Yeah, this is an actual for-real recipe. Ok, a little background on where I got this. My uncle has made it something of a tradition in the last few years to collect family recipes, newspaper clippings, little bits and pieces of family mementos and photocopy them and make cookbooks for my siblings and I as Christmas gifts. I found this recipe in the first cookbook he gave us (and as this blog grows, I'm almost certainly going to include a few other recipes from these cookbooks) - there's a few variations of this recipe online, but I stick with the original. This was one of the recipes that prompted me to start this little blog in the first place. I'm not sure exactly what prompted the creator of this recipe to use sauerkraut as a cookie ingredient. Maybe the rinsed sauerkraut was originally intended to be a cheaper substitute for shredded coconut. Or maybe some chef got a bit confused while crapulent on cooking sherry. I lean towards the former.
What I didn't particularly like about the original recipe when I first read it was that outside the sauerkraut there wasn't a whole lot going on in these cookies, seeing as how cocoa was really the only other major flavor. I think just about every chocolate cookie recipe, particularly homemade ones, has to have chocolate chips in it - the only chocolate cookies I like that don't have them are the Girl Scout's Thin Mints and Oreos. The original recipe also called for shortening, and I thought I would try using unsalted butter. Shortening is much cheaper, but I thought using real butter would give them some extra richness and flavor. Also, with the idea that the sauerkraut was intended as a coconut substitute, I got the idea to add a little bit of coconut extract to the cookie recipe to see how many people I could fool. Anyway, with the coconut extract and chocolate chips being added, and the butter softened to room temperature, I was all set.
Cocoa Sauerkraut Cookies
1 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 3/4 C. flour
1 1/2 C. shortening (or unsalted butter)
3 C. sugar
1 T. vanilla (or coconut extract)
1 lb. canned sauerkraut
2 C. (12-oz. bag) chocolate chips (optional)
Mix the first five ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Cream together the shortening, eggs, sugar, and vanilla/coconut until smooth. Drain the sauerkraut, rinse it thoroughly, and chop it. Stir that into the creamed mixture, then add the dry ingredients and stir together until well-blended. If you are using the chocolate chips, add them now and stir just until they are incorporated. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
The result of mixing the sauerkraut and the dough. No matter how thoroughly I drain and blot the sauerkraut with paper towels beforehand, the dough always starts to get kind of alarmingly wet at this point, almost like cake batter instead of cookie dough.
Whew. Two in the morning, and I wound up with roughly 4 1/2 dozen of these oddities (this was the first batch I pulled out). They look pretty normal, don't they? Of course, there's the real question - how do they taste?
Not bad. What you wind up with is a cookie that is almost brownie-like in softness and moistness. There is a little hint of the sauerkraut texture in there, but if you didn't know it was sauerkraut, the coconut flavor would throw you - it certainly fooled everyone I gave these to. And actually, I'm thinking that the butter wasn't such a hot idea after all. When I made these cookies with shortening, the cookies held up to baking better and weren't quite as flat as these.