 minutes
  9. Remove from pan and cool on a rack
  10. Cover with powdered sugar sprinkled on top, just before serving

Note: This recipe makes about 50 cookies.  If the dough is too sticky, add one or two spoons of flour. You can substitute chocolate chips with other ingredients such as raisins, for an even healthier snack.  Store in a airtight container.   You can also store the baked cookies in the freezer; before serving, let them thaw at room temperature and then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.  -Paola

My friend Chiyo kindly wrote a note about this recipe.  As Paola notes, this name apparently derives from its likeness to a mineral in the desert, but I’m still waiting for someone to tell me whose wild imagination tied the Saharan desert to an Italian cookie.  While American type chocolate chip cookies vie for excellence on its soft chewiness, the Italian version is half cake/half cookie that has a firm bite and an additional crunch that comes from the corn flakes.  Paola says the best thing about these cookies is that it is fun to make with her kids who love to eat the corn flakes while they shape the dough.  My kids are much more greedy, they delight in eating the cookies which they say are their favorite biscotti.   -Chiyo

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