Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chocolate Ganache Cookies

I found this recipe in Canadian Living Magazine's Holiday Celebrations 2007 magazine , and couldn't resist slipping a bunch into the yearly cookie baskets that make their way to Jake's teachers. The teachers are still thanking me, likely hoping that I'll make more. Valentine's day, perhaps? These are extra amazing served with a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream.

The cookie part is a deep, dark, not too sweet chocolate that goes nice and soft from the rich chocolate ganache filling. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but the end results are far worth it. The hardest part? Not licking the bowl or your fingers when you are spreading the filling.

1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, again beating until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. In a different bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in two additions.

Divide the dough in 1/2 and wrap in plastic wrap, and chill.

Now comes the trickier part....the original recipe doesn't really explain this part, but I'll do my best to.

Put one of the dough halves onto a good sized piece of wax paper, and do your best to roll it into a 10 inch square. This isn't easy, really. If it's too cold, it will be really stiff. Too warm, and it's a mess. I often didn't get it quite the right size. and it took a bit of rolling, re-rolling, etc. It was also easier when the dough warmed up to have another piece of wax paper on top of the dough so the roller wasn't sticking to it.

Then you cut your 10 inch square into 4 strips (or, every 2.5 inches) ; cut across the strips at 1 inch intervals to make 40 rectangles.

***Cookie Jar baking tip****At this point, if the dough has become warm it will all just stick to the counter/paper and make a mess. How do you avoid that? Move the entire thing, which is easy since it's all on a piece of waxed paper, to a cool cookie sheet and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill a bit, and they will easily peel right off and be ready to pop onto the cookie sheets.

Once you have the cookie rectangles on the cookie sheets, put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Bake the cookie rectangles in a 350 F oven for 8 minutes. Be careful taking them off the pans, they are soft and may break. You can actually stop at this point and freeze the rectangle cookies, filling them later on when you have time.

In a pot, bring the cream to a boil; take it off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted. Let cool slightly, and then spread about 1 tsp on a cookie rectangle. Top with another cookie rectangle. Continue until you have used up all your cookies. Then dip the ends of each cookie into the ganache, and then the chocolate sprinkles. Allow to harden.

Makes about 35-40 cookies

*variation: Jake suggested that a touch of peppermint extract in the ganache filling could be extra yummy, and I agree!

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