Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Recipe: Super chocolatey ganache sandwich cookies

Super chocolatey ganache sandwich button cookies, as made by EJ
It's not often I develop a recipe that makes me behave like a greedy child - usually, I'm very generous when it comes to sharing. Contrary to most of my friends' beliefs, I am very unlikely to bake & binge, enjoying a slice of cake here and there, without feeling the need to polish off a whole batch of anything without assistance. Ok, so there may have been times when I have eaten almost a whole cake myself, but more over the course of a week or so than in one sitting (which I'm pretty sure makes it ok). These chocolate biscuits, however, are very difficult to share. It's also extremely tricky to stop at just one. I blame the addictive properties of rich velvety ganache. I can't eat just one, but don't seem to know my chocolatey limits - and by biscuit number five, a line has definitely been crossed. I've had this problem before.

I actually first made this recipe a couple of months ago, but spent a leisurely time developing, tweaking and testing it. Last weekend Owen tried it out for me, baking batches and batches of cookies to bring to work as a birthday treat - and had some very happy colleagues as a result.

The biscuits are flavoured with melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder, sandwiched together with rich whipped ganache. From the many important rounds of recipe testing we did, I can confirm that these cookies are even better a day or two after you've made them - when the ganache has had a chance to soften the biscuits a little. So these are a great one to bake and fill a day or two in advance, trust me on this one.

I developed this recipe as one to use with my cookie stamps - although you could make a plain version if you prefer. The dough really doesn't spread much as it bakes, so it's also a great choice to use with intricately shaped cookie cutters.

I've recommended placing a layer of cling film over the dough before embossing to protect the stamp face - as with heavily pigmented dough colour can sometimes transfer. But it's worth bearing in mind that you could lose some of the detail in your design this way (depending on how intricate it is).

For ganache, equal measures of chocolate and double cream are used - as such, the double cream is measured in grams instead of millilitres. In my experience, for 100g of double cream you'll need around 110ml - but please use scales to check the weight! Please don't be tempted to whip up the ganache before it has completely cooled and chilled. Whipping warm ganache will cause the fats to separate and it just won't be easy to achieve that beautiful piping consistency - patience is key here.

This recipe makes approximately 20 (4.5cm) sandwich cookies (or 40 individual biscuits if un-filled)

100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 large egg yolk
3tbs milk
40g melted dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
50g cocoa powder
225g plain flour

For the ganache filling:
100g dark chocolate
100g double cream


For the biscuits:
1) Line three baking trays with baking and greaseproof paper.
2) Cream the butter and sugar together.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk up the egg yolk a little - add the milk. Pour this into the butter and sugar mixture and stir well to combine.
4) Add the melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder and mix through until you've achieved an even, chocolatey colour.
5) Tip in the plain flour and mix into a dough. Use your hands to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.
6) Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll the dough out to a thickness of approximately 4mm. Place a layer of cling film on top and use your stamp to make impressions in the dough. Remove the cling film and cut out the biscuits, arranging them on the baking trays.
7) Transfer the baking trays to the fridge to chill for one hour.
8) While the biscuits are chilling, pre-heat the oven to 200C (190C fan, gas mark 6). Bake for 15-18 minutes.
9) Arrange on a wire rack to cool.

For the ganache:
1) Finely chop the dark chocolate with a sharp knife.
2) Pour the double cream into a saucepan, heat gently until it just reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat and tip in the chocolate.
3) Stir slowly until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream to create a glossy sauce.
4) Pour the ganache into a bowl and leave to cool, when it reaches room temperature, pop the bowl in the fridge to chill for around 15 minutes.
5) When the ganache is cooled and slightly chilled, whip with an electric whisk until the colour is paler and the texture is slightly lighter.
6) Arrange half of the biscuits face-down. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag and snip the end. Pipe a blob onto each of the arranged biscuits and sandwich together with the remaining biscuits (right sides up).
7) If you feel generous, share with friends. But I won't hold it against you if you choose not to :)

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