Dark Cocoa Cookies

So I had a request to make a Dulce de Leche dessert. I gave it some thought, consulted my friend Google, and came up with the idea of a pie. The recipe I found, which I’ll post later, wasn’t exactly what I wanted so I modified it extensively. But one of the things it called for was ground up Oreos for the crust. Unfortunately it called for them WITH the filling, which I thought sounded awful (and way too sweet). So I decided to make my own but more in the style of Paul Newman’s tops & bottoms.  I found this recipe, which is one of the few I haven’t modified really, and they turned out exactly how I wanted. No, in fact, better than what I wanted. Unlike the above mentioned, they were just a tiny bit moist. Well until I let them dry out for my pie. The key is GOOD cocoa. Don’t go buy cheap stuff, like Hershey’s, but true Dutch processed cocoa. The darker the better! Enjoy!

 

Dark Cocoa Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups butter at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher or fine salt
  • 1 Tsp real vanilla
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups flour

Directions:

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn down to low and add the cocoa a little at a time, careful it’s very powdery and will fly everywhere if you’re not careful. Once incorporated, add the salt and vanilla, mix until combined. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. And each time you want to mix it until all the flour is incorporated. Mix until the dough is mostly dry and crumbly. It’s a fine line here, you don’t want it too moist because you want a crisp cookie; but you don’t want it too dry either. It should stick together but not be sticky at all. Divide it into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. You want it cold but not so cold it won’t roll out. If it goes longer that 15 minutes then let it warm up at room temp for 15 minutes before trying to roll it out.

Preheat your oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Again not to thick, you want a crisp cookie after all. I used a couple of pieces of waxed paper and sandwiched the dough between them so it wouldn’t stick. Use a 2″ circle cutter, like a biscuit cutter, to cut out the cookies.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. It’s almost impossible to tell when they’re done because they’re so dark but you should be fine as long as you stick to this range. You may need to adjust slightly depending on your oven. Better a little underdone and needing to be popped back into the oven for a minute or two than over done and burnt.

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’m always on the lookout for gluten free options for desserts. You know, we all have that one friend. This is based off of a recipe from Pati Jinich, who is on PBS. Her recipe calls for pecans, not a fan here so I substituted almonds instead. I added a few other things and bam! A great gluten free dessert. Another bonus? You can make this in your blender. Enjoy.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1 Tsp Espresso powder
  • 1 Tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray a 9″ springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Set a medium glass or metal bowl over a medium pot with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer. Add in the chopped chocolate and butter, stir until it’s smooth and melted. Set a side to cool slightly.

In a blender, chop the almonds until they are finely ground. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt and melted chocolate. Blend until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes our moist but not wet.

Allow it to cool and then release the springform pan. Invert onto a plate and then flip it again. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar, or whip cream or even chocolate sauce. Some berries add a fine touch as well.

Tiramisu

This is probably one of the most classic Italian desserts. As a classic, there isn’t much modification that you can or need to do to it. Pretty much every recipe is the same. That said; I, of course, modified it. But barely. I added a little Kahlua in addition to the traditional rum, it really enhances the coffee flavor, and I like mine with a thin layer of whip cream on top.

Now when I make this I try to also have at least one other recipe in mind that calls for mascarpone cheese. And maybe some mashed potatoes too. Why? Because rather than going to a regular grocery store and paying around $7.00 (or more) for 8 oz (and the recipes calls for 32 oz!) I go to Smart Foodservices Warehouse (used to be called Cash & Carry). It’s sort of like Costco but smaller and definitely aimed at restaurants. There I can pick up a 5 lbs bucket for between $20-$25. Do the math, $7×4 for just 2 lbs or get the 5er. Pretty easy choice. Unfortunately they’re just on the west coast but try Costco, they sometimes have it as well. Enjoy

Tiramisu

  • 6 extra large egg yolks, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum, divided in half
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua or other coffee flavored liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, divided 1 1/4 and 1/4
  • 2 lbs mascarpone cheese, at room temp
  • 30 Italian ladyfingers, an Italian cookie
  • bittersweet chocolate, shaved or grated
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar until they’re very thick and light yellow (about 5 minutes). Lower the speed and add in 1/4 cup rum, Kahlua, 1/4 cup espresso and all of the mascarpone cheese. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Combine the remaining rum and espresso in a shallow bowl or pan. Dip the ladyfingers in the mixture and line the bottom of a 9″x12″ pan that’s at least 3″ to 4″ deep. You’ll want to do this quickly as these little cookie soak up moisture quickly and will turn soggy. You don’t want that. Pour half of the espresso/mascarpone mixture on top and smooth it out. Do a second layer of espresso dipped ladyfingers and add them to the top of the espresso/mascarpone layer. Pour the rest of the espresso/mascarpone mixture and smooth it out. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Take the bowl of your stand mixer and the whisk attachment and put them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Starting on low, beat the heavy cream until  frothy. Slowly raise the speed until it’s on high and the whip cream start to form soft peaks. Lower the speed, add in the sugar and raise the speed to med-high. Beat until firm peaks form. Smooth it out on the top of your tiramisu and dust with the grated or shaved chocolate. Chill for another 30 minutes or so and then serve.

S’more Sandwich Cookies

Ok the s’more cookie recipe that I’ve been working on has gotten under my skin. The first try was pretty good but the graham cookies were a little dry. So I have it another go and it turned out pretty good. Recently I was talking to a co-worker about cookies and she gave me a great idea for a new twist on this cookie. So instead of putting chocolate ON the graham cookie and then the marshmallow I decided to make a chocolate cookie and sandwich marshmallow fluff in-between. And to add another twist, I made the fluff bourbon flavored. I think they turned out pretty good. Enjoy!

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Graham cookie

  • 2 cups graham or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 1/4 oz molasses
  • 1 1/2 oz milk
  • 1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

In a food processor combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it starts to look like cornmeal. Add the molasses, mild and vanilla and process until the dough starts to form a ball, about a minute.

Poor out onto a board and shape into a long rectangle about 2″ x 2″. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, longer is better.

Once chilled, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 1/4″ squares and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Shortbread cookie

  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (or grated chocolate)

Directions

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes.

Whisk the flours together in a medium bowl with the cocoa and espresso. Add to the butter mixture and mix until smooth. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a long log about 2” wide & high. Refrigerate for at least an hour, longer is better.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the cookie log into about ¼” slices and space evenly on the cookie sheet. They do not spread much, only a little so leave about 1/2 inch between. Bake for 25 minutes.

Bourbon Marshmallow Fluff

  • 1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup bourbon + 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large egg whites

Directions

In a stand mixer sprinkle the gelatin into the 1/2 cup cold water.

In a heavy pot combine the sugar, 1/2 cup bourbon, syrup and salt. Heat over low heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. continue to boil until the mixture comes to 240 degrees. A candy thermometer really comes in handy here. Once it hits 240 remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pout into the gelatin mixture. Using the whisk attachment beat hard for about 10 minutes. It’ll start to double in bulk and become white and fluffy. Meanwhile beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the tbsp of bourbon until stiff again. Add to the sugar/gelatin mixture and stir to combine. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Assemble the cookie

This is pretty easy. Take a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff and sandwich it between a graham cookie and a chocolate cookie.