(This week’s project came from the February 2009 issue of Food & Wine magazine.)
This week I wanted to return to non-vegan baking, and you’ve gotta love a recipe that calls for two and a half sticks of butter. I was very intrigued by the malted cream in the middle of these sandwich cookies, and the recipe didn’t seem too difficult to master. Plus I got to buy a couple of new toys:
The first toys were biscuit cutters. I was supposed to get a 2″ cookie cutter, but when I stopped by Sur La Table the other day, I couldn’t find one. They had a 1.5″ and a 2.5″, but no 2″. Then I noticed these biscuit cutters, which contained a 2″, a 2.5″ and a 3″, and they were only $3. I figure I’m likely to make biscuits somewhere along the line, and everyone can use these circular cutters.
The other toy was a cupcake decorating set. The recipe called for using a pastry bag and tip to put the malted cream on the bottom cookie. I had a pastry bag once, but I managed to apply so much pressure to it that I popped the seam and all the frosting inside exploded out. This set was less than $10 and comes with eight bags.
The first step in this recipe was melting six ounces of milk chocolate:
Next, I mixed butter with brown sugar, granulated sugar, added the vanilla and melted chocolate, and then dumped in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. The resulting dough was turned out onto parchment paper:
The dough was rolled out to 1/4″ thickness and refrigerated for 15 minutes. I then used my 2″ biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. The scraps were gathered up again and more rounds were cut until all the dough was used. The dough was somewhat hard to work with, as it was incredibly crumbly. But I managed to get all the rounds onto my baking sheet (along with My Precious, the Silpat), and they were refrigerated again for ten minutes before being baked for ten:
I ruined about four of the cookies in the first batch in my over-eagerness to get them off the baking sheet. These cookies definitely need some resting time before they are transferred to a cooling rack. And even then, they need to be handled with care until they are completely cooled. They are very fragile.
The filling was made of butter, Ovaltine, vanilla and powdered sugar. I found the filling to be quite stiff. I was worried that I had messed it up by adding about a tablespoon too much powdered sugar (I had that much left in the bag and didn’t want to waste it by throwing it out). However, the readers of Food & Wine magazine commented on this recipe’s web page that they also found the filling too stiff, and added milk to make it easier to work with. I thought about adding milk, but decided to just stick with what the recipe said.
I transferred the filling to a pastry bag and attempted to pipe the filling onto the cookies. This was definitely a chore. I also managed to apply so much pressure that I popped the pastry tip right out of the end of the bag. It ended up working better without the tip:
Finally, the cookies were sandwiched together:
They turned out pretty good in the end. They’re very crumbly and very rich cookies (I could only eat one and a half, Rob had a few more), and I think they’ll be perfect to take in to my co-workers tomorrow.
I won’t be posting a new project until next Wednesday (February 25). I got a little off track by baking on Saturdays, but this time around I will need the extra time. I’m planning to bake croissants, and the instructions in the book I’m using take up three pages. I also have to retrieve my mother’s ‘noodle board’ to actually make the puff pastry. More on this next time.